I am the type of person to love to try these different kinds of bars when I pass them in the grocery store. I usually just assume they are healthy and grab one every now and then on the go. But, I have never really given them a second look to see just what I am putting in my body. And if there is anything I have learned in the last year it is to not trust media’s marketing of what is and isn’t healthy. For those of you doing the Portion Fix plans, if I eat one of these I typically use it as a Treat Yellow, but that does not truly align with the plan. So if you are following strictly to the plan avoid these!
I am going to break this review down into 2 categories. A Health Test and a Taste Test and give you my favorite and least favorite in each of the categories.
In this category we are really going to look at the facts of these bars. Mainly the Calories, Sugar, Carbs, Protein and Ingredients. I am coming to you as a mostly clean eater that really works hard to stay away from processed ingredients. Just to give you a little background on where I personally am coming from in my ranking.
1st Place: RxBar. This bar is taking first place in my book even with it having the highest calorie content on the review. If you compare ingredient lists you will quickly notice the RxBar clearly has the shortest list. It also snags 1st due to it having absolutely no added sugars. The 15g in the bar are all from natural ingredients in the bar. With a closer look at the label it also has an appropriate amount of protein.
2nd Place:LaraBar. This bar has an insane amount of sugar partly thanks to the dates which have a sugar content of 63% when dried and used in this way. But then in addition to that an additional 1.5 tsp of sugar are added to the bar! Why?! Making for a grand total of 6g per serving. But the ingredients are natural and clean. Which helps it a bit in the ranking.
3rd Place: Curate Bar. Comes into the ranking with 2.5 tsp of sugar per bar. Curate also stands out to you in our fact sheet because it has an insane amount of ingredients! The most on the list for sure. (I had to make the font smaller it was so many ingredients!) And to make matters worse the Curate Bar features Natural Ingredients, which are anything but natural. These are made in a lab.
4th Place: Quest Bar. Coming in at last place is the Quest Bar. Again because I am a clean eater there are a few ingredients that were a turn off for me. This bar is very processed! And has a lot of unnatural protein per serving! Quest bar uses Whey Protein which is not a natural protein source like the pea protein you see in one of the other bars. And the dreaded words, Natural Flavors, this is just a term for a flavor created in a lab unfortunately. But if you are just looking for a low sugar treat this takes the lead with less than a gram of sugar!
By far my personal favorite in the taste department is the Curate Bar. The other 3 have a similar dense texture.
1st Place: Curate Bar. It has more of the ‘granola bar feel’ and awesome chunks of chocolate and you can taste the different nuts that are included in the bar. Just a lovely treat, and my favorite of the bunch.
2nd Place: LaraBar. It tastes more natural than the other 2 remaining bars. It is pretty sweet thanks to the large amount of dates in the bar. But that also leads to why it has significantly more sugar than any of the other bars.
3rd Place: RxBar. This Chocolate Sea Salt flavor definitely lives up to its name. You can taste the sea salt that you can visibly see on the top of the bar. And in a few places you can see a visible chocolate chunk. Along with almond chunks as well. The fact that it tastes a little less natural than the others could be due to it being classified as a protein bar. Which as most protein drinkers know, anything that has protein powder in it has a certain taste to it that is unmatched by other flavors out there.
4th Place: Quest Bar. This may go against the popular vote because I know a lot of people just adore Quest Bars. But this protein packed bar takes last place in my personal taste test. The ingredients lead you to the fact that it is very processed. Which can significantly affect taste. And again it has that protein taste. In fact it has an extreme protein taste! Landing it in last place for this girl.
I think my biggest takeaway from this is that even though the bars are marketed as a healthy grab and go snack, they truly are not be the best way to use your containers or calories. With half of these popular marketed bars not having natural ingredients in them, the added sugar, and long ingredient lists were a big eye opener to me. I think I will actually eliminate these from my lifestyle to the best of my ability after doing this research and learning a bit more about what I have been putting into my body. But I will be going for the RxBar in the future if I get an undeniable jones-ing for a Health Bar. Let me know your thoughts on these Health Bars in the comments!
*I was not given any sort of incentive from any of these brands. These thoughts and opinions are my own honest opinion about each bar in the review.