If you become tired and have difficulty focusing between meals, consider eating a snack to boost your energy levels. Granola bars and energy bars are small, portable snacks that give you fuel during the day. No clear criteria define the differences between granola bars and energy bars. Some energy bars contain granola, and granola bars can be excellent sources of energy during the day. Energy bars sometimes contain higher levels of protein, vitamins and minerals than granola bars. The major nutritional differences between energy bars and granola bars depends on the brand you choose.
Sources of Energy
Energy bar manufacturers often claim their products improve physical performance or boost mental alertness. The sources of energy from an energy bar are the same as from any other food product: fats, protein and carbohydrates. Nutrition experts measure the amount of energy found in a food by calculating its calorie content. Both energy bars and granola bars contain nutrients that boost your calorie intake, giving your body energy.
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The ingredients of energy bars and granola bars often overlap. In general, the primary ingredient in granola bars is a granola made from rolled oats, puffed rice or other grains. Some energy bars contain rice crisps, rolled oats and toasted oats. Sugar syrups, oils, fruit pastes and other sticky materials hold the grains together in a bar form.
One primary difference between granola bars and energy bars is their protein levels. Regular granola bars contain approximately 1 g of protein per bar. Energy bars, on the other hand, may contain 10 to 20 g of protein per serving. Common sources of energy bar protein include gelatin, collagen, milk, soy or eggs. Some energy bars also contain nuts or seeds that boost their protein content.
Vitamins and Minerals
Many energy bar manufacturers claim their products provide your body with important nutrients needed to boost your energy levels. Some energy bars are fortified with vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins and zinc. Plain granola bars sometimes contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals but may not be fortified with extra nutrients. In general, getting important nutrients from energy and granola bars is not as healthy as eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Many of the nutritional differences between granola bars and energy bars depend on the manufacturer. Energy bars tend to contain relatively high protein levels. Granola bars, on the other hand, tend to be lower in calories and protein. Products may also differ in size, which affects nutrient content per serving. Carefully check the nutritional labels of energy bars and granola bars to determine their nutrient content before purchasing.