Are Larabars Healthy? Here’s What I Didn’t Realize at First

I used to eat Larabars all the time. I’d buy them at airports and gas stations often. I loved their simple ingredients and how most flavors don’t have processed oil, sugar, or flour. But are they actually as healthy as they look at first glance?

Larabars are indeed healthier than most snack bars. They don’t have the syrups, flours, and artificial sweeteners of other bars. However, they are still high in calories and total sugar, due to being made from dates (one of the highest-sugar fruits) and nuts.

Below, I’ll explain why I personally quit eating Larabars in the last year. I’ll also break down all the different Larabar flavors and share which are the most and least healthy.

What Are Larabars?

3 unwrapped Larabars.

Larabars are snack bars made primarily from dates, nuts, and other fruit and seasonings.

They’re commonly used as a snack on-the-go bar, especially good for things like hiking. All Larabars are vegan and dairy-free.

One of the distinguishing features of Larabars is how they only have a few ingredients. The simplest Larabar flavor, Cashew Cookie, is made of only 2 ingredients: Cashews and dates!

Many Larabar flavors also qualify as being whole food plant based (WFPB), as they contain no processed sugar, oil, or flour. However, this does not apply to every Larabar flavor, as discussed below.

Are Larabars Good for You?

Overall, Larabars are pretty good for you. Compared to most snack bars on the market, the ingredients for Larabars are more whole-food based, less processed.

However, the total calories and sugar content are still concerns for some people. Larabars have between 13g and 20g of total sugar per bar, and around 200 calories.

Below, I’ll go into a lot more detail about which Larabars have the most and least sugar… I’ll also look at the saturated fat in each Larabar flavor (two flavors have double what’s found in the other flavors). And I’ll look at salt and sodium, too.

But first, let’s address why Larabars are not the perfect food for weight loss.

Are Larabars Good for Weight Loss?

Larabars can be part of a healthy weight loss regimen… But they’re quite calorie-dense, being made primarily from dates (one of the highest-sugar fruits) and nuts. So you need to be careful of overeating.

Most of the ingredients used in Larabars are healthy, but they are some of the more high-calorie healthy foods. For example, nuts are very calorically dense. This is because fat contains 9 calories per gram, compared to only 4 calories per gram of protein or carbs.

Bananas are larger than Larabars but contain fewer calories.

Here’s a thought experiment to help you understand why Larabars are not the best for weight loss: First, if you’re familiar with the size of Larabars, just picture one in your head.

Now ask yourself: Is that Larabar bigger or smaller than a banana? Well, it’s clearly smaller. Maybe only about half the size, when you consider the whole girth of a banana.

But which one has more calories, the banana or the Larabar? Well, if you look it up, the Larabar has almost twice as many calories!

So you see: The Larabar has more calories, despite taking up much less volume. And if you repeat this series of question with more juicy fruits, the answer will be even clearer and more pronounced.

My point is that Larabars have quite a bit of calories for the amount of space they fill in your stomach. They are quite calorically dense. And caloric density is one of the key concepts you should understand if you want to lose weight without counting calories.

Anyway, here’s the takeaway: Larabars should probably not be a big focus in a diet focused on weight loss. You can lose weight while eating Larabars, but you’d likely lose weight more easily if you focus on juicy fruits and vegetables for your snacks.

Now let’s move onto this issue of sugar in Larabars specifically.

Do Larabars Have Added Sugar?

Nine Larabar flavors have added sugar. The other twenty-one flavors do not contain added sugar. However, all Larabars contain a significant amount of total sugar from fruit, mostly dates.

In most cases, the added sugar comes from chocolate chips. So it’s mainly these chocolatey flavors that have added sugar.

Here are all the Larabars with added sugar (and the amount per bar):

  • Almond Butter Chocolate Chip (4g)
  • Banana Chocolate Chip (3g)
  • Chocolate Chip Brownie (4g)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (3g)
  • Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl (3g)
  • Coconut Chocolate Chip (4g)
  • Mint Chip Brownie (4g)
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (4g)
  • Strawberry Chocolate Chip (3g)

And here is the full list of Larabar flavors without added sugar:

  • Almond Cookie
  • Apple Pie
  • Banana Bread
  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Carrot Cake
  • Cashew Cookie
  • Cherry Pie
  • Chocolate Coconut Chew
  • Cinnamon Raisin Cookie
  • Cinnamon Roll
  • Coconut Cream Pie
  • Gingerbread
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Lemon Bar
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Peanut Butter Banana
  • Peanut Butter Cookie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Snickerdoodle

Larabar Flavors With the Lowest Total Sugars

Although processed sugars may be worse for us, consuming a lot of high-sugar fruit like dates can also spike your blood sugar levels and cause problems for many people.

For example, I personally found that high-sugar fruits like dates and bananas were giving me acne. And so did Larabars! So I stopped eating them. Sad, really.

Other people may be concerned about the sugar content of Larabars because of other health issues, like diabetes or just weight control.

Whatever your reason for worrying about the sugar content of Larabars, they range from 13g to 20g of total sugars per bar. Here are the lowest sugar Larabars:

  1. Almond Cookie (13g)
  2. Cashew Cookie (15g)
  3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (15g)
  4. Almond Butter Chocolate Chip (16g)
  5. Chocolate Coconut Chew (16g)
  6. Lemon Bar (16g)
  7. Peanut Butter Banana (16g)
  8. Pecan Pie (16g)

So, we see the clear winner for lowest-sugar Larabar is Almond Cookie.

Larabar Flavors and Saturated Fat

When it comes to unhealthy fat and oil ingredients, Larabars are pretty good. They don’t include vegetable oils that are high in inflammatory omega-6 fats. And they don’t contain noticeable amounts of trans fat.

Most of the fat in Larabars comes from whole foods, like nuts and coconut. That said, some bars contain coconut oil or cocoa butter—and some people might still worry about the total amount of saturated fat.

Although there is some controversy on the topic, saturated fat is generally understood to raise cholesterol levels (source). Since LDL cholesterol are a heart disease risk factor, many health authorities recommend limiting your saturated fat intake.

Coconuts contribute saturated fat to a few flavors of Larabars.

One of the main plant sources of saturated fat is coconuts and coconut oil. Although some people regard coconut oil as a health food or superfood, there is some data showing that coconut oil does raise LDL cholesterol, potentially contributing to heart disease.

So you may be interested in limiting the amount of saturated fat you get from Larabars. If so, here are the two flavors highest in saturated fat to avoid:

  • Coconut Cream Pie (7g saturated fat)
  • Coconut Chocolate Chip (6g saturated fat)

All the other Larabar flavors have considerably less saturated fat, with only 0.5 grams to 2.5 grams each. That small amount of saturated fat is to be expected, as these bars do contain nuts.

Here are the three Larabar flavors lowest in saturated fat:

  • Cherry Pie (0.5g)
  • Cinnamon Raisin Cookie (0.5g)
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake (0.5g)

Salt-Free Larabar Flavors

Another factor you can use to judge whether food is “healthy” is the salt or sodium content.

A diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Larabars are honestly not that bad when it comes to salt. The saltiest Larabars still only have 90mg of sodium per bar. And many are lower than that. (See the full list below.)

But just in case you’re trying to avoid salt entirely, here are the Larabars with no salt added:

  • Apple Pie
  • Banana Bread
  • Banana Chocolate Chip
  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Carrot Cake
  • Cashew Cookie
  • Cherry Pie
  • Chocolate Coconut Chew
  • Cinnamon Raisin Cookie
  • Coconut Chocolate Chip
  • Coconut Cream Pie
  • Gingerbread
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Lemon Bar
  • Mint Chip Brownie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake
  • Pumpkin Pie

The Healthiest Larabar Flavor

I’d say the healthiest Larabar flavor is Almond Cookie. Why? It has the lowest amount of total sugars, at only 13 grams per bar. It also has no added sugar and only 1 gram of saturated fat. Although it does contain sea salt, the total sodium is only 65mg per bar.

Here are five good runner-ups for healthiest overall Larabar flavors:

  • Cashew Cookie
  • Chocolate Coconut Chew
  • Lemon Bar
  • Peanut Butter Banana
  • Pecan Pie

Those five flavors all fit the following criteria: No added sugar, less than 3 grams of saturated fat, and 16 grams or less of total sugar. Plus, all of them are salt-free except for Peanut Butter Banana.

The healthiest Larabar with chocolate would clearly be the Chocolate Coconut Chew. This is because the chocolate comes solely from unsweetened cocoa powder—not chocolate chips with sugar, as is the case in most other chocolate Larabars.

Nutrition Info for All Larabar Flavors

Here are the quick nutrition stats on each Larabar flavor, in case you want to dig into more of the specific data. These numbers were collected from the Larabar website.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip:

  • 16g Total Sugars
  • 4g Added Sugars
  • 2.5g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 70mg sodium

Almond Cookie:

  • 13g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 65mg sodium

Apple Pie:

  • 18g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Banana Bread:

  • 17g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Banana Chocolate Chip:

  • 20g Total Sugars
  • 3g Added Sugars
  • 2g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Blueberry Muffin:

  • 17g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 2g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Carrot Cake:

  • 19g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Cashew Cookie:

  • 15g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 2.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Cherry Pie:

  • 20g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 0.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Chocolate Chip Brownie:

  • 20g Total Sugars
  • 4g Added Sugars
  • 2g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 30mg sodium

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:

  • 15g Total Sugars
  • 3g Added Sugars
  • 3g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 55mg sodium

Chocolate Coconut Chew:

  • 16g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 2g Saturated Fat
  • No salt.

Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl:

  • 17g Total Sugars
  • 3g Added Sugars
  • 2g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 90mg sodium.

Cinnamon Raisin Cookie:

  • 20g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 0.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Cinnamon Roll:

  • 18g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 30mg

Coconut Chocolate Chip:

  • 20g Total Sugars
  • 4g Added Sugars
  • 6g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Coconut Cream Pie:

  • 20g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 7g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Gingerbread:

  • 18g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Key Lime Pie:

  • 18g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 3g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Lemon Bar:

  • 16g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Mint Chip Brownie:

  • 19g Total Sugars
  • 4g Added Sugars
  • 2.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Peanut Butter & Jelly:

  • 18g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 2g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 65mg sodium

Peanut Butter Banana:

  • 16g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1.5g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 65mg sodium

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip:

  • 17g Total Sugars
  • 4g Added Sugars
  • 3g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 65mg sodium

Peanut Butter Cookie:

  • 17g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 2g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 85mg sodium

Pecan Pie:

  • 16g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Pineapple Upside Down Cake:

  • 20g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 0.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Pumpkin Pie:

  • 17g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1.5g Saturated Fat
  • No salt

Snickerdoodle:

  • 17g Total Sugars
  • 0g Added Sugars
  • 1.5g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 30mg sodium

Strawberry Chocolate Chip:

  • 18g Total Sugars
  • 3g Added Sugars
  • 2g Saturated Fat
  • Has sea salt: 90mg sodium

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