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[Review] The Energy Bar Power Rankings — The 52 Best Energy Bars Ripped Open And Ranked

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SNACK IT UP.

Whether you’re hopping from airport to airport jet-setting across the globe, jumping between classes, summiting mountains, or doing HIIT-style sprints just to make your next work meeting, energy bars have become an absolute essential for the always-moving, nutrition-conscious, on-the-go trailblazer. They’re an instant IV of pure nutrition.

We’re busy as all hell. And that’s why bar sales are projected to hit $1.275 BILLION in 2015, up a whopping 125% from 2005.1

But if you’ve ever gotten a migraine trying to pick out an energy bar, we feel your pain. Gallop through any Whole Foods, CVS, or GNC and you’ll get hit with an avalanche of choices, each of which are plastered with nutritional buzzwords (superfoods, yo), dancing women and mountaineers, and kaleidoscopic colors.

It’s like you’re a celebrity on the red carpet—stunned and flabbergasted—as 27,458 people shout for your attention simultaneously. Scream if you need to, it’s okay, we’ve got you.

Here’s the reality. Unlike protein bars, where 80% of the options are effectively a combo of chemical sludge and toxic waste (read: crap that should never go into your body), most energy, snack, and fruit/nut bars are decently healthy across the board. They’re less abominable as a product class, primarily because fruit and nuts typically make up the ingredient core.

That said, while less egregious, most energy bars are far less than ideal — and miles away from replicating real food (they’re a meal replacement, after all). When you extrapolate that out and consider that some people scarf down 1-2 bars/day on the regular, the wrong bar can quickly tank your diet and inflate your gut; whereas an elite bar can act as a superfood, infuse your body with nutrition, and contribute to a lean, stellar physique.

Choose your own adventure. We dare you.

To help make things as easy as possible and keep your sanity in tact, we TORN UP the energy bar landscape from top to bottom, analyzed and cataloged each of the contenders, and compiled a master power rankings of the 52 best energy bars in 2015.

To our knowledge, it’s the only rankings of its kind — use it wisely to guide your bar-crunching decisions.

Start NOMMING smarter.

 

The 52 Best Energy Bars Ripped Open And Ranked


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“Your goal — ALWAYS eat bars in tiers 1 and 2.”

From Clif Bar to Larabar, we ripped open the 52 top energy, snack, and fruit/nut bars available in 2015 and ranked them based on a composite of different factors, including ingredient quality (GMOs, “superfoods,” organic, etc.), added sweeteners, types of fat, protein and fiber content, and gluten prevalence.

They were then stratified into 5 different tiers of quality, ranging from Do-Not-Put-Into-Mouth (5) to Unadulterated Superfoods (1). Your goal — ALWAYS eat bars in tiers 1 and 2.

A few things regarding methodology:

  • Above all else, rankings are geared towards everyday health and leannessnot sports performance. Sorry, PowerBar.
  • Don’t obsess neurotically over numbers. Ingredient quality is BY FAR the most important ranking input.
  • Don’t freak when you don’t find Quest Bars. The energy bar power rankings do not include protein bars. We consider them to be a completely different product category — which is why they’ve been ranked in full separately.
  • To avoid subjective biases, taste and flavor were NOT included.
  • All nutrition data is current for 2015 and sourced from official company websites.

Like with most things in life, a little planning goes a LONG way. Stock up in advance and buy in bulk, either online or at a local Whole Foods/health food store. You’ll get a MUCH better bar, guarantee that you’re always equipped with healthy ammo, and save a ton of money in the process.

There’s a dearth of quality bars at airports, supermarkets, and other convenience stores — don’t leave yourself stranded.

And of course, FUN SUPERLATIVES before we hit go on the countdown.

  • King of the Castle: Raw Crunch
  • Unadulterated Superfoods: YAWP!, Chia Bars, 22 Days, Raw Revolution
  • Best Convenience Store Finds: Larabars, KIND Plus
  • Mainstream Garbage: LUNA, CLIF, NuGo
  • Worst Place: Snicker’s Marathon Bar

 

Got it? Good. Dive in, face first.

 


Tier 5 — Do. Not. Put. In. Mouth.


 

52. Snicker’s Marathon Bar — $1.05/bar


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51. PowerBar Performance Energy — $1.67/bar


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Tier 4 — AVOID. AVOID. AVOID.


 

 

50. CLIF Crunch Granola Bars — $1.50/bar


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49. Zone Perfect Nutrition Bars — $1.00/bar


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48. LUNA — $1.00/bar


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47. LUNA Protein — $1.25/bar


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46. CLIF Bars — $1.17/bar


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45. 2 Degrees Snack Bars — $2.00/bar


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44. ProBar Meal Simply Real Bars — $2.50/bar


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43. PowerBar Harvest Energy — $1.73


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42. WB Kitchen Honey Nut Bars — $3.29


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41. NuGo Dark — $1.42/bar


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40. NuGo — $1.13/bar


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Pages: Tiers 5 & 4 (52-40) | Tier 3 (39-22) | Tier 2 (21-6) | Tier 1 (5-1) | Recap

 
 

References, Notes, Links

  1. Statista — Retail sales of nutrition and energy bars in the U.S. from 2005 to 2015 []

 

Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto

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