I asked three sports nutritionists from two different universities, to ask about their thoughts on nutrition bars. Proper nutrition and fueling especially for athletes is vital for recovery and performance. Here's what they said!

First, asked my current sports nutritionist at UCLA, Lauren Papanos, why the benefits of nutrition bars aren't really what they seem. She said:

"Even the most healthy of nutrition bars are typically loaded with preservatives and are processed to ensure a long shelf life. Not only that, they generally are high in sugar and synthetic vitamins to classify them as tasty and healthy at the same time. They can generally contribute just as much caloric energy as a small meal itself."

Lauren doesn't suggests: Nutri Grain bars due to their highly processed ingredients and refined sugar content. They are loaded with hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic vitamins, and preservatives.

Alternative: Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bar is a much better replacement as the sugar content is mainly from fruits and there are very little amount of preservatives.

Then I interviewed UCLA's former sports nutritionist, Beth Miller, who is currently working at Duke University as the Director of Sports Nutrition. She said:

She agrees that the term “nutrition bar” can often times be very misleading. "Nutrition bars can definitely be a very convenient way to get in some high-quality nutrition during a busy day, however the consumer must be careful as to which bar they are choosing. Many products that are labeled “nutrition bar” are often filled with cheap, low-quality ingredients, have lots of added sugar, and/or have a long list of artificial ingredients that one cannot even pronounce."

She recommends the RX Bar – all of the bars have only 3-4 ingredients and they are all WHOLE foods (egg whites + nuts + dates + natural spices/flavorings). A few other high-quality brands include KIND Bar, Lara Bar, and This Bar Saves Lives.

candy, sweet
Becky Hughes

Lastly, I interviewed Alyson Heller who is also a assistant sports dietician at Duke University, and she said:

"A nutrition bar can be a convenient snack between meals and before or after workouts, but it is also important to limit your processed snacks and eat whole foods to strive for balanced nutrition. There are many bars on the market, and therefore, it can be overwhelming to decide which bar to buy. 

She recommends sticking to bars that are naturally sweet from fruit and honey, not added sugar cane. "I would recommend Lara bars and Rxbars due to their simply whole foods ingredients compared to Chewy bars or Fiber One bars with 10+ ingredients and added sugar."

In conclusion, we can learn that having a balanced lifestyle will have a positive effect on your lifestyle. As a consumer, we need to be careful as to which bar we choose to eat. To find the best quality bars make should do some research and take the time to look at labels in the grocery store. Thanks to Lauren, Beth, and Alyson, we can all be educated as to which nutrition bars can be the best for us!