Healthy bars Some have more sugar than a Kit Kat



22:50 GMT, 10 March 2012

They are the ‘healthy’ bars that promise ‘raw’, unprocessed ingredients, and even claim to aid slimming.

Usually made from fruit and nuts, honey or other sugar alternatives, surely they are a virtuous option when it comes to grabbing a quick snack

This has more sugar than a two-finger KitKat, which contains 10g. Its also more calorific than a bag of Maltesers.

Eat Natural has more sugar than a two-finger KitKat, which contains 10g. It's also more calorific than a bag of Maltesers

Not necessarily, says HELEN BOND, a dietician and spokesman for the British Dietetic Association.

Here she looks at some leading brands and reveals some surprisingly unhealthy secrets…


Hazelnuts, apricots and vanilla bar (87p)
Sugar: 10.8g per 45g bar

Eat Natural

Helen says: ‘This has more sugar than a two-finger KitKat, which contains 10g. It’s also more calorific than a bag of Maltesers. So one snack is taking a sizeable chunk out of your recommended intake (2,550 calories a day for men and 1,940 for women) without a great deal of benefit. It’s already high in fat at 11g, and a third of that comes from unhealthy saturates. You may be better off having a small packet of apricots. The nutritional values aren’t printed on the packet – is that because customers might be put off if they are watching their weight’


Red Berry bar (35p)
Sugar: 9g per 23g bar

Special K

Helen says: ‘Special K bars contain the equivalent of about two teaspoons of sugar. This would give you a rapid rise in blood sugar, but then you’d get a crash within 30 minutes, making you feel lethargic. Fruit and nuts would keep you feeling fuller for longer. This bar doesn’t even have much fibre in it. You would be better off with a bag of sugary popcorn for breakfast – and that’s not saying much.’


Mixed Berry (1.15)

Sugar: 30g per 68g bar


Helen says: ‘This bar contains 204 calories which seems quite high until you realise it weighs 68g. It is also very high in protein at 11g, which means it will make you feel fuller for longer. If you want a snack to keep you going through the afternoon this might help. Dates make up nearly half the ingredients – which could account for the 30g sugar content – but it also means this is high in fibre and good for the digestive system. It will make up one of your five a day. The fat content at 1.6g is low and none of this is the unhealthy saturated fat.’


Cashew Cookie raw fruit and nut bar (88p)
Sugar: 14g per 35g bar


Helen says: ‘There’s a lot of sugar here, almost 50 per cent more than you’d get in a two-finger KitKat. Again if you’re watching your intake, this won’t be the bar for you with its 143 calories. However, the sugar content is from fructose, which gives a more sustained release of energy. As the nut content is so high – more than 50 per cent – this snack is a good source of protein. Cashews are quite high in iron, too, so good for healthy red blood cells. Though the fat content at 8g is high, these are the healthy monounsaturated fats.’


Cranberry Choc ’n’ nut bar (25.99 for pack 16 or 1.62 each)
Sugar: 4.6g per 28g bar

Slim Secrets

Helen says: ‘An Aussie diet snack loved by Dannii Minogue, this is low in calories at 87. The protein (6g) comes from soy protein nuggets and flakes – concentrated forms that will make you feel fuller for longer. However, this is also quite high in sugar (4.6g), which is the same as a teaspoon. The bar contains five per cent cranberries, which are a good source of antioxidants. However, such a small amount wouldn’t make that much difference.’


Manuka Honey bar (1.79)
Sugar: 4.7g per 40g bar


Helen says: ‘This bar contains Manuka honey, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and cinnamon. There’s increasing evidence of the antibacterial and antiviral benefits of Manuka honey. The honey means the sugar – which at 4.7g amounts to just over a teaspoon – is in the form of fructose, a natural fruit form, so it will give you a slow release of energy. It is high in fat at 10.7g – more than a Cadbury’s Flake – but 80 per cent is made up of fruit, nuts and seeds, with only a tenth unhealthy saturated fat. This is a good snack option.’


Get Set bar (82p)
Sugar: 15g per 40g bar

The Food Doctor

Helen says: ‘It contains rolled oats, dried banana, honey pumpkin seeds, quinoa, sesame seeds and even dried spiralina – an algae supposed to perk up energy levels. The 40g bar does have a high fibre content so you will feel fuller for longer, though a third of its nutritional value comes from the 15g of sugar – the equivalent to three teaspoons. You would need to eat four Fry’s Turkish Delights to get the same.’


Sugar: 8.3g per 20g bar

Tasty Little Numbers

Helen says: ‘This is basically a wafer coated in dark chocolate. It has 100 calories, which is only seven less than the KitKat. A 20g bar has about 25 per cent fat (5.1g), which is high. If you fancy eating this then feel free but don’t think it’s a healthier alternative. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants which can protect against heart disease. But why not have a couple of squares of dark chocolate, which are lower in calories’