When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What should you look for in an energy bar?

What should you look for in an energy bar?

Feel daunted by the choice of energy bars available on the market, and unsure whether to go high carb or high protein. Nutritionist Lucy-Anne Prideaux explains what to look out for

From a nutritional point of view, energy bars can fall into two categories: those with a high carb, low protein content, and those with slightly lower carb levels and more protein.

The differences between them aren’t huge but they are important. During exercise – eating on the bike, for example – the higher-carb bars are ideal. For post-exercise recovery, you might want to choose a bar with a higher protein content.

Look for energy bars that aren’t loaded with refined sugars, and generally speaking, choose a bar that contains as many natural ingredients as possible because they tend to be kinder on your digestive system.

Avoid over-feeding – too much fuel can be counter-productive and is likely to make you slower, rather than faster. Aim to consume 60-70g carbs per hour, whether from energy drinks, bars or gels. Small 35g bars contain around 15g of carbs and 4g of protein. Larger 68g bars can contain up to 45g carbohydrate and 10g protein.

So look at the nutritional balance and content of bars and factor this into your fuelling plans, especially during races.

Profile image of Lucy-Ann Prideaux Lucy-Ann Prideaux Qualified nutritionist and yoga instructor


Lucy-Ann began her working career in 1990 as an exercise instructor and personal trainer. Following a MSc in human nutrition, and gaining her registered nutritionist status, she remained in the world of nutrition for almost 20 years. Alongside her working career, she competed as a swimmer, runner and triathlete. In her 30s, she began her lifelong love of yoga. She also studied Ayurveda medicine, training as an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle practitioner. This deepened her knowledge of food, in particular the use of spices and herbs, anti-ageing nutrition, and women’s health and nutrition for a healthy digestive function. After moving to Cornwall, she completed the Yoga Standards Alliance’s 200-hour training programme with a Registered Yoga School (RYS) to attain her RYS 200 Yoga Alliance teacher training certificate. She has since completed an in-depth 25hr yoga training with renowned international Yoga Instructor, Schuyler Grant. Today, Lucy-Ann teaches regular yoga classes in North Cornwall, focusing on yoga for health and everyday functional strength. When not teaching yoga, Lucy-Ann can be found hiking the SW coastal path with her dog, Samson. Lucy-Ann lives in North Cornwall with her family.