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The Best & Worst Energy Bars—Ranked

This will make you think twice grabbing a random bar at the grocery store checkout.
The Best & Worst Energy Bars—Ranked

When picking out an energy bar at the grocery store, it would make sense to be looking at the amount of protein because that's what's going to give you that energy to get through your day. It's usually right there on the front of the package, so it's not hard to find and it definitely is a crucial factor. But certain energy bars could be hiding massive amounts of sugar behind their high protein count. So, it's important to be aware of the grams of sugar in each bar, before you make your choice on that pick-me-up energy bar snack.

How we ranked the energy bars

We used a simple system to rank the energy bars. Looking at the sugar content in grams per bar, we ranked the bars with the most sugar the worst and the bars with the least amount of sugar the best. For those that had the same amount of sugar per serving, which only occurred twice, we compared the added sugar in grams and the bar with more added sugar per serving is listed as the worst bar in comparison to the bar with less added sugar. So with this list, the sugar content will no longer be hidden behind lots of protein.

Here are the best and worst store-bought energy bars.

First, the best energy bars

RxBar, Chocolate Sea Salt

rx bar chocolate sea salt graded

Per 1 bar: 210 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (5 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 12 g protein

Known for only having a few real ingredients, the RxBar carries with it a good amount of sugar within it's wrapper. At 13 grams of sugar, the bar actually contains more sugar than protein. Just because you can recognize the ingredients, doesn't mean it's healthy.

Luna Bar, Chocolate Dipped Coconut

Luna Bar chocolate coconut graded

Per 1 bar: 200 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 8 g protein

The Luna Bar has only 9 grams of sugar, which makes it one of the lower sugar options when it comes to energy bars. Though in comparison to some other bars on the list it has less protein, with 8 grams, it's a fairly good option to get you through your day.

Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar, Triple Chocolate

power crunch protein bar graded

Per 1 bar: 220 calories, 13 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 13 g protein

With significantly less sugar and more protein than most of the other energy bar options, the Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar is in the top three for a reason. In its Triple Chocolate flavor, it contains only 5 grams of sugar, while also having 13 grams of protein per bar.

KIND Energy Bar, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt

Kind energy bar dark chocolate graded

Per 1 bar: 180 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (7 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 6 g protein

The KIND Energy Bar is not only the lowest energy bar on this list in calories, with only 180 per bar, it is also the second-lowest in sugar with 5 grams. Though it had the same sugar count in grams as the Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar, it only had 4 grams of added sugar compared to 5 grams in the Power Crunch bar.

Quest Bar, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Quest chocolate chip cookie dough bar graded

Per 1 bar: 200 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium,21 g carbs (14 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 21 g protein

Of all the energy bars, the Quest Bar in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough has the lowest amount of sugar, with just one gram per bar, which is why it's the best on our list. It also contains the most protein with 21 grams, so there's no reason not to go with this energy bar to power you through any tough day.

And now, the worst energy bars

Picky Bar Real Food Energy Bar, Ah, Fudge Nuts!

picky energy bars graded

Per 1 bar: 190 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (3 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 7 g protein

With the same amount of sugar as the RxBar, the Picky Bar Real Food Energy Bar has more added sugar with 5 grams, which is what makes it worse. So, even though the calories are low on this one, the sugar count and added sugar are what to watch out for.

Larabar Gluten Free Energy Bar, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Larabar peanut butter chocolate graded

Per 1 bar: 210 calories, 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (3 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 5 g protein

The Larabar not only has 17 grams of sugar but doesn't even contain very much protein with 5 grams per bar, so choosing this one as an energy boost is definitely not the best option. It also has a lot of fat with 12 grams, which adds up as well.

CLIF Bar Energy Bar, Chocolate Chip

Clif bar chocolate chip graded

Per 1 bar: 250 calories, 5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat),140 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (4 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 9 g protein

CLIF bars are hefty, so it's not surprising that they contain 21 grams of sugar. Compared to the other bars these seem to be almost double in size, so they're not the ideal choice when it comes to energy bars. They might temporarily fill you up, but they probably won't give you what you need.

PowerBar Performance Energy Bar, Peanut Butter

Powerbar performance energy graded

Per 1 bar: 230 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (2 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 10 g protein

With 26 grams of sugar, PowerBar Performance Energy Bar, is absolutely loaded with unnecessary sugar. The name definitely makes it seem like it's all that with power, performance, and energy all in the name, but this bar is definitely not worth the sugar for only 10 grams of protein.

Gatorade Prime Fuel Sports Energy Bar, Chocolate Chip

Gatorade fuel bar graded

Per 1 bar: 350 calories, 13 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (2 g fiber, 29 g sugar), 20 g protein

The worst energy bar on our list is the Gatorade Prime Fuel Sports Energy Bar. With 29 grams of sugar, this is definitely not a healthy way to get your protein. Besides the heaping amount of sugar, this bar also contains 350 calories, which is over 100 calories more than McDonalds French Fries.

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Rachel Linder
Rachel Linder is an intern at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and product coverage. Read more
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