Skip to main content.


Mar. 20, 2006
Nancy, get it right!
I came across an article by Nancy Clark, a sports dietitian whom I really respect. In "The Athlete's Kitchen: Energy Bars-Costly but Convenient," (from, Nancy takes an all-to-familiar negative perspective. Though some of what she says is true, in the world of bars, CLIF BAR stands out among other brands—you just can't compare the organic, all-natural, nutritiously fortified bar with those other brands she discusses. It's like comparing apples and oranges!

Nancy has long been a whole food advocate, i.e. eating a banana and bagel instead of "energy" bars. I, too, am an advocate of whole foods. Have you ever heard me say, "Eat CLIF BARS and skip fruits, vegetables, and whole grains?" Never. CLIF BAR is simply a great complement and supplement to healthy eating.

Go read her article. I'll give you a moment to open up a new window and peruse it on your own.

Though it's always helpful to get another perspective on the foods we put in our body, it's also important to get the right facts. Since you now have a grasp of what she has to say, here are some of my own clarifications that make understanding the concept of an energy bar, just a little more accurate.

So, here goes:

In her opening paragraph, Nancy places LUNA in the mix with all other energy bars. The truth, however, is that LUNA is a nutrition bar; it has fewer calories and carbohydrates than energy bars and is fortified with higher amounts of vitamins and minerals for women.

Next, Nancy evaluates the ingredients within energy bars. She's quite accurate in her statement regarding the definition of "energy;" people commonly refer to energy as feeling more energetic rather than the more scientific form of energy, which refers to calories for muscles to burn. She hardly ever budges from her position that energy bars carry the same nutritional value as candy bars.

While this may be true for some brands, CLIF BARS are all natural and 70% organic; in addition, to being free of trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup, they are also fortified with lots of vitamins and minerals. They taste great and they're full of nutrition—what candy bar can say that?

In her grand finale, Nancy delves deeply into the pros and cons of energy bars. Much of what she says, however, is not true for all energy bars. I've always acknowledged whole foods as an option to a pre-exercise snack. Adding a bar to your whole food mix simplifies the pre-exercise meal and adds variety; there's no evidence that states that people actually replace fruits with energy bars.

I also stand behind carbohydrate as the best energy-boosting ingredient because muscles derive their energy through the calories and fuel within carbohydrates. Though Nancy claims that energy bars are over-priced, $1+ hardly seems like a stretch for healthier ingredients that you won't find in Fig Newton's, granola bars, graham crackers or bagels.

That's my rant for the day. Here's to a little clarification and eating well!

Posted by:
Tara, the RD
Food Matters

More Topics

Blog Contributors

RSS Feeds:
RSS Comments
Podcasts Feeds:
My Yahoo

About this Blog

We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

Blog Leaf