{"id":604650537266,"title":"Are Clif Bars Healthy? An RD Answers","created_at":"2023-01-21T16:02:37-05:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Are Clif Bars Healthy? An RD Answers\",\n \"keywords\": \"are clif bars healthy, clif bar, clif bars, clif bar flavors, clif builder bars, clif bar nutrition, clif protein bars, clif bar nut butter, clif protein bar, clif bar ingredients, are clif bars good for you, clif bars nutrition, clif builders bar, clif energy bar, clif nut butter bars, clif bar class action\",\n \"description\": \"Our RD and research team review the ingredients in Clif Bars to give our take on whether they're healthy or not. We highlight two questionable additive ingredients, pick our healthiest Clif Bar flavors and explain why the brand was sued for false advertising.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/are-clif-bars-healthy\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"DJ Mazzoni\",\n \"honorificSuffix\": [\n \"M.S.\",\n \"R.D.\",\n \"C.D.N.\",\n \"C.S.C.S.\"\n ],\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/dj-mazzoni\",\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/dj-mazzoni-rd-cdn-cscs-00a33038\/\",\n \"http:\/\/djmazzoni.com\/\"\n ],\n \"jobTitle\": \"Medical Reviewer\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"exercise, drugs, pharmaceutical, health, workout, strength and conditioning, nutrition, dietetics, medicine, medical research, scientific research, scientific method, healthcare, patient care, wellness\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"State University of New York College Oswego\",\n \"D’Youville College\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Are_Clif_Bars_Healthy_Thumbnail.png?v=1674335203\",\n\"width\": \"2782\",\n\"height\": \"2782\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8625765\/\", \n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29704862\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/keto-chow-review\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3620743\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31246081\/\",\n\"https:\/\/topclassactions.com\/lawsuit-settlements\/consumer-products\/food\/clif-bar-agrees-to-10-5m-lawsuit-settlement-to-resolve-false-advertising-claims\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.foodbusinessnews.net\/articles\/21136-clif-kind-settle-dispute-over-energy-bar-claims\",\n\"https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/jn\/article-abstract\/152\/2\/458\/6498524\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"oats\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"fiber\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"protein\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"citric acid\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"natural flavors\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"added sugar\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"Nut Butter\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"Top Class Actions\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"National Advertising Division\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"Healthy Emmie\"\n }\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2023-01-21\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"memberOf\": [\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"U.S. Chamber of Commerce\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.uschamber.com\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Certified B Corp\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.bcorporation.net\/en-us\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Natural Products Association\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.npanational.org\/\"\n }\n ], \n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Favicon_48x48_7595c3cc-e27b-47b8-a4fe-edcc7ed9b29a.png?v=1666502785\", \n \"width\": 48,\n \"height\": 48\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Are_Clif_Bars_Healthy_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1674334797\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eC\u003c\/span\u003elif Bars are one of the most popular protein bar brands on the market. The company describes their bars as “performance nutrition” made with “nutritious, sustainable ingredients.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eBut are Clif Bars actually healthy, or are these just marketing claims? Do they contain any questionable additive ingredients like preservatives? How are they sweetened? And are there healthier alternatives on the market?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review the ingredients in Clif Bars based on medical research to give our take on whether or not they’re actually healthy. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe’ll also give our recommendation for the healthiest flavors of Clif Bar, explain why the brand was sued for false advertising, and share a nutritionist’s review of Clif Bar compared to other healthy protein bars.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eIngredient Analysis\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Clif_Bar_Blueberry_Almond_Crisp_Ingredients_Optimized.png?v=1674334817\" alt=\"Clif Bar Blueberry Almond Crisp flavor ingredients\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe ingredients shown above are from the Blueberry Almond Crisp flavor of Clif Bar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe’ll start with the healthy elements. The majority of ingredients in Clif Bars are whole foods.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOats\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e are nutritious, high in fiber and may even be effective for preventing diseases like atherosclerosis and some types of cancer according to a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC8625765\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFoods\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eBlueberries\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eapple juice concentrate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e are fruit-based ingredients providing antioxidants and high levels of minerals. Clif Bar contains 15% of the Daily Value (DV)  of magnesium according to the Nutrition Facts label.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eClif Bars provide 5 grams (g) of fiber and 11 g of protein, both of which may support weight loss in overweight and obese individuals according to a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/29704862\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNutrition\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal. Both fiber and protein increase satiation, and also provide fuel for the body during athletic training which makes Clif Bars a good option for athletes.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile there are some healthy, whole foods ingredients, there are also a few questionable additive ingredients that health-conscious consumers may wish to avoid.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eCitric acid\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is a preservative and flavor enhancer. As we documented in our \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/keto-chow-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eKeto Chow reviews\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e article, this ingredient has been clinically shown to cause whole-body inflammation in a small subset of individuals.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eNatural flavors\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is a broad categorical term that fails to describe the specific flavoring agents used, and a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3620743\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eEnvironmental Health Perspectives\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal documented some toxicity concerns regarding some natural flavoring agents and their metabolites. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eClif Bars also contain 15 g of \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eadded sugar\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. While this can help fuel athletes during a hike or any other activity, it may not be a healthy option for the average, sedentary American. We know from \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/31246081\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical research\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that excessive added sugar intake is associated with increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and 15 g is a relatively high amount (30% of the DV).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOverall we consider Clif Bars to be somewhat healthy, but we do not recommend them due to the inclusion of citric acid, natural flavors and would not recommend them to non-athletes due to the 15 g of added sugar per bar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eWhich Clif Bar Flavors are the Healthiest?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe do consider some flavors of Clif Bar to be healthier than others.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe Oatmeal Raisin Walnut flavor is free of citric acid and has less added sugar (14 g).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe Peanut Butter Banana With Dark Chocolate flavor is also free of citric acid and only contains 14 g of added sugar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eWe consider the Nut Butter line of Clif Bars to be healthier than the regular line.\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAll Clif Bar Nut Butter products are free of citric acid and contain less added sugar than regular Clif Bars (around 7 g per bar on average).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eClif Bar Sued Over Health Claims\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eClif Bar settled a class-action lawsuit in 2022 for over $10 million, \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/topclassactions.com\/lawsuit-settlements\/consumer-products\/food\/clif-bar-agrees-to-10-5m-lawsuit-settlement-to-resolve-false-advertising-claims\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eaccording to\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e Top Class Actions.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe plaintiffs alleged that Clif Bar was engaged in false advertising because the brand was marketing their products as healthy while they contained a significant amount of added sugar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eClif Bar also discontinued use of the marketing phrase “the ultimate energy bar,” after the National Advertising Division required that claim to be supported by evidence. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.foodbusinessnews.net\/articles\/21136-clif-kind-settle-dispute-over-energy-bar-claims\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAccording to\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e Food Business News, Clif provided no comparative information on competitor energy bars proving theirs to be superior nutritionally.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThese legal issues don’t affect the healthiness of Clif Bar moving forward, but in our opinion they support our arguments about the relative healthiness of Clif Bars.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eClif Bar vs. Other Healthy Protein Bars\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA nutritionist with a YouTube channel called “Healthy Emmie” published a video ranking healthy protein bars. She reviews Clif Bar, Clif Builder’s Protein, Larabar, Trail Nuggets and GoMacro. The video has over 60,000 views:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe width=\"560\" height=\"315\" src=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/6ouRymOOOxA\" title=\"YouTube video player\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share\" allowfullscreen=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eOur Clean Protein Bar Recommendation\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Protein_Bar_Image.png?v=1674334886\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOur clean protein bar recommendation is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca rel=\"sponsored\" href=\"https:\/\/shareasale.com\/r.cfm?b=1986732\u0026amp;u=3153363\u0026amp;m=123297\u0026amp;urllink=www%2Esteponefoods%2Ecom%2Fcollections%2Fsnacks%2Fproducts%2Fdark%2Dchocolate%2Dpb%2Dcluster\u0026amp;afftrack=\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eStep One Foods Peanut Butter Bar\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNot only is this product entirely free of questionable additive ingredients, it’s been shown in a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/academic.oup.com\/jn\/article-abstract\/152\/2\/458\/6498524\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe Journal of Nutrition\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to have favorable effects on cholesterol, making it a “functional food.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eAfter 12 weeks of consuming Step One Foods, individuals experienced a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels of 8.80%, a reduction in total cholesterol levels of 5%, and an increase in HDL cholesterol levels of 1%.\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis is likely due to the fiber content and the whole food ingredients rich in phytonutrients like bittersweet chocolate, chia seeds and Saskatoon berries.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eInterested consumers can check out Step One Foods Peanut Butter Bar \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca rel=\"sponsored\" href=\"https:\/\/shareasale.com\/r.cfm?b=1986732\u0026amp;u=3153363\u0026amp;m=123297\u0026amp;urllink=www%2Esteponefoods%2Ecom%2Fcollections%2Fsnacks%2Fproducts%2Fdark%2Dchocolate%2Dpb%2Dcluster\u0026amp;afftrack=\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eat this link\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to the product page on the official brand website.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eClif Bars are likely healthier than the average protein bar, but in our opinion they aren’t particularly healthy and we don’t recommend them. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile Clif Bars do provide a decent amount of fiber, protein and whole foods, they also contain flavoring agents, citric acid (in some bars) and a relatively high amount of added sugar. The added sugar may be useful for performance athletes but is probably not the healthiest choice for the average, sedentary American.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOatmeal Raisin Walnut and Peanut Butter Banana are the healthiest flavors of the original Clif Bar line in our opinion, because they’re free of citric acid and contain lower levels of added sugar. Clif Bar Nut Butter is a healthier product line than regular Clif Bars due to the reduced added sugar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eClif Bar settled a lawsuit over false advertising about the healthiness of their products which alleged that the products were not healthy because of all of the added sugar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2023-01-21T16:11:15-05:00","updated_at":"2023-01-21T16:11:15-05:00","summary_html":"We review the ingredients in Clif Bars to give our take on whether they're healthy or not. We highlight two questionable additive ingredients, pick our healthiest Clif Bar flavors and explain why the brand was sued for false advertising.","template_suffix":"","handle":"are-clif-bars-healthy","tags":"_related:nutrition, _related:protein"}

Are Clif Bars Healthy? An RD Answers

Are Clif Bars Healthy? An RD Answers


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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Clif Bars are one of the most popular protein bar brands on the market. The company describes their bars as “performance nutrition” made with “nutritious, sustainable ingredients.”

But are Clif Bars actually healthy, or are these just marketing claims? Do they contain any questionable additive ingredients like preservatives? How are they sweetened? And are there healthier alternatives on the market?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review the ingredients in Clif Bars based on medical research to give our take on whether or not they’re actually healthy. 

We’ll also give our recommendation for the healthiest flavors of Clif Bar, explain why the brand was sued for false advertising, and share a nutritionist’s review of Clif Bar compared to other healthy protein bars.

Ingredient Analysis

Clif Bar Blueberry Almond Crisp flavor ingredients

The ingredients shown above are from the Blueberry Almond Crisp flavor of Clif Bar.

We’ll start with the healthy elements. The majority of ingredients in Clif Bars are whole foods.

Oats are nutritious, high in fiber and may even be effective for preventing diseases like atherosclerosis and some types of cancer according to a medical review published in the Foods journal.

Blueberries and apple juice concentrate are fruit-based ingredients providing antioxidants and high levels of minerals. Clif Bar contains 15% of the Daily Value (DV)  of magnesium according to the Nutrition Facts label.

Clif Bars provide 5 grams (g) of fiber and 11 g of protein, both of which may support weight loss in overweight and obese individuals according to a clinical trial published in the Nutrition journal. Both fiber and protein increase satiation, and also provide fuel for the body during athletic training which makes Clif Bars a good option for athletes.

While there are some healthy, whole foods ingredients, there are also a few questionable additive ingredients that health-conscious consumers may wish to avoid.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer. As we documented in our Keto Chow reviews article, this ingredient has been clinically shown to cause whole-body inflammation in a small subset of individuals.

Natural flavors is a broad categorical term that fails to describe the specific flavoring agents used, and a medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal documented some toxicity concerns regarding some natural flavoring agents and their metabolites. 

Clif Bars also contain 15 g of added sugar. While this can help fuel athletes during a hike or any other activity, it may not be a healthy option for the average, sedentary American. We know from medical research that excessive added sugar intake is associated with increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and 15 g is a relatively high amount (30% of the DV).

Overall we consider Clif Bars to be somewhat healthy, but we do not recommend them due to the inclusion of citric acid, natural flavors and would not recommend them to non-athletes due to the 15 g of added sugar per bar.

Which Clif Bar Flavors are the Healthiest?

We do consider some flavors of Clif Bar to be healthier than others.

The Oatmeal Raisin Walnut flavor is free of citric acid and has less added sugar (14 g).

The Peanut Butter Banana With Dark Chocolate flavor is also free of citric acid and only contains 14 g of added sugar.

We consider the Nut Butter line of Clif Bars to be healthier than the regular line.

All Clif Bar Nut Butter products are free of citric acid and contain less added sugar than regular Clif Bars (around 7 g per bar on average).

Clif Bar Sued Over Health Claims

Clif Bar settled a class-action lawsuit in 2022 for over $10 million, according to Top Class Actions.

The plaintiffs alleged that Clif Bar was engaged in false advertising because the brand was marketing their products as healthy while they contained a significant amount of added sugar.

Clif Bar also discontinued use of the marketing phrase “the ultimate energy bar,” after the National Advertising Division required that claim to be supported by evidence. According to Food Business News, Clif provided no comparative information on competitor energy bars proving theirs to be superior nutritionally.

These legal issues don’t affect the healthiness of Clif Bar moving forward, but in our opinion they support our arguments about the relative healthiness of Clif Bars.

Clif Bar vs. Other Healthy Protein Bars

A nutritionist with a YouTube channel called “Healthy Emmie” published a video ranking healthy protein bars. She reviews Clif Bar, Clif Builder’s Protein, Larabar, Trail Nuggets and GoMacro. The video has over 60,000 views:

Our Clean Protein Bar Recommendation

Our clean protein bar recommendation is Step One Foods Peanut Butter Bar.

Not only is this product entirely free of questionable additive ingredients, it’s been shown in a clinical trial published in The Journal of Nutrition to have favorable effects on cholesterol, making it a “functional food.”

After 12 weeks of consuming Step One Foods, individuals experienced a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels of 8.80%, a reduction in total cholesterol levels of 5%, and an increase in HDL cholesterol levels of 1%.

This is likely due to the fiber content and the whole food ingredients rich in phytonutrients like bittersweet chocolate, chia seeds and Saskatoon berries.

Interested consumers can check out Step One Foods Peanut Butter Bar at this link to the product page on the official brand website.

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Conclusion

Clif Bars are likely healthier than the average protein bar, but in our opinion they aren’t particularly healthy and we don’t recommend them. 

While Clif Bars do provide a decent amount of fiber, protein and whole foods, they also contain flavoring agents, citric acid (in some bars) and a relatively high amount of added sugar. The added sugar may be useful for performance athletes but is probably not the healthiest choice for the average, sedentary American.

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut and Peanut Butter Banana are the healthiest flavors of the original Clif Bar line in our opinion, because they’re free of citric acid and contain lower levels of added sugar. Clif Bar Nut Butter is a healthier product line than regular Clif Bars due to the reduced added sugar.

Clif Bar settled a lawsuit over false advertising about the healthiness of their products which alleged that the products were not healthy because of all of the added sugar.




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