Got a spare 5 minutes to help us improve our website? Take this survey.

Fine Print: Higher-Fat Energy Bars, Unwrapped

Outside magazine, February 1996

Fine Print: Higher-Fat Energy Bars, Unwrapped
By Andrew Tilin

Claims of meal-replacement value and hours of hunger deterrent notwithstanding, the new generation of higher fat, lower carbohydrate energy bars--or nutrition bars, a term the makers prefer--strays from the old standbys on a couple of counts: One, nutrition bars reflect the 40-30-30 diet philosophy. With only 40 percent of their calories coming from carbohydrate content (most energy bars run about 70 percent) and the rest coming about equally from protein and fat, it's claimed they offer easier access to your fat stores. Two, more fat means greater palatability--they're closer to candy bars than to cardboard.

In choosing among similar nutrition bars, advises Barry Sears, a biological chemist and the champion of the 40-30-30 diet, you'll want to make sure your selection is low in saturated fat and not too high in calories--100 calories are all you need for a two-hour effort. There's also an intake strategy: "Have half a bar about half an hour before you begin your workout," says Sears. "It'll start the hormonal process so that when you do walk out the door you'll be burning about 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fat." Here's the skinny on fattier bars, plus the longtime leader of the energy bar market for comparison's sake.

Chocolate, Honey Peanut, toasted Crunch

The low-saturated-fat king, but dry in your mouth because of it. Low calorie content makes it suitable for a short workout.

Beta Bar
Sesame Peanut Butter

Contains none of the hydorgenated fats proven to raise your "bad" LDL cholesterol. Relatively high fiber (four grams), which cna upset the stomach.

Biozone Bar
Fudge Brownie, Granola, Honey Crunch, Honey Peanut

High in antiozidant vitamin C and very low in glycemic carbohydrates, which means a slow entry rate into the bloodstream.

PR Bar
Carnola Crunch, Chocolate Peanut, Strawberry Yogurt, Strawberry Truffle

Much of its fat comes from essential fatty acids, which the c="imbody requires but can't make itself.

Apple-Cinnamon, Banana, Chocolate, Malt-Nut, Mocha, Wild Berry

More than 70 percent of total calories come from carbohydrates. Is the prototypical bar to be upstaged?

* Calories; Carbohydrates (grams); Protein (grams); Fat (grams); Saturated Fat (grams)

More Gear