5 Reasons Clif Bars Aren’t as Healthy as You Think
Clif Bars Have Lowered the Bar On Health
For years and years, I was a HUGE Clif Bar fan. Despite being health-conscious, and otherwise avoiding junk food the vast majority of the time, I had convinced myself that Clif Bars were perfectly healthy. Turns out I was wrong.
1. Clif Bars Are Chock-full of Lectins
Lectins are proteins present in certain plant foods, including all grains, some fruits and vegetables, and many nuts and seeds including peanuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds. They can be toxic to your body – and it turns out Clif Bars are loaded with them (see Dr. Gundry’s full list of lectin-free foods). Even if you don’t get a stomach ache from Clif Bars, the lectins you’re consuming could be wreaking havoc.
Good for Plants, Bad for You
Plants evolved these compounds to defend themselves from predators like insects, but from humans and other animals as well. Due to their molecular structure, lectins are uniquely capable of permeating the intestinal wall (scary!), at which point they get into your bloodstream and are treated like foreign invaders, causing your immune system to mount an immune response (even scarier).
Now, if this happens on occasion, it’s probably no big deal for most healthy people. However, if you’re eating Clif Bars on the regular, you’re definitely consuming copious amounts of lectins and probably not doing yourself any favors.
If you have a sensitive immune system and/or are prone to inflammation, you’ll want to avoid them altogether. Especially if you’re watching your weight, because lectins have been implicated in weight gain.
2. The Main Protein Source Is Soy
The trouble with the soy protein in Clif Bars is that it has not been naturally fermented, making it difficult to digest. Traditional cultures who have eaten soy products for thousands of years have always fermented them before consumption.
Fermentation naturally breaks soy down into digestible compounds, making it much more nutritious. It’s important to note that just because non-fermented soy doesn’t give you a stomach ache does not mean your body is digesting it efficiently.
More Lectins + Estrogen Mimicry
Soy also contains lectins. Lots of them. What’s more, soy molecules can mimic the effects of estrogen, potentially causing hormonal imbalances (seriously, it’s been documented).
Unless you’re vegan and are short on options, why risk it when you could have grass-fed whey protein as the main protein source instead? It’s way more nutritious, and with its superior BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acid) profile, it’s much better for muscle recovery after workouts.
3. Clif Bars Are Essentially an Adult Candy Bar
My friend recently described Clif bars as “adult candy bars“ and was shocked when I told her I had been eating them every day. There’s a reason they taste so good: it’s called sugar.
Even if you’re not watching your weight, odds are there is more sugar in a Clif Bar than is healthy for you, unless you’re an endurance athlete. But even if you’re an ironman/woman, you are not immune to lectins (or soy). “But the sugar is from brown rice syrup,” you say. No matter, sugar is sugar. Except for when the sweeteners are healthy.
4. Clif Bars Are a Processed Food
You may think Clif Bars don’t look heavily processed, but don’t kid yourself: they’re absolutely a processed food. That means they are chock-full of various preservatives, which you want to avoid consuming with any kind of regularity. There are other bars on the market that are significantly less processed, and preservative free.
5. They Won’t Feed Your Microbiome
Sadly, Clif Bars don’t contain any significant prebiotic fibers – most of the fiber comes from grains like oats and rice. There are plenty of other bars that have lots of high-quality prebiotic fibers, like inulin and tapioca.
Now that you’re ready to put Clif Bars behind you, it’s time to find a replacement. Start by reading our in-depth review of healthy energy bars. You’ll also learn how to get 25% off my top rated bar, which I believe is the healthiest and best tasting bar available today.
How I Quit Clif Bars
I highly recommend starting with the lectin-free sampler pack. Use promo code HFB10 at checkout to get $10 off!