Granola bars

You have heard of the terms: granola bars, protein bars, and energy bars. Are all these bars the same? What is the difference between these three bars?

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Edible bars as foods

When we feel hungry in between our major meals of the day, we reach out for a healthy snack. And energy bars or protein bars and granola bars are healthy and filling. They fill out stomach and suppress the hunger pangs that might have come out of turn at an odd hour.

These bars are quite good for snacking and can help to stop the hunger even when one is traveling. They give us instant energy and overcomes our fatigue rapidly. They are also convenient when on the go. And do not create a mess around while eating.

Granola bars
Granola bars (Source: Hebbar’s kitchen)

They are handy and very portable. Hence they can be carried in our bag or purse for emergency need when hungry. Moreover, many vending machines also dispense these bars. They are an healthy option because they are packed with nutrients and are not highly processed products.

But have you ever wondered and wanted to know the difference between these edible bars. Are they all the same or do some differences exist between them?

Granola bars vs energy bars

Both the granola bars as well as the energy bars provide energy after consumption. The sources of energy in them are the same as foods namely proteins, carbs, and fats. The amount of energy that each bar provides depends on the brand and ingredients used. There is an overlap in the values of energy or calories that each bar provides. Some granola bars have more energy in them while some energy bars might have lesser energy. There is no demarcation in the energy levels that these two bars provide.

Granola bars
Energy bars (Source: Pinterest)

The ingredients in them might vary but also overlap. Mostly bars of granola are made from rolled oats, puffed rice or such grains. While energy bars have majorly rice crisps, rolled oats, toasted oats etc. To hold these ingredients together, both bars have added sugary syrup or fruit pastes or oils or such binding material.

Protein levels

One distinct difference between the two bars is the protein levels. The bars of granola give just 1 g protein per bar. But in case of energy bars, it is 10 to 20 grams per bar. And this protein comes largely from soy, eggs, milk, collagen or gelatin that the manufacturers add to these bars. Some energy bars also have nuts and seeds that further increase the protein levels.

Some of granola or energy bars have minerals and vitamins fortifications in them. These are usually calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin K, and B vitamins. But natural sources of these nutrients such as fruits and vegetables are best.

Granola bars
Protein bars (Source: Jar of lemons)

Also, read Nocturnal hunger: What to have as a midnight snack?

The bottom line is one can eat these bars occasionally and especially during travel times. But do not make it a routine and have them in moderation. Rely on fresh and whole real foods for nutrients.