How your health kick could be adding to your waistline!

You might assume oat, nut and fruit bars are always healthier than a Mars bar. But you’re wrong. For cereal and protein bars sold on the high street can contain even more calories than Britain’s best-loved treat.

Kind Protein’s dark chocolate nut bar (274), Eat Natural almond and cocoa bar (243) and the Deliciously Ella peanut butter bar (230) all have more than a Mars (228).

And Nakd bars in blueberry or salted caramel, as well as Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Raisin bar, have around 18g of sugar — as much as four McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives.

Experts warned that despite seeming to be healthier, the snacks should be ‘treated with caution’ because they can be high in fat, sugar or salt, while also being packed with fruit and nuts.

MailOnline looked at 100 granola, fruit and nut bars — often eaten for breakfast or a snack during the day — available from supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

Most carried health claims on their packaging, such as ‘protein-packed’, a ‘source of fibre’ and ‘less sugar’.

Some also highlighted they were ‘raw’, ‘made with natural ingredients’ and contained vitamins.


Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain

• Thirty grams of fibre a day. This is the same as eating all of the following: Five portions of fruit and vegetables, two whole-wheat cereal biscuits, two thick slices of wholemeal bread and a large baked potato with the skin on

• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks), choosing lower fat and lower sugar options

• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including two portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts

• Drink six to eight cups/glasses of water a day

• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day

A Kind Protein Dark Chocolate Nut Bar — packed with almonds, peanuts and dark chocolate — has 274 calories, which is more than a bar of Dairy Milk (240).

However, the Kind option has just 8.6g of sugar, compared to 25g in the chocolate bar and four times more protein.

Eat Natural bars in almond and cocoa, as well as pecan and peanut, have around 240 calories and 6g of sugar.

This is more calorific than a Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut (200). However, it is half the sugar content (12.6g).

A peanut butter oat bar from Deliciously Ella has 230 calories, more than a Kit Kat Chunky — although, again, it has half the sugar content (10.6g vs 20.5g).

A strawberry, raspberry and cranberry oat cereal bar from Quaker Porridge has 218 calories — around as much as five Jaffa Cakes — and 8.3g of sugar.

Meanwhile, blueberry muffin and salted caramel Nakd bars, along with Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Raisin bars, were the most sugar-packed, with around 18g each — as much as a Twix Xtra or four McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive.

Zoe Davies, a nutritionist at Action on Sugar, told MailOnline: ‘Cereal bars with added protein might seem healthy but they often come with high sugar levels which are harmful to our health.

‘Despite the “no added sugar” labels often added to these products, they are likely to use processed fruit in the form of juices and purees which is still the type of sugar we should be reducing.

‘Instead, we can “dismantle” these bars and have a handful of nuts, whole fruit and plain yogurt for a healthy snack or start to our day.’

Dr Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and researcher at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, told MailOnline that food manufacturers can claim their product is a source of protein or rich in fibre if it contains a certain percentage of that nutrient.

Dr Mellor said: ‘Although this may seem a good thing, it tells you nothing about other things in the bar, such as sugar and salt.

‘In the UK, to make a claim about a nutrient there is no need for the overall product to be not high in added fat, sugar or salt.

‘These, along with marketing terms like “raw” — which simply implies minimally heated — and “natural”, are not a reflection of the nutritional composition of the food.’

But the public often link these words to a product being healthy, he warned.

So packaging that implies an item is healthy ‘need to be treated with caution’, Dr Mellor said.

People should consider eating nuts or seeds as a snack in their original form, rather than baked into a bar, which requires other ingredients, such as sugar, he added.

Professor Gunter Kuhnle, an expert in nutrition at the University of Reading, told MailOnline that cereal and protein bars ‘are probably often seen as healthy, irrespective of their actual composition’.

‘I assume this consumer perception might be the biggest issue here,’ he said.

Professor Kuhnle said: ‘There is very often the assumption that “healthy” food (such as cereal bars and fruit juice) must also be lower in sugar and energy.

‘That’s clearly not always the case.

‘Traffic light labels can help the consumer to make a better choice here.’

How calorific is YOUR favourite bar? 
Product Calories Sugar Protein
Kind Protein Dark Chocolate Nut Bar 274 8.6 12
Eat Natural Raw Protein Bar Peanuts Almond & Cocoa 243 6.8 9.7
Eat Natural Bars Maple Syrup Pecan & Peanut 240 5.9 8.3
Eat Natural Yogurt Almond & Apricot Bar 238 15.6 3.3
Deliciously Ella Peanut Butter Oat Bar 230 10.6 5.1
Eat Natural Protein Bar 229 8.4 10.2
Eat Natural Simply Vegan Bars 223 10.1 5.4
Eat Natural Protein Packed With Salted Caramel 223 8.9 11.7
Eat Natural Protein Packed With Salted Caramel 223 8.9 11.7
Quaker Porridge To Go Mixed Berries 218 8.3 3.4
Kind Protein Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars 218 6.7 10
Quaker Porridge To Go Cinnamon Bar 218 6.6 3.5
Eat Natural Raw Fruit & Nut Bar Hazelnut Dates Peanut 216 12.6 5.1
Graze Cocoa Vanilla & Protein Flapjack 216 4.3 7.2
Eat Natural Dark Chocolate Cranberry & Macadamia Bars 215 15.9 2
Fulfil Chocolate Hazenut Whip Vitamin Protein Bar 214 1.9 20
Deliciously Ella Apple And Raisin Oat Bar 213 14.5 2.8
Fulfil Peanut Butter Vitamin Protein Bar 212 1.8 20
Fulfil White Chocolate Peanut & Caramel Vitamin Protein Bar 211 2.1 20
Cadbury Nuttier Peanut & Almond Bar 206 9.7 6.2
Tesco Pumpkin Seeds Almond & Dark Chocolate Bars 204 5.6 7
Fulfil Salted Caramel Vitamin Protein Bar 204 1.7 20
Cadbury Nuttier Cranberry & Almond Milk Chocolate Bar 201 11 5.5
Nature Valley Protein Salted Caramel Nut Bars 200 5.4 10.3
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Oats & Chocolate Bars 199 11.3 3.7
Nature Valley Protein Chocolate & Peanut Bar 198 6.2 10.2
Nature Valley Protein Peanut & Chocolate Bars 197 6.2 10.2
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Variety Cereal Bars 196 11.3 3.6
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Oats & Honey 196 11.3 3.6
Eat Natural Bars Apple, Ginger & Dark Chocolate 195 14.6 2.1
Nature Valley Granola Bars Maple Syrup 195 11.3 3.6
Stoats Porridge Bars Blueberry & Honey Bars 178 9 3.2
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Chocolate Chip 177 17 2.1
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Raisin 170 18 1.9
Belvita Baked Bar Cranberry & Hazelnut 168 9.8 2.2
Belvita Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Baked Bar 166 10 2.3
Go Ahead Fruit Crispy Slices 162 11.1 2.4
Nakd Cashew Cookie Bars 155 13.7 3.5
Tesco 6 Coconut & Chocolate Bars 150 7.8 2
Nakd Peanut Delight Bar 149 13.6 4.8
Fulfil Chocolate Salted Caramel Vitamin & Protein Bar 148 1.2 15
Nakd Cocoa Orange Bar 146 13.6 3.9
Tesco Oat & Honey Granola Bars 145 5.5 2.2
Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Peanut Bars 143 5.8 3.7
Mcvitie Go Ahead Yogurt Breaks Strawberry 142 12.6 1.8
Go Ahead Yogurt Breaks Forest Fruit 142 12.6 1.8
Graze Honey And Oat Bar 142 4.1 4.7
Fulfil Chocolate Brownie Vitamin & Protein Bar 142 1.1 15
Fulfil Peanut & Caramel Vitamin & Protein Bar 141 1.5 15
Fulfil Chocolate Caramel Vitamin & Protein Bar 140 1.4 15
Tesco Peanut Munch Bar 139 8.6 2.3
Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Dark Chocolate With Nuts 139 6.6 3
Nakd Bakwell Tart Bar 138 16 2.6
Cadbury Brunch Bar Chocolate Chip 137 8.8 2
Nakd Berry Delight 136 16.6 3
Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Strawberry 136 12 1.6
Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Blueberry 136 12 1.6
Nakd Cocoa Delight 135 15.9 3.3
Tesco Strawberry Fruity Bakes 135 12.9 1.4
Tesco Raisin Munch Bar 135 10.6 2
Nakd Almond Macaroon 134 17.5 2.4
Nakd Lemon Drizzle Bars 133 17.7 2.1
Cadbury Brunch Bar Raisin 133 10 1.7
Tesco Salted Caramel Munch Bars 133 9.6 2.2
Graze Fibre Oat Boosts Cherry Bakewell 131 3.8 1.9
Graze Protein Oat Boosts Peanut Butter Flapjacks 131 2.6 4.3
Nakd Blueberry Muffin Bar 130 18.2 2.5
Graze Chocolate Cookie Oat Boosts 130 2.9 2.2
Nakd Salted Caramel 128 18.2 2.3
Go Ahead Apple Bakes 128 7.8 1.2
Mcvitie Go Ahead Strawberry Bakes 128 7.4 1.2
Graze Protein Oat Boosts Lemon Blueberry 128 3.8 1.8
Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Cranberry 125 6.7 2.5
Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Cereal Bars 125 6.6 2.5
Nakd Double Cocoa Chocolish 119 14 2
Jordans Frusli Wild Berry 119 8.7 1.6
Alpen Strawberry & Yogurt Cereal Bars 119 8.1 1.6
Nakd Fruit & Nut Bar Raspberry Chocolish 119 1.45 1.9
Jordans Frusli Blueberry Burst 116 8.8 1.8
Jordans Frusli Bars Cranberry & Apple 115 8.2 1.8
Nakd Berry Bliss Bar 99 14.4 1.9
Nakd Cocoa Twist Bar 99 13.8 2.1
Nakd Apple Danish Bar 98 14.9 1.8
Nakd Banana Bread Bar 94 13.2 1.8
Fibre One Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars 90 4.2 1.6
Fibre One Protein Cookies & Cream Bars 88 1 10
Fibre One Protein Caramel Bars 87 1 10
Fibre One 90 Chocolate Mint Brownie 84 4.5 1.2
Kellogg’s Special K Juicy Red Berry Bars 83 5.8 1.3
Fibre One Chocolate Fudge Brownie Reduced Sugar 83 4.9 1.1
Fibre One Milk Chocolate Popcorn Bars 83 4.7 1
Special K Milk Chocolate Bars 78 5 1.4
Alpen Light Chocolate Brownie Flavour 68 3.2 1
Alpen Light Chocolate & Fudge Bar 67 3 1.1
Alpen Light Cereal Bar Chocolate Raspberry Shortcakes 67 2.7 1.1
Alpen Light Cereal Bars Salted Caramel 66 3.2 1
Alpen Light Cereal Bars Jaffa Cake 66 2.9 1
Skinny Crunch Light Raspberry & White Chocolate 66 2.7 0.8
Alpen Light Summer Fruits Bars 65 3.4 1

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