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.