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10 Best Energy Bars

22-Oct-15

By Steve Diederich

We review the 10 Best Energy Bars on the market – Trading off Nutrition vs Weight vs Flavour is a bit of a minefield –as is looking at the tiny writing on the back or the wrapper, so we have taken the legwork out of this and, purely in the interest of science and journalism, have had to taste these treats.

We’ve broken it down for you into categories and then given an in-depth review of each one.

The Category winners and losers are:

Highest Energy per 100 gm
Most: Bounce Peanut Protein blast (422 Cals per 100 gms)
Least: Quest Bar Strawberry cheesecake Protein Bar (283 Cals per 100 gms)

Highest Protein per 100 gm
Most: CNP Pro High Protein Bar Caramel (43 gms per 100 gms)
Least: Trek Protein Berry Burst Bar (18 gms per 100gms)

Best Tasting
Favourites: Clif Chocolate protein Builder’s Protein Bar & Bounce Peanut Protein Blast - Both scored highly as they tasted more natural and had recognisable, interesting flavours and texture.
Least exciting: MET-Rx Big 100 Colossal Bar Crispy Apple Pie - “Claggy” texture and taste seemed far away from any real food we have ever eaten.

Photo credit: www.highfive.co.uk

High5 Banana Vanilla Protein Bar – RRP £1.50

Buy High5 Protein Bar

The Banana Vanilla Protein Bar is from the popular brand High5. What makes the High5 Protein Bar different and a brilliant recovery is its high protein to carbohydrate ratio. This gluten-free energy bar has a lighter texture and no added preservatives and artificial flavouring. High5 also offer another variant, the Double Chocolate Protein Bar, for the chocolate lovers. A safe choice and reasonable flavour.

Nutritional Info – High5 Banana Vanilla Protein Bar

  • Serving Size – 50 grams
  • Calories/100 grams – 391
  • Protein – 14 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 23 grams; of which sugars – 20 grams
  • Total Fat – 5.1 grams; Saturated Fat – 2.8 grams
  • Fibre – 0.2 grams
  • Salt – 0.24 grams

Our Verdict: A safe choice and palatable flavour, a little on the sweet side.
Our Rating: 3/5

 

Photo credit: www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk

Trek Protein Berry Burst Bar – RRP £1.25

Buy Trek Protein Bar

The Trek Protein Berry Burst Bar has got a lot going on, with raspberries, oats, and soya crispies. This gluten-free, vegan-friendly bar is at the healthier end of the range. It is low in unhealthy saturated fats and sodium and according to Trek, has an optimal protein to carbohydrate ratio… and it doesn’t taste too bad. The Trek Protein Bar is available in: Banana Blast, Peanut Power, and Cocoa Chaos flavours.

Nutritional Info – Trek Protein Berry Burst Bar

  • Serving Size – 55 grams
  • Calories/100 grams - 322
  • Protein – 10 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 29.2 grams; of which sugars – 24.5 grams
  • Total Fat – 1.6 grams; Saturated Fat – 0.2 grams
  • Fibre – 3.3 grams
  • Salt – 0.3 grams

Our verdict: Great value, nice tasting, if not slightly sweet, with a hefty 45% sugar content.
Our rating: 3.5/5

 

Photo credit: www.proteindynamix.com

DynaBar™ Protein Bar – RRP £2.49

DynaBar™ proudly asserts that their high protein bar is the best tasting bar in all of the UK. It is good – but not a contender the top place. A substitute for the conventional protein shakes, DynaBar™ has a taste of caramel and milk chocolate. The milk protein and soy protein isolate provide an enormous 20 grams protein boost per bar. Let’s take a look at what DynaBar™ has to offer.

Nutritional Info – DynaBar™ Protein Bar

  • Serving Size – 64 grams
  • Calories/100 grams - 421
  • Calories/55 grams– 270
  • Protein – 20 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 25 grams; of which sugars – 15 grams
  • Total Fat – 11 grams; Saturated Fat – 6.1 grams
  • Fibre – 0.3 grams
  • Salt – 0.3 grams

Our verdict: Not a bad tasting package, very caramelized intense flavour.
Our Rating: 3.5/5

Photo credit: www.metrx.com

MET-Rx Big 100 Colossal Bar Crispy Apple Pie - RRP £7

The MET-Rx Big 100 is larger than most protein bars available in the market. Each bar weighs 100 grams. Yes, you read that right! It is indeed a meal replacement with 400 calories. As the makers of this giant protein bar say, you can’t fake strong.

The protein blend of milk protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, dried egg white, and L-glutamine provides a massive 31 grams of protein boost per bar. It gets its crunchy texture from soy crisps and a distinctive flavour from cinnamon.

You can try their other flavours like Chocolate Toasted Almond, Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch, Peanut Butter Pretzel, Sweet & Salty, and Chocolate Caramel Coconut.

Nutritional Info – Met-Rx Big 100 Colossal

  • Serving Size – 100 grams
  • Calories/100 grams - 400
  • Protein – 31 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 47 grams; of which sugars – 29 grams
  • Total Fat – 10 grams; Saturated Fat – 5 grams
  • Fibre – 2 grams
  • Salt – 0.44 grams

Our Verdict: Packs a weighty punch at a weighty price, taste was a little synthetic for us and too heavy on the cinnamon, a Goliath bar.
Our rating: 3/5

 

Photo credit: www.clifbar.com

Clif Chocolate Builder’s Protein Bar - RRP £2.22

Buy Clif Builder's Protein Bar

Clif bars have been known for their unprecedented quality. What makes them a hot favourite among the athletes is the fact that they offer the best of both worlds – nutrition and taste. Let’s take a look at the nutrition info of the Clif Chocolate Builder’s Protein Bar.

Nutritional Info – Clif Chocolate Builder’s Protein Bar

  • Serving Size – 68 grams
  • Calories/100 grams – 397
  • Protein – 20 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 29 grams; of which sugars – 21 grams
  • Total Fat – 9 grams; Saturated Fat – 6 grams
  • Fibre – 4 grams
  • Salt – 0.2 grams

The Clif Builder’s Protein Bar range presents other delicious flavours like Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies n Cream, Vanilla Almond, Crunchy Peanut Butter, and S’Mores. While all of the Builder’s Protein Bars have 20 grams of protein, the number of calories and the percentage of saturated fat, potassium and sodium varies slightly.

Our Verdict: Love the texture, flavour and value of these. Hit the spot and easy on the stomach.
Our rating: 5/5

Photo credit: www.bouncefoods.com

Bounce Peanut Protein Blast - RRP £1.79

The Bounce Energy Balls are round balls of energy. The Peanut Protein Blast, as the name suggests, is loaded with the goodness of whey protein, which is essential for post-workout recovery. The texture is chewy with an occasional crunch from the peanuts. If you are into gluten-free foods, the Bounce Peanut Protein Blast is your best bet. They are all cold-pressed rather than cooked and taste like natural food.

Nutritional Info – Bounce Peanut Protein Blast

  • Serving Size – 49 grams
  • Calories/100 grams - 422
  • Calories/ 49 grams– 207
  • Protein – 14 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 19 grams; of which sugars – 12 grams
  • Total Fat – 8 grams; Saturated Fat – 1.1 grams
  • Fibre – 2.4 grams
  • Salt – 0.39 grams

Bounce Balls come in various flavours like Cacao Orange, Cacao Mint Protein Bomb (Loved these!), Coconut & Macadamia Protein Bliss, Almond Protein Hit etc. Nevertheless, the percentage amount of proteins of these variants is not very close to that of the Bounce Peanut Protein Blast.

Our verdict: A real favourite – worked our way through all the flavours – not a dud amongst them.
Our rating: 5 /5

Photo credit: www.cnpprofessional.co.uk

CNP Pro High Protein Bar Caramel  - RRP 2.50

The CNP Pro claim their bars to be efficient recovery protein foods. On the face of it, the favourable protein to carbohydrate ratio should not only provide instant energy, but also make up for the muscular wear and tear of ultra running.

The CNP High Protein Bar is available in other flavours such as Berry, Chocolate, and Peanut with a very slight variation in the number of calories.

Nutritional Info – CNP Pro High Protein Bar Caramel

  • Serving Size – 70 grams
  • Calories/100 grams - 335
  • Protein – 30 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 21 grams; of which sugars – 3 grams
  • Total Fat – 4.6 grams; Saturated Fat – 3.1 grams
  • Fibre – 7.7 grams
  • Salt – 0.24 grams

Our Verdict: Tasty and easy on the stomach due to its low sugar content (sweeteners used). Nice product that is well up to the job, with a really high protein fix.
Our Rating: 4.5/5

 

Photo credit: www.questnutrition.com

Quest Bar Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Bar – RRP £2.99

If high-protein bars are your thing, then this and the CNP bar should float your boat. Low sugars and buckets of protein make this bar a contender for your long runs.

You can enjoy the rarity of Quest Bar’s heavenly texture and zero saturated fats in more thrilling flavours like Cinnamon Roll, Coco-Cashew, S’Mores, White Chocolate Raspberry, PB&J, Cookies n Cream, Mint Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

Nutritional Info – Quest Bar Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Bar

  • Serving Size – 60 grams
  • Calories/100 grams - 283
  • Calories/60 grams– 170
  • Protein – 20 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 23 grams; of which sugars – 2 grams
  • Total Fat – 7 grams; Saturated Fat – 1 grams
  • Fibre – 13 grams
  • Salt – 0.2 grams

Our verdict: Not one of our favourite flavours, but a solid high protein/low sugar bar.
Our rating: 3.5/5 

Photo credit: www.etixxsports.com

Etixx High Protein Bar RRP £1.99

From one of the leading sports nutrition brands, you would expect something great from this bar, and whilst it doesn’t disappoint, it lacks some of the more “foodie” flavours. However, If you are a chocoholic, the Etixx High Protein Bar should hit the spot as it contains Belgium chocolate – this isn’t a gourmet artisan work of art, however the coconut and vanilla tastes aren’t unpleasant and the consistency is reasonable.

Nutritional Info – Etixx High Protein Bar

  • Serving Size – 50 grams
  • Calories/100 grams - 374
  • Protein – 20 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 13 grams; of which sugars – 7 grams
  • Total Fat – 6 grams; Saturated Fat – 4 grams
  • Fibre – 4 grams
  • Salt – 0.3 grams

Our verdict: Good all-round recovery bar – that offers a chocolaty treat at reasonable price – maybe not one for hotter climates though!
Our rating: 4/5

Photo credit: www.optimumnutrition.com

Optimum Nutrition Caramel Crunch Complete Protein Bar - RRP £1.99

A solid rival to the Etixx High Protein Bar the Complete Protein Bar by Optimum Nutrition is a worthy contender for the best protein bar position. As far as the caramel crunch flavour is concerned, we think it’s quite similar to a Mars bar. Whilst low in sugar, the bar is not overly sweetened.

The next best things about this bar are its high fibre content and the incredible protein to carbohydrate ratio. It’s virtually impossible to find another protein bar in the market that boasts stats like this one.

The Complete Protein Bar is also available in Double Rich Chocolate and Chocolate Orange flavours.

Nutritional Info – Optimum Nutrition Caramel Crunch Complete Protein Bar

  • Serving Size – 50 grams
  • Calories/100 grams - 333
  • Protein – 20 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 12 grams; of which sugars – 4.3 grams
  • Total Fat – 4 grams; Saturated Fat – 2.5 grams
  • Fibre – 6.4 grams
  • Salt – 0.04 grams

Our Verdict: It has got some of the best stats around. This is a technical bar that is ahead of the contents game at a good price.
Our rating: 4.5/5

 

So these were the top 10 protein bars that cut the mustard at the moment. I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that it will help you pick the right bar the next time you want to stuff some tasty fuel into your pack. Stay tuned for interesting upcoming posts about more best running foods.

Don't agree? What's your favourite energy bar? Leave us a comment below.


Check out more of our nutrition pieces: 

What the pros eat
Time to eat

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lukejarmey

03:25 05-11-15

Haha that's an interesting comparison to frogspawn there Drew! Thanks for pitching in with the Chia Charge Flapjack review, I'm very curious to try them out now!

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Drew

04:30 04-11-15

Chia Charge Flapjack

I first picked up one of these free at a race a few years ago and have been hooked ever since. Not only do they taste great (after all, which ultra runner doesn't like flapjack?) but the addition of Chia seeds, one of the current crop of very trendy super-foods adds to the nutritional value. They also include a bit of sea salt, which makes them slightly less sickly than they might have been, and also provides some bonus electrolytes!

They *usually* hold together in a race (although if you squash them in a small backpack pocket as I often do you end up with a sort of Chia Granola) and are reasonably easy to eat on the run, as they're very soft and very moist.

Just a small note of caution. Chia seeds swell up in fluid and end up looking (and probably feeling) a bit like frogspawn. No, I've never eaten frogspawn, but I guess it's probably a similar texture. Anyway, when one of these dislodges itself from your teeth an hour later you'll know what it is.

Nutritional Information (per bar): -
KCal: 378
Protein: 5g
Carbohydrate: 44g
Fat: 20g
Fibre: 4g
Sodium: 0.3g