Are Energy Bars Good For You?

Energy Bar

There are a million energy bars available at gas staions, grocery stores, and running stores. Some are low carb, some are high-carb, some are kosher, you get the picture.  But the truth is, these are just glorified candy bars.  That’s not all bad, but don’t believe the hype that these bars offer more nutritional value or provide more energy than a banana, an orange, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

What you’re really paying for (and you are paying a lot) is convenience and marketing.

Here’s a simple list of the pro’s and con’s of energy bars and energy gels.  There is definitely a time and place for energy bars and gels, so use this list to decide when you want to use them.
  • Energy bars are ready to be eaten, no preparation or refridgeration is required
  • Energy bars are far more nutritious than a candy bar or bag of chips from the vending machine
  • Energy bars have a very long shelf life
  • Energy bars are portable, so you can take them on your long runs to stay fueled up
  • Energy bars provide quick energy before a workout (but so does a banana)
  • There are so many to try – you can keep trying until you find one your stomach can handle on a long run
  • Energy bars are ver low in water content, so you need a lot of fluids with them
  • Many energy bars have no vitamins or minerals, unlike fresh fruit or natural foods
  • Many energy bars have additives and preservatives
  • Energy bars are extremely expensive
So it’s really up to you how you want to use energy bars.  On the run, they make a great alternative to less portable options.  At work, on a busy day, they can be a quick fix to keep you going through a lunch meeting.  But they don’t replace fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  So make sure to have a healthy balance.

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