Dizzied by the dozens of bars on the shelves? Here are some tips from the experts: First and last, read the labels. Check nutrition facts for things you want and for what you want to avoid for allergies. “Make sure you are getting protein for your money,” because that will help maintain lean body mass and control hunger, says David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. He says 10 grams in 150 calories is a good balance. Beware of the fat. Look for trans-fat calories. And, Heber says, as the protein count goes up, so does the fat, which with sugar help make the bars palatable. Look at total calories. Some bars are intended to be meal replacements, with 350 calories or more. Others are made as snacks. And be aware of whether the bar is labeled as one or more servings.
For context, consider a 1.86-ounce Snickers bar. It is 250 calories, with 12 grams of fat and 27 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber and 4 grams of protein.