This is the very thing that is wrong with most foods you find on any aisle outside the meat or produce aisle. The key words are sugar, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, soy, and high-fructose corn syrup. These ingredients are unhealthy no matter what else is in it!!
1. Oh Yeah! Original Bar: Peanut Butter & Strawberry
Oh yeah!? Oh no! While it's true that these high-protein bars boast 27 grams of protein, they are a far cry from something you should be eating for health. Along with a surfeit of sugars, artificial colors, chemical preservatives, gelatin, and partially hydrogenated oils, they offer an exuberant 370 calories, with 16 grams of fat, 9 of those being saturated.
2. PowerBar Fruit Smoothie Energy Bar: Berry Blast
Berries, and a blast of them no less - oh, the marketing magic of superfood buzzwords. Aside from the glaring lack of fiber, the PowerBar Fruit Smoothie bar has more calories and more than double the sugar of our model candy bar. The first ingredient is evaporated cane juice syrup, followed elsewhere on the list by sugar, fruit juice concentrate, dextrose, and fructose (read: sugar, sugar, sugar and sugar). The protein source is soy. Not to mention that there isn't a single berry listed in the ingredients. How does that qualify as a blast?
3. Quaker Oatmeal to Go Apples & Cinnamon
Although this breakfast in a square actually has oats as the first ingredient (yay!), the second ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup. (Boo!) Other hiss-worthy components include a number of sugars in their various guises, two types of partially hydrogenated oils including margarine, and artificial colors and chemical preservatives. It has only one more gram of protein than the candy bar, yet has almost twice as much sugar and more calories.
4. Genisoy Chunky Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bar
This isn't the most offensive bar of the bunch, but just be warned: More calories than the candy bar, more sugar, and half the fiber.
5. Met-Rx Big 100 Colossal Peanut Butter Pretzel
Given the whopping 28 grams of sugar, it's not surprising that the second, third, and fourth ingredients of this monster bar are corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar. If you're going to eat this Big Colossal whopper as a meal, that's one thing, but as a snack, the 410 calories and 28 grams of sugar are going to make you one step closer to big and colossal.
6. Muscle Milk Vanilla Toffee Crunch Bar
It's probably no surprise that a bar that comes in "vanilla toffee crunch" flavor isn't going to win many health food awards, but coming from a nutritional supplement company, one might think that there was a bit of merit involved. The first ingredient is evaporated cane juice (hello, sugar); nine other forms of sugar show up as well, along with two types of hydrogenated oils. And yes, it has more protein than a candy bar. That said, the protein comes from hydrolyzed gelatin.
7. Seitenbacher Banana Cranberry Bar
Seitenbacher is generally a good choice for a number of reasons: Their products are gluten-free and vegetarian; they use non-GMO soy; and the ingredient lists are usually simple and natural. But the banana cranberry option surprises with one glaring nutritional value: 32 grams of sugar. That translates to about 8 teaspoons of sugar, a lot of sweet stuff yet with only half the fiber and one-third the protein of the chocolate bar.
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