It’s 3:30 pm and I am hungry. I am in the library getting some work done and lunch seems like forever ago. I could wait until dinner…but, let’s be honest, I can’t. Naturally, I mosey on over to the vending machine and grab a snack that feels like a good, healthy choice: The Clif Bar.

Advertised as having “wholesome, organic ingredients,” the Clif Bar makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my body. I then realize that this body of mine has been sitting for quite some time and I think back again to why the Clif Bar exists and for whom it exists.

clif bar

Photo by Emily Waples

The company promotes its product saying, “Whether you’re on a 150-mile bike ride or exploring a new trail, this energy bar is built to sustain your adventure.” I don’t think my time in the library can be considered an “adventure,” even though I have walked back and forth from the water fountain a few times, a journey that is maybe 150 steps (not miles) at most.

So, I think to myself: 1) Why am I eating this thing? 2) Is it actually good for me? 3) Do I deserve to be eating a Clif Bar if my typing fingers are the only active things about me? In a quick few words, I answer myself: 1) Because I have tricked myself into thinking it is healthy and have become addicted. 2) No. 3) Probably not.

clif bar

GIF Courtesy of Giphy

If you actually look at the label, the very first ingredient listed is brown rice syrup: a SUGAR that is generally devoid of any nutritional value. So much for being a “nutrition bar,” you filthy liar. At least with chocolate candy bars the main ingredient is milk.

clif bar

Photo Courtesy of The Conscientious Eater

Although they have a decent amount of protein (around 9-11 grams) and some vitamins and minerals, Clif Bars aren’t much different from your average candy bar (and in many cases, are actually worse). Clif Bars range from having a whopping 230-270 calories per bar and have the same (if not higher) quantity of sugar and sodium than a Snickers.

clif bar

Courtesy of

Unfortunately for me, I have come to a cold, hard truth: Clif Bars are not actually healthy and are really only intended for the extremely hardcore athletes, who according to Well + Good, “need 42g of carbohydrates and 22g of sugar to power through a four-hour hike or climb up the Andes Mountains, not an hour-long workout.” What about an hour-long library session? No? Okay.

So, if you want a snack that is actually good for you, maybe go for a Greek yogurt or a banana instead. On the other hand, you can also just go for the Snickers that you really wanted (since after all, it really is no different).