Delicious whole ingredients without any added sugar? It's possible to find an energy bar that fits the bill. Here are five that our contributing nutrition editor loves.
When shopping for an energy bar, it can be easy to wind up with what’s essentially a glorified candy bar laden with added sugar. Unfortunately, checking out the total grams of sugar on the label doesn't always provide much info. That's because right now, manufacturers don't have to separate naturally occurring sugar (such as from an ingredient like whole dates) from sugar added to sweeten a food, like brown rice syrup or cane sugar.
This is changing, however, based on an FDA mandate that by 2020 all food manufacturers must list the amount of added sugar (in grams and as Percent Daily Value). Some brands have already switched over to the new label, which distinguishes any added sugar—so you can easily tell how many of the total sugar grams come from a supplementary sweetener. But until every bar follows suit, there’s one simple strategy you can adopt: Look for bars that don’t contain any added sweetener.
Here’s a list of my favorites, including a look at the ingredients, nutrient breakdown, and suggestions for how and when to use them.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.