Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Are RXBARs Bad For You?



Short answer

RXBARs are a convenient protein and fiber source, without artificial additives. They're best as snacks, not meal replacements, due to their moderate calorie count and focus on proteins from egg whites and nuts. Despite the natural sugars from fruit, mindful consumption is advised, especially for those with nut or egg allergies.



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Long answer

Nutritional Profile: Understanding RXBAR Ingredients

The core appeal of RXBARs lies in their minimalistic and seemingly straightforward list of ingredients, often boldly displayed on the packaging. Understanding the nutritional content of these ingredients is crucial when evaluating whether RXBARs are a beneficial addition to your diet. Each ingredient plays a distinct role in the bar's overall nutritional profile, which is designed to support a clean eating lifestyle.

Key Ingredients:

  • Dates: Dates provide natural sweetness without the addition of refined sugars. They are high in fiber, which aids in digestion, and they are a source of essential nutrients such as potassium.
  • Egg Whites: A source of high-quality protein, egg whites contribute to the muscle-building benefits of the bars. The protein in egg whites is complete, containing all nine essential amino acids necessary for human health.
  • Nuts (Such as Almonds and Cashews): Nuts add texture and flavor, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, and other beneficial minerals.
  • Chocolate: When present, chocolate provides antioxidants and might contribute to the satisfying taste of the bar. It's essential to note that the form of chocolate used can vary, with some forms containing added sugars or dairy.
  • Berries (Such as Blueberries or Raspberries): Berries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fibers. They contribute to the natural sweetness of the bars and add to their nutritional value.
  • Sea Salt: Sea salt is used sparingly for flavor enhancement. It also provides trace minerals, though in minimal amounts.

Nutrient Breakdown:

Nutrient Typical Amount per Bar
Calories 210-220
Total Fat 9-10g
Saturated Fat 1-2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 240-320mg
Total Carbohydrates 23-25g
Dietary Fiber 3-4g
Total Sugars 13-15g
Protein 12g

It's important to highlight that the natural sugars in RXBARs are primarily derived from dates and other fruits used in their composition. However, consumers watching their sugar intake should still consider these bars' sugar content. On the plus side, the high protein content provided by the egg whites can be beneficial for muscle repair and satiety.

Published research, such as the studies found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicates that diets including nuts and minimally processed ingredients align with increased diet quality and improved nutrient intake. RXBARs' focus on whole food ingredients fits this concept, but it is also crucial to factor in individual dietary needs, allergies — especially to nuts and eggs — and specific health goals when incorporating these bars into your diet.

In summary, RXBARs offer a compact and convenient source of protein and fiber with the added benefit of being free from artificial additives. The nutritional advantages must be weighed against the natural sugar content and potential allergens, making them a more suitable choice for some consumers than others.

Added Sugars vs. Natural Sweeteners in RXBAR

Nutrition-conscious consumers are often concerned about the types of sweeteners used in their foods. RXBARs, known for their clean, straightforward ingredient lists, commonly feature natural sweeteners. These are derived from foods such as dates and fruits, rather than added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup or table sugar. This distinction is critical when evaluating the health impact of these popular protein bars.

Added sugars, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), can contribute to various health problems when consumed in excess. These issues include an increased risk for heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The AHA recommends a daily limit of no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar for women, and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) for men. RXBARs sidestep this issue by using ingredients like dates, which provide natural sweetness along with fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants.

The nutritional profile of dates, for instance, includes fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. This nutrient plays a role in slowing digestion and preventing the drastic spikes in blood sugar that added sugars might cause. The fiber and natural fruit content in RXBARs can also contribute to a feeling of fullness, which can aid in weight management through reduced snacking and overeating.

While natural sweeteners are generally considered a healthier option, consumers should still be mindful of their overall sugar intake. RXBARs' reliance on dates and other natural sources means that while they do not contain added sugars, they are not sugar-free. It is essential to consider the total sugar content of the RXBAR flavor in question when determining its place within one's dietary patterns.

Here's a comparison of the sugar content in a standard RXBAR compared to a bar with added sugars:

Bar Type Total Sugar Added Sugar Fiber
Standard RXBAR (e.g., Chocolate Sea Salt) 13g 0g 5g
Protein Bar with Added Sugars (e.g., Generic Chocolate Peanut Butter) 20g 8g 2g

This comparison underscores the benefit of choosing bars like RXBARs that contain naturally occurring sugars from fruit, along with beneficial fiber. The absence of added sugars aligns with the guidelines aiming to reduce the risks associated with high sugar consumption. Nevertheless, consumers should monitor their total daily sugar intake from all sources, including naturally sweetened products, to maintain optimal health.

Individuals with specific dietary restrictions or sugar sensitivities should consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to incorporate RXBARs into their diet appropriately. Personal tolerance to sugar, even from natural sources, can vary significantly and should be a consideration in dietary planning.

In summary, the use of natural sweeteners in RXBARs can provide a preferable alternative to added sugars, but like all foods, they should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Paying attention to the body's responses and health objectives is key when deciding to include RXBARs as a regular snack option.

Protein Quality and Sources in RXBAR

Understanding the protein quality and sources in RXBARs is crucial for determining their nutritional value and potential impact on health. RXBARs prominently feature high-quality proteins, mainly derived from egg whites and nuts, which are both considered excellent sources of complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids required by the human body.

One of the key benefits of egg white protein is its high biological value (BV), meaning the body can efficiently absorb and utilize it. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), egg whites score a BV of 100, which serves as a reference standard. This makes RXBARs an ideal snack for muscle repair and maintenance, especially after workouts. Moreover, egg whites are low in fat and free from cholesterol, aligning with dietary guidelines for cardiovascular health.

Alongside egg whites, nuts such as almonds and cashews are incorporated into RXBARs. While nuts are typically known for their healthy fat content, they are also a significant source of plant protein. Besides protein, The American Heart Association acknowledges nuts for their fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants content, contributing to general heart health and satiety. The inclusion of nuts adds to the wholesome nature of RXBARs, providing a balanced macronutrient profile.

It's essential to consider the completeness of protein sources in any food product. Complete proteins offer all essential amino acids in ratios that closely match the body's needs. RXBARs address this by blending multiple protein sources, thereby enhancing the overall amino acid profile of the bars. The combination of both animal (egg whites) and plant (nuts) proteins ensures that consumers receive a robust spectrum of amino acids from different sources.

For those with dietary preferences or allergies, it’s worth noting that while RXBARs are gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free, they do contain egg whites and nuts, which are common allergens. However, for people without such sensitivities, RXBARs provide high-quality protein that caters to the needs of individuals mindful of their protein intake, such as athletes, active individuals, or those looking to manage their weight through a protein-rich diet.

Recent research, like that published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, has pointed out the importance of having high-quality protein sources, particularly for those engaging in physical activity. Consuming a combination of animal and plant proteins, as found in RXBARs, can facilitate enhanced muscle protein synthesis.

Ultimately, the protein quality and sources in RXBARs reflect a conscious effort to provide consumers with wholesome, nutrient-dense snack options. They stand out as practical and nutrient-rich snacks that not only contribute to daily protein requirements but also support overall dietary wellness.

Evaluating Net Carbs and Fiber: RXBAR's Impact on Blood Sugar

Understanding the impact of RXBARs on blood sugar involves delving into the concept of net carbs and the role fiber plays in the overall nutritional profile of these bars. Net carbs are the digestible carbohydrates that affect blood sugar levels and are calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber (and sometimes sugar alcohols) from the total carbohydrates.

RXBARs boast a simple list of ingredients that generally includes nuts, dates, and sometimes chocolate or berries, all of which contribute to the carbohydrate content. However, the fiber content deserves a spotlight.

Net Carbs in RXBARs:

  • Dates, which are a primary ingredient in most RXBARs, are high in natural sugars but also contain a significant amount of fiber. This fiber can slow down the absorption of sugar, thereby mitigating spikes in blood sugar levels.
  • Nuts, another key component, are low in net carbs and high in fiber and healthy fats, which have a minimal impact on blood sugar and can promote satiety.

Fiber's role in RXBARs:

  • Fiber intake is associated with various health benefits, including lower risks of diabetes and heart disease. It slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, providing a more gradual rise in blood sugar rather than sharp spikes.
  • A higher fiber content may also aid in weight management, making RXBARs a better option compared to other snack bars with lower fiber content.

The specific amount of net carbs will vary by flavor, but here's an example of how to calculate net carbs for an RXBAR:

Flavor Total Carbohydrates (g) Dietary Fiber (g) Net Carbs (g)
Chocolate Sea Salt 23 5 18

It's important to note that the impact of net carbs on an individual's blood sugar can vary widely due to factors such as age, metabolism, physical activity level, and overall health. Some individuals, particularly those with diabetes or insulin resistance, may need to pay closer attention to the carbohydrate content, even from natural sources.

Several studies suggest that the moderate consumption of high-fiber foods like RXBARs may positively affect blood sugar control. A review in the journal Nutrients highlighted that dietary fiber might improve glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes (Post et al., 2018).

When it comes to RXBARs and their impact on blood sugar, the presence of fiber is a significant factor that can be beneficial. However, the moderation of consumption is key, and people with specific health conditions should consult with healthcare professionals to understand how these bars fit into their individual dietary needs.

Food Allergens and Sensitivities in RXBAR Products

For individuals with food allergies or sensitivities, navigating snack options can be a minefield. RXBARs, which tout a simple ingredient list, include items that are common allergens. The most notable allergens present in most RXBARs include nuts and eggs, which are among the top eight allergens identified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Here's a closer look at the potential allergens found in RXBARs:

  • Nuts: Almonds are a primary ingredient in many RXBAR flavors, and some bars include cashews or peanuts. For individuals with tree nut or peanut allergies, consumption can lead to severe reactions, including anaphylaxis.
  • Eggs: Egg whites are a core ingredient in RXBARs, providing a source of protein. However, for those with egg allergies, even a small amount can trigger symptoms ranging from hives to respiratory issues.
  • Coconut: Although not a tree nut by botanical standards, the FDA classifies coconut as a tree nut for allergy labeling purposes. Some RXBAR varieties include coconut, which can be problematic for those with sensitivities.
  • Soy: While most RXBARs are soy-free, it's essential to read the labels carefully as the brand occasionally introduces new flavors or limited-edition products that may contain soy or soy derivatives.
  • Dairy: RXBARs are advertised as dairy-free, catering to those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. Nevertheless, always check the label to ensure there is no cross-contamination risk from the manufacturing process.

It is crucial for individuals with food allergies or sensitivities to carefully examine the ingredient list on each RXBAR package. The brand is commendable for its transparency in labeling, but recipes can change, and the risk of cross-contamination in facilities that also process other allergens can never be entirely ruled out.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that food allergies in children are increasing. Adults with undiagnosed or developing food sensitivities may also experience adverse reactions. These trends underscore the importance of thorough label reading and, when in doubt, reaching out to manufacturers for clarity on their production processes and potential allergen exposure.

Additionally, some individuals may have sensitivities to ingredients that are not classified as common allergens. Natural flavors, for example, can sometimes cause reactions in sensitive individuals. These components are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA but may still cause discomfort to some. In such cases, an elimination diet, conducted under the guidance of a healthcare professional, can help identify the specific triggers.

Assessing Preservatives and Natural Flavors in RXBARs

When examining the nutritional implications of RXBARs, one must not overlook the ingredients that play a secondary role – preservatives and natural flavors. Although these additives are present in relatively small quantities, they can influence both the healthfulness of the product and consumer perception.

RXBARs tout a simple list of ingredients with the absence of artificial preservatives, preferring to use natural preservatives such as tocopherols (forms of Vitamin E) which serve a dual purpose: as antioxidants in the body, and as a natural preservative to maintain the freshness of the bars. Tocopherols are generally recognized as safe by the FDA, and research supports their beneficial roles in the diet.

Ref: National Center for Biotechnology Information

Natural flavors, another component found in some RXBARs varieties, can encompass countless different substances derived from plant or animal sources. The term 'natural flavors' can be somewhat elusive because FDA regulations allow it to be used for any flavor not chemically derived. So, while natural flavors are considered safe by regulatory agencies, the lack of specificity can be concerning for individuals with allergies, intolerances, or dietary restrictions who may react to unidentified components.

Guidance from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests caution for those with food sensitivities when consuming products containing natural flavors due to the potential presence of allergenic substances.

Ref: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Let's delve into a brief exploration of these elements present in RXBARs:

  • Tocopherols: These natural antioxidants are frequently used in food products to help preserve freshness by preventing oxidation. Tocopherols, besides being viewed as a safe preservative, contribute to Vitamin E intake, an essential nutrient with antioxidant properties.
  • Natural Flavors: The term covers a broad range of flavoring agents derived from natural sources, designed to provide flavor without adding significant nutritional value. The ambiguity of what these flavors are specifically made of is often a sticking point for consumers seeking full transparency.

Given the importance of minimizing preservatives in a health-conscious diet, RXBARs appear to align with this objective by utilizing a minimal and natural approach to preservation. Their commitment to clean labeling is commendable; however, the term natural flavors requires a more discerning look for those with specific dietary concerns. Remaining up-to-date with both FDA regulations and the latest research on natural flavorings and preservatives plays a crucial part in evaluating their impact on our health.

RXBAR in a Balanced Diet: Snack or Meal Replacement?

When it comes to incorporating RXBARs into a balanced diet, it’s essential to understand their nutritional role. Are they suitable as a mere snack to curb midday hunger, or can they stand in as a meal replacement? Let’s break down the factors to consider:

Nutritional Content
RXBARs are known for their simple and nutritious ingredient list — often containing a mix of egg whites for protein, nuts for fat, and dates for sweetness and fiber. A typical RXBAR can pack about 12 grams of protein, which aligns with the protein content one might look for in a snack. However, for a meal replacement, one may seek a more substantial amount of both macro and micronutrients. Given that an average adult meal might require 20-30 grams of protein, along with a balance of carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, RXBARs are best positioned as a snack rather than a complete meal substitute.

Caloric Considerations
With calories ranging around 200-210 per bar, RXBARs provide a moderate energy boost, which is fitting for a snack. In the context of an average adult's diet, which may range from 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day, a snack should typically contain 150-300 calories. Therefore, RXBARs fit comfortably within this range. As a meal replacement, one would require a greater number of calories combined with a diverse array of nutrients to satisfy the body's needs for sustenance and energy through an extended time period.

Satiety Factor
RXBARs contain a decent amount of fiber and protein, and these macronutrients contribute to the feeling of fullness or satiety. However, given their compact size and caloric content, they may not keep an individual satiated for as long as a full meal would. To function as a meal replacement, a food item should include additional fiber, fats, or complex carbohydrates to extend digestion time and prolong the feeling of fullness.

Consider Individual Dietary Needs
Individual energy and nutrient needs can significantly vary depending on factors like age, gender, weight, height, metabolic rate, and physical activity level. For someone with lower calorie requirements or someone seeking a high-protein snack, an RXBAR might occasionally substitute for a light meal. Nonetheless, for most, it is important to not routinely replace well-rounded meals with a single bar.

Supplementing with Other Foods
If choosing an RXBAR as an on-the-go meal replacement in a pinch, it is advisable to pair it with other foods, such as a piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt, or a handful of vegetables to round out the meal. This combination can help provide a better balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and other essential nutrients.

Dietary Variety
A well-balanced diet thrives on variety, providing an array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from diverse food sources. While RXBARs are a healthy option among packaged snacks, relying on them too heavily can lead to nutritional gaps. Including a wide range of whole foods in one's diet is crucial for optimal health.

In conclusion, while RXBARs bring convenience and nutritional value as a snack, they should not be regularly substituted for meals. If considering an RXBAR as part of a meal, it's necessary to ensure you're still obtaining a variety of nutrients through other foods to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

Frequently asked questions

RXBARs can be a convenient snack for children, provided they don't have allergies to the bar's ingredients, such as nuts or eggs. Parents should consider the protein and fiber content beneficial for a child's growth and digestion. However, because RXBARs are calorie-dense and contain about 13-15g of sugar, they should be given in moderation as part of a balanced diet with other nutrient-rich foods.

RXBARs may not be ideal for a strict low-carb or ketogenic diet due to their natural sugar content, primarily from dates. Each bar contains about 23-25g of total carbohydrates and 3-4g of fiber, resulting in net carbs that might exceed the daily carb limits of these diets. Keto dieters, in particular, typically aim for less than 50 grams of carbs per day, so an RXBAR could take up a significant portion of that limit.

RXBARs pride themselves on using a minimal ingredient list without artificial additives. The core ingredients are whole foods like nuts, dates, and egg whites, and any preservatives used are natural, such as tocopherols. However, flavors termed as 'natural flavors' are used in some RXBAR varieties, and while these are derived from natural sources, the specifics of these ingredients are often proprietary to manufacturers.

Natural sugars in RXBARs come from dates and other fruits, which also provide fiber. Fiber can slow digestion and help regulate blood sugar spikes that are typically associated with added sugars. However, the total sugar content should still be considered in the context of one's overall diet, especially for those monitoring blood sugar levels for conditions like diabetes.

Ask a question about RXBAR and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • potential allergenic reactions
  • digestive discomfort

Ingredients to be aware of


  • good source of protein and fiber
  • no artificial additives
  • contains essential nutrients
  • supports muscle repair and maintenance
  • may aid in weight management
  • low glycemic impact

Healthier alternatives

  • whole food snacks
  • homemade protein bars
  • fresh fruits and nuts

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

LÄRABAR Variety Pack

  • Gluten-free snack
  • Rich in nutrients
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Real fruit & nuts
  • Convenient size
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 12-06-2023
Last updated: 12-07-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 12-06-2023
Last updated: 12-07-2023

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