Fast food is out and healthy eating is in: and brands have noticed. There are now dozens of different snack bars on supermarket shelves that market themselves as ‘healthy’ on-the-go fuel.
But now a nutritionist can reveal that many of these seemingly healthy bars, which advertise themselves as ‘natural,’ ‘raw,’ or ‘gluten-free,’ contain more sugar than a chocolate bar.
Registered Nutritionist Rory Larkin analysed the labels of 19 of the most popular bars and health biscuits on the market.
He discovered that 12 of them are classed as ‘high’ in sugar – and six of them contain more sugar than an 18g Cadbury Freddo bar, which contains 11g of sugar.
An 18g Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo contains 11g of sugar – but six ‘heathy’ cereal bars actually contain more, including Eat Natural’s 50g Yoghurt Almond and Apricot bar, which contains 15.6g
The most sugary bars
1. Nutri-Grain Breakfast Bakes Raisin (45g): 18g
2. Eat Natural Yoghurt Almond and Apricot (50g): 15.6g
3. Nak’d Cocoa and Orange (35g): 13.6g
The research found that own-label brands generally contained less sugar and fat than some well-known brands such as Quaker and Nutri-grain.
More than half of the bars analysed by Mr Larkin had ‘red’ traffic light labels, as well as a high proportion of amber lights.
Only one brand of those surveyed had green lights across all four categories.
From most sugary to least, these are the healthy cereal bars that are worse for you than the packaging suggests.
1. Nutri-Grain Breakfast Bakes Raisin (45g)
Nutri-Grain’s 45g Breakfast Bakes Raisin contain a whopping 18g of sugar per bar – that’s 7g more than a chocolate Freddo bar
Equivalent teaspoons of sugar per bar: 4.5
Per bar: 18g sugars, 167kcal, 4.1g fat, 0.4g sat fat
2. Eat Natural Yoghurt Almond and Apricot (50g)
Equivalent teaspoons of sugar per bar: 3.9
Per bar: 15.6g sugars, 238kcal, 13.3g fat, 9.4g sat fat
3. Nak’d Cocoa and Orange (35g)
Nakd’s Cocoa Orange bars contain 13.6g of sugar per bar, putting them in third place for most sugar of snacks tested
Equivalent teaspoons of sugar per bar: 3.4
Per bar: 13.6g sugars, 145kcal, 7g fat, 1.5g sat fat
4. Perkier Cacao and Cashew Quinoa Bar (35g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 3.3
Per bar: 13.5g sugars, 144kcal, 6.2g fat, 1g sat fat, 16.9g carbs, 1.8g fibre
5. Stoats Raspberry and Honey Breakfast Bar (50g)
Perkier’s Cacao and Cashew bar (left) may sound healthy but the 50g bar contains 13.5g of sugar, more than a chocolate bar. Stoats Raspberry and Honey Breakfast Bars (right) contain 13.4g of sugar
Equivalent teaspoons of sugar per bar: 3.4
Per bar: 13.4g sugars, 231kcal, 11.2g fat, 5.6g sat fat
Quaker’s Mixed Berries Porridge To Go Squares contain 11g of sugar – the same as a Freddo
6. Quaker Mixed Berries Porridge To Go Squares (55g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugars per square: 2.8
Per square: 11g sugars, 214kcal, 3.6g fat, 0.4g sat fat
7. Morrisons Granola Bars Oat & Maple (42g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 2.6
Per bar: 10.5g sugars, 188kcal, 6.2g fat, 0.6g sat fat
8. Alpen Strawberry and Yogurt Cereal Bar (29g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugars per bar: 2.5
Per bar: 10g sugars, 120kcal, 2.9g fat, 1.6g sat fat
9. Jordan’s Frusli Blueberries Cereal Bar (30g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 2.4
Per bar: 9.9g sugars, 113kcal, 2.1g fat, 0.4g sat fat
10. Belvita Breakfast Biscuit Milk and Cereals (45g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugars per 4 biscuits pack: 2.3
Per 4 biscuits (45g): 9g sugars, 196kcal, 6.3g fat, 0.7g sat fat, 29.7g carbs, 3.1g fibre
11. McVities Hob Nobs Milk Chocolate Golden Syrup Oaty Snack Bar (30.6g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 2.2
Per bar: 8.8g sugars, 129kcal, 4g fat, 2.1g sat fat
12. Tracker Roast Nut Cereal Bar (26g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 1.8
Per bar: 7.3g sugars, 127kcal, 6.5g fat, 2.4g sat fat
13. Waitrose Seed and Red Fruits Cereal Bar (30g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 1.5
Per bar: 6.1g sugars, 130kcal, 5.6g fat, 0.8g sat fat
14. Special K (21.5g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 1.45
Per bar: 5.8g sugars, 83kcal, 1.8g fat, 1.1g sat fat, 15g carbs, 2.1g fibre
15. Sainsburys Chewy & Crispy Chocolate Bars (24g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 1.2
Per bar: 5.1g sugars, 90kcal, 1.8g fat, 1g sat fat
16. Nature’s Valley Popcorn Peanuts Sunflower Seeds Bar (20g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugars per bar: 1.1
Per bar: 4.5g sugars, 92kcal, 4.4g fat, 1.7g sat fat, 9.9g carbs, 2.8g fibre
17. ASDA Smart Price 6 Strawberry Flavoured & Cranberry Muesli Bars (23g)
ASDA’s 23g Smart Price Strawberry Flavour & Cranberry Muesli Bars (left) contain just 4.3g of sugar per bar, making them one of the least sugary snacks on the market, according to the test. Tesco’s 21g Healthy Living Apple & Strawberry Bars (right) contain even less at 3.4g sugars per bar
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 1.1
Per bar: 4.3g sugars, 81kcal, 0.8g fat, 0.3g sat fat
18. Tesco Healthy Living Apple & Strawberry Bars (21g)
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 0.8
Per bar: 3.4g sugars, 71kcal, 1.4g fat, 0.9g sat fat
19. Boka Apple and Cinnamon Bar (30g)
These 30g Boka Apple and Cinnamon Cereal Bars contain just 1.4g of sugar per bar and have green traffic light labvels for all categories
Equivalent teaspoons sugar per bar: 0.4
Per 30g bar: 1.4g sugars, 88kcal, 0.7g fat, 0.1g sat fat
FEMAIL has contacted brands for comment.
A Kellogg’s spokesperson said: ‘A Nutri-Grain bar is an alternative option to confectionary snacks. It is high in fibre, fortified with six B vitamins, iron and calcium and is low in saturated fat. The bars are clearly labelled, so people can make decisions that are right for themselves and their families.
‘As part of our Better Starts commitment to help families make healthier choices, we are continuously reviewing our portfolio working hard to provide lower sugar options across our range, including our snack bars.’