Fitness On Trial – Clif Bars

I am constantly on the lookout for low calorie, high energy snacks to eat either pre or post workout. If I’m heading to the gym straight from work I like to have an energy snack, or a banana, about an hour before I leave otherwise I can feel quite sluggish at times and I don’t want low sugar levels to affect my training.

First up to be tested are Clif Bars*.


So what’s so good about them? From the website, they boast that they’re a decent source of fibre and protein, made from wholesome, naturally-sourced ingredients and don’t scrimp on flavour. The website states:

Whether you’re on a 150-mile bike ride or exploring a new trail, this energy bar is built to sustain your adventure.

I’m not sure if my spin class stretches to 150 miles (who am I kidding) nor do I think my (max) seven mile run equates to a new trail, but never the less, I’ll give them a try.

In terms of what’s in them, nutritional information is as follows (per bar)

Energy (KJ/Kcal): 1041/ 247

Fat: 5g

Of which saturates: 0.5g

Carbs: 38g

Of which sugars: 21g

Fibre: 5g

Protein: 10g

Salt: 0.45g

They also include Vits A, D, E and C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and B12, Calcium and Magnesium.

Looking at the ingredients, I’ve highlighted a couple of problem areas, and  I’m not going to beat around the bush with them – they’re high in sugars and, considering the alternatives on the market, they’re high in calories. Regardless of if it’s naturally source, 30g of sugar is the daily recommend allowance in adults and that’s your full amount almost gone in one sitting. If you look closely, the first ingredient listed on the packet is Organic Brown Rice Syrup and, whether it’s organic or not, it’s pure sugar.

However, these bars are positioned as energy bars for athletes, people who are doing 159 mile bike rides or marathons etc, and that is, unfortunately, where I think the Clif Bars should remain. Unless you’re doing a damn decent amount of hardcore exercise, chances are you’re not going to work off enough energy to justify the sugar intake.


They do taste ok, though. Not great, but ok. They’ve got the look and the consistency of a flapjack, but I found them very chalky and, although they say they’re full of flavour, it’s nothing something I would look forward to eating.

The strangest thing, though, was what happened about an hour after eating the product. I ate the Clif Blueberry Crisp bar at 4:30pm, approximately an hour and a half before I went to the gym. At 5:30pm, when I finished work, I started to feel a bit strange, very lightheaded and a bit spacey. I put it down to leaving a warm office and power walking in the cold, but it didn’t pass, in fact, it continued to get worse. Lightheadedness turned into dizziness, which is dangerous as I was driving, I started to overheat, and felt faint. I managed to get myself to the gym, parked and drank a load of water and had a couple of crackers that I had in my bag. I wasn’t panicking, because I had experienced this all previously when I wasn’t following a low sugar diet. This, is what happens when I have too much sugar. When it comes to foods I should and shouldn’t eat, my body reacts and, thankfully, I know what products I should avoid. Unfortunately, this product is definitely one of them and I would not recommend to anyone who follows a low sugar diet.

I’ve contacted the company to see if this has happened to anyone before, but am yet to hear back from them. When I do I’ll update this post.

I know this sounds like a negative review, but I really don’t mean it to be because I don’t think I’m the correct demographic for it. What they offer is, I’m sure, ideal for athletes that are going above and beyond on a daily basis, but for people like me, who runs, does a lot of spin and weights, I can’t afford the sugar and calorie intake one bar offers, not when my protein shake offers a higher amount of protein in a third of the calories, and it tastes better.

To round this off, I’m sorry, Clif Bars, but you’re not for me.

Thanks for reading,

S x

Products marked with an * have been sent to me for review, however any views or opinions are 100% my own

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