There are dozens of “healthy” protein bars, granola bars, and snack bars available nowadays. But it can take time to sort through which ones are actually healthy. Today we’re looking at GoMacro bars.
GoMacro bars are made with healthy organic nuts and seeds, and most bars have 10 grams of protein or more. However, most flavors also have over 10 grams of added sugar, plus other high-glycemic ingredients. This makes GoMacro bars only moderately healthy, not completely.
Below, I’ll compare the sugar and protein content of GoMacro bars to competitors like Clif Bars and Kind Bars. I’ll also take a close look at the quality of the ingredients—and I’ll share a lower-sugar vegan protein bar I personally like more!
Are GoMacro Bars Good for You?
Here are the 7 main questions I’ll be answering about GoMacro bars. Click to skip to any section—or just keep reading below:
- What Are GoMacro Bars Made Of?
- Do GoMacro Bars Have a Lot of Sugar?
- How Much Protein Do GoMacro Bars Have?
- Are GoMacro Bars Good for Weight Loss?
- Are GoMacro Bars Vegan?
- Are GoMacro Bars Low FODMAP?
- Are GoMacro Bars Keto?
1. What Are GoMacro Bars Made Of?
Let’s start by looking at some GoMacro bar ingredients. Below you’ll find two flavors, but they are pretty similar. First, here’s one of their protein bars:
Peanut Butter GoMacro MacroBar Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Peanut Butter, Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Organic Peanut Butter Chips (Organic Peanut Flour, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter, Salt), Organic Puffed Brown Rice, Organic Peanuts.
And here’s one of their “snack bars”:
Granola + Coconut GoMacro MacroBar Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, Organic Unsweetened Coconut, Organic Walnuts, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Sunflower Seed Butter, Organic Puffed Brown Rice, Organic Protein Blend (Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Organic Pea Protein).
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- The first ingredient is brown rice syrup—which is basically sugar. Granted, it’s not as processed as something like high-fructose corn syrup… But personally, I don’t like this. I’ll discuss it more in the section on sugar below.
- More sugar and high-glycemic ingredients. In addition to the brown rice syrup, both of these bars have coconut sugar. They also have puffed brown rice, which is high glycemic. And I saw another flavor has dates, which are one of the highest-sugar fruits.
- Healthy nut and seed ingredients. Most flavors of GoMacro bars have nuts, seeds, and their butters. These include walnuts, peanuts, almond butter, and sunflower butter. Nuts are shown to increase longevity.
- Free of artificial sweeteners and colors. GoMacro bars don’t have artificial ingredients like Red 40 or sucralose. So that’s nice.
- All the ingredients are organic. Most conscious consumers would celebrate this. That said, in reality, organic food isn’t much healthier than conventional. So I wouldn’t celebrate it too much. (Plus, it’s not even clear if organic food is better for the environment.)
Overall, GoMacro ingredients are clearly made to appeal to the conscious consumer. They are organic, and there are no artificial sweeteners or colors. They are also free of the worst processed oils and sugars.
That said, the sweeteners and high-glycemic ingredients still make me a little wary… So let’s cover sugar next.
2. Do GoMacro Bars Have a Lot of Sugar?
GoMacro Bars have between 10 and 15 grams of total sugar per bar. Most of that is added sugar in the form of brown rice syrup. GoMacro bars have less sugar than Clif Bars but more sugar than Kind Bars.
On the GoMacro website, they have a page explaining why they consider brown rice syrup a “better sweetener.” They point out that it’s macrobiotic, organic, and free of heavy metals.
Personally, I’m still not thrilled about the sugar content of GoMacro bars. Here’s why:
- Brown rice syrup is processed sugar. Almost all the nutrients from the rice are removed. It’s processed food. And you can’t get around that by just saying it’s better than high-fructose corn syrup.
- All concentrated sugars can spike blood-glucose levels. I learned that lesson the hard way, when I realized why Larabars gave me acne. Personally, I’m a bit wary of all high-sugar bars.
If you want to look at GoMacro sugar content by flavor, here’s a table:
|GoMacro Bar Flavor||Total Sugar||Added Sugar|
|Lemon + Lemon||12g||11g|
|Double Chocolate + Peanut Butter Chips||14g||13g|
|Oatmeal Chocolate Chip||13g||12g|
|Maple Sea Salt||11g||11g|
|Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip||14g||12g|
|Coconut + Almond Butter + Chocolate Chips||12g||11g|
|Dark Chocolate + Almonds||13g||13g|
|Sunflower Butter + Chocolate||11g||11g|
|Banana + Almond Butter||12g||9g|
|Blueberry + Cashew Butter||12g||11g|
|Mocha Chocolate Chip||12g||12g|
|Cherries + Berries||15g||10g|
|Granola + Coconut||10g||9g|
How does these numbers compare to other bars?
- GoMacro Bars have less total sugar and less added sugar than Clif Bars. Clif Bars usually have around 17 to 21g of sugar per bar. (Clif Bars are sweetened with brown rice syrup, just like GoMacro Bars.)
- GoMacro Bars have less total sugar but more added sugar than most Larabar flavors. Larabars have 13g to 20g of total sugar per bar. However, most of the sugar in Larabars is natural sugar (dates), not added sugar. (See my full post on Larabar nutrition.)
- GoMacro Bars have more total sugar and more added sugar than Kind Bars. Kind Bars only have a surprisingly low 5g of sugar in many of their bars. (But most Kind Bars are not vegan.)
As you can see, GoMacro Bars are not the highest or the lowest when it comes to sugar. They have about what you might expect for a health-conscious snack bar.
- Do GoMacro Bars have added sugar? All GoMacro bars have added sugar in the form of brown rice syrup. Every flavor of full-size MacroBar has at least 9 grams of added sugar. The highest-sugar flavor has 13 grams of added sugar per bar.
- Which GoMacro Bar has the least sugar? The Granola + Coconut MacroBar has the least sugar of all full-size GoMacro Bars, with 10 grams of total sugar per bar. If you buy GoMacro Kids bars or Mini-Bars, the sugar per bar is lower yet, as the bars are smaller.
3. How Much Protein Do GoMacro Bars Have?
Most GoMacro bars have between 10 and 12 grams of protein. This is around double the protein of Larabars or Kind Bars. However, this is still only around half the protein of other protein bars like Clif’s Builder Bars.
On the whole, I would say GoMacro bars contain moderate protein. It usually comes from sources like brown rice protein, pea protein, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds.
Here’s a full table showing GoMacro protein content by flavor. Notice the two “snack bar” flavors at the bottom, which have far less protein:
|GoMacro Bar Flavor||Protein|
|Lemon + Lemon||10g|
|Double Chocolate + Peanut Butter Chips||11g|
|Oatmeal Chocolate Chip||12g|
|Maple Sea Salt||12g|
|Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip||11g|
|Coconut + Almond Butter + Chocolate Chips||11g|
|Dark Chocolate + Almonds||10g|
|Sunflower Butter + Chocolate||10g|
|Banana + Almond Butter||11g|
|Blueberry + Cashew Butter||10g|
|Mocha Chocolate Chip||10g|
|Cherries + Berries||4g|
|Granola + Coconut||6g|
Let’s see how these numbers compares to other bars:
- GoMacro Bars have around double the protein of Larabars. Most Larabars have 5 or 6 grams of protein.
- GoMacro Bars have around double the protein of Kind Bars. Most Kind Bars have 4 to 7 grams of protein.
- GoMacro Bars have slightly more protein than regular Clif Bars—but only about half the protein of Clif’s Builder Bars. Most Clif Bars have 9 or 10 grams of protein. However, their Builder Bars have around 20 grams.
- GoMacro Bars have around half the protein of No Cow Bars. No Cow Bars have around 20 grams of protein. (They’re a low-carb vegan protein bar—my personal favorite. Check them out on Amazon here.)
So, GoMacro bars have more protein than your average snack bar… But they still have far less protein than many proper “protein bars.” They’re in between “high protein” and “low protein,” really.
4. Are GoMacro Bars Good for Weight Loss?
GoMacro bars have several high-calorie ingredients, including nut butters, protein powder, and brown rice syrup. GoMacro bars can still be part of a weight loss diet, but portion control is important due to the calorie density.
GoMacro bars have about 250 to 290 calories each. So they are much more calorically dense than whole fruit, vegetables, beans, or whole grains.
If you want to feel full and satisfied while losing weight, you should generally fill your stomach with low-calorie whole foods that are high in fiber and water. GoMacro bars do not fit that criteria.
You can still lose weight while eating GoMacro bars, but you may need to count calories or limit portion sizes more. When you’re eating low-calorie whole plant foods, it’s a bit more effortless to lose weight.
I would recommend only having GoMacro bars as an occasionally treat if you’re trying to lose weight.
For more on weight loss without counting calories, read “18 Tips for Vegan Weight Loss Without Counting Calories.”
5. Are GoMacro Bars Vegan?
All GoMacro bars are certified vegan. They contain no dairy, egg, honey, or other animal ingredients. In fact, GoMacro bars are also certified R.A.W. and C.L.E.A.N., which are newer certifications that some conscious consumers may appreciate, as well.
6. Are GoMacro Bars Low FODMAP?
The following MacroBar flavors are all advertised as Low FODMAP by GoMacro:
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
- Coconut + Almond Butter + Chocolate Chips
- Dark Chocolate + Almonds
- Sunflower Butter + Chocolate
- Peanut Butter
- Banana + Almond Butter
- Mocha Chocolate Chip
- Granola + Coconut
- Plus a variety of Kids and Mini flavors found here.
That said, portion sizes may matter on your Low FODMAP diet.
7. Are GoMacro Bars Keto?
GoMarco bars are not keto-friendly. Most flavors of GoMacro MacroBars have 36 to 39 grams of total carbohydrates, including 10 to 15 grams of total sugar.
If you’re looking for a good keto-friendly vegan protein bar, I personally love the Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor of No Cow bars. You can get them on Amazon here.
Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey
1. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in 14 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).
2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet—the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.