Nakd cereal bars review

Are Nakd bars good for you?

Do you LOVE Nakd bars? They are by far one of your favourite health snacks and you find yourself enjoying them quite often. However with all the stuff about sugar recently, do you wonder if Nakd bars are actually good for you?

It’s a very common question I get asked these days as a sugar specialised health coach, so I decided to help you out and lay out all the facts so you can make the most informed choice in line with your own personal situation…

Before I continue, I will say that the lovely Natural Balance Foods sent me a load of these bars to review and this was when I was quite new to blogging. I was in a bit of a quandary because at that point I was what I call quite  ‘sugar sensitive’  –  I was in a stage of my journey where I needed to be more cautious around some of my former favourite sugar fixes to avoid slipping back to the unhealthy relationship I had with sweet food. Having a whole box of them in my house and not reverting back to old ways was going to be a test…

Nakd cereal bars review

How bad was I?

‘Natural’ healthy bars used to be my thing. I would try out and hunt the latest ones on the market like my life depended on it because they were the most guilt free way I could satisfy my sweet fix.

At one point, these Nakd bars completely fed my ‘sugar addiction’ on a daily basis (it’s a strong term but you know what I mean). I was eating 1-3 of them a day. I had a ritual of eating them after a meal and in the afternoons and sometimes (also) for breakfast. I was hooked on these because in my head I could label them ‘healthy’, however, I was VERY accustomed to having a decent bit of fructose in my life everyday (read what you need to know about fructose here).

If you feel you’re in a similar place with these, you’re not alone and you should definitely read on….

Are NaKd bars good for you? The for and against…

Firstly, I want to highlight some really great points about these bars. They:

  • Are made with 100% natural ingredients i.e. not overly processed
  • Contain mainly just fruits and nuts. Not refined sticky rice puffs like other cereal bars
  • Are pretty substantial and do definitely fill a hunger gap
  • Suffice as a source of some protein which comes from the nuts
  • Taste really delicious (I LOVED the cocoa orange one)

However, let’s not beat around the bush, on a sugar front they are not so great, due to the following:

  • Most bars are made with dates and raisins. Nearly all of them are made with approximately 50% dates and then another 10-15% raisins on top.
  • Dates and raisins are two of the highest and most concentrated forms of sugar (and fructose) around. Some would even compare them to sweets.
  • They are big portions. 35g in a packet equals more sugar in one go (I’ve tried and it’s pretty hard to not eat the whole thing)

So how much sugar in Nakd bars?

On average we’re talking 14-15g sugar per bar. This is near enough 4 teaspoons which is quite a lot when you think of it in actual physical teaspoons. The danger of this much sugar is that it’s likely to make you crave sugar again later on and continually build up your preference for sweet food in general.

To put it into perspective, I very roughly aim to eat about 25g of natural sugar a day. So, relatively speaking, one of these Nakd bars is quite a big proportion of that (over half). I found the average cereal bar, for example a Special K, usually was around 7g, so these are over double that. Natural sugars yes, but high in sugar nonetheless.

Nakd cereal bars review

Artistic shot of Nakd bars on my laptop!

To help you with the range, here’s a list of the lowest to highest sugar content by flavour:

  • Ginger Bread 11g
  • Pecan Pie 12g
  • Cashew Cookie 14g
  • Cocoa Orange 14g
  • Cocoa Delight 15g
  • Cocoa Mint 15g
  • Berry Delight 16g
  • Caffe Mocha 17g
  • Rhubarb & Custard 18g

To be honest the lower sugar ones are my favourite anyway. You may also find seasonal ones like the Christmas Pud one which is about 17g if I remember (they didn’t send me this one).

So should I eat them?

This really does come down to you and where you’re currently at with sugar. Are you actively trying to reduce your sweet cravings to get more control? Are you trying to just make ‘better’ healthy swaps? Are you just in need of some quick release energy after exercise or running?

1. What to do if you’re trying to get control & reduce cravings

I’d say pull back on eating these for a while. They don’t have to go off your radar forever, but it may be worth you going through more of a detox period. Their high fructose content and addictive deliciousness won’t help with the end goal of getting more control over sweet food (trust me on this one!)

2. What to do if you’re trying to just make ‘better’ healthy swaps

If you’ve decided you’re going to eat something sweet and are about to reach for a chocolate bar, a flapjack or a full on dessert, these are a WAY better substitute. They were a definite ‘bridge’ for me in terms of switching bad foods to ‘better’ foods. However, know there are even lower sugar ‘better’ swaps like a small square of dark chocolate (1-5g) or some full fat greek yoghurt (contains the less addictive lactose sugar). Remember, this is a progressive journey.

3. What to do if you’re intensely exercising

Because dried fruit is a quick releasing source of natural sugar for the body, these can actually be a great post workout fuel. However if you also fall into the first category I mentioned earlier where you’re also trying to get in control, you’re faced with a dilemma. You need to try and refuel where you can with lower fructose options (I know this is hard). I suggest checking out my sugar-free snack guide for ideas and if you’re a runner, you may also find my runners guide to sugar really useful here.

4. Another one… When you’re a bit hungover!

After a little excess, your body is processing the alcohol and as a result isn’t that great at processing other energy you have stored. That’s why you find yourself craving quick sugar (Lucozade anyone?!). A Nakd bar, or similar equivalent can hit the spot in a more natural way, but again just be mindful of the sugar in them and the impact on your cravings. If you can opt for a good hearty eggs based breakfast instead (get some spinach in that fry up!) then you’ll nicely steady your blood sugar without the sugar hit.

In summary…

I’m hoping this post has been helpful to you wherever you are on your low sugar journey. I do think Nakd bars have a lot of sugar and they certainly aren’t something I’d advise to eat if you’re actively looking to cut down or get a bit more control over things. They are a big NO for those on my Mentor Me Off Sugar programme. These are not something I eat regularly now, but do occasionally enjoy as a natural treat because I know there’s no danger of going back.

However, I appreciate, everyone is different and at varying stages of lowering sugar, so really, it’s your call. Some are mighty tasty and they are a lot ‘better’ than other sweet things. At least now you can save yourself some sugar credits by opting for the lower sugar ginger bread flavour and you’re fully aware of how much sugar you’re putting away when eating one.

If this has been useful please share, like, comment or wave ;)

What do you think of Nakd bars? I would really love to hear your thoughts on these….favourite flavour, when you eat them etc. 

20 replies
  1. ChocRaspberry
    ChocRaspberry says:

    I have to say I am a big fan of Nakd bars, although I am a bit dubious of the ‘natural flavours’ they add to the flavoured bars, for example with the rhubarb and custard they aren’t adding fresh rhubarb otherwise they’d state that on the label, so what they are adding is ‘natural’ flavouring which could be anything. And I agree that one and teh caffe mocha taste quite synthetic. I would much rather that they stated orange zest as an ingredient rather than natural flavour if that is what they are using, but I’m not sure if it is. Anyway those are my random thoughts on that subject. I do eat them on a semi regular basis, mostly because they are convenient, and much better than the alternatives. I’ve actually just ordered two cases of the new ‘crunch’ varieties, I wonder if the added protein will bring the amount of sugar down. Great review!

    Reply
    • lauraj_thomas
      lauraj_thomas says:

      ChocRaspberry Thanks Ffion, yeah I wanted to do an honest review. I do think they’re tasty, especially the pecan one which I think is my favourite but I literally have avoided them till they sent them to me for this review. For ease and convenience I can see the attraction. Anyway glad you liked! Be interesting to see what the new variety are like as you say.

      Reply
  2. munchforhealth
    munchforhealth says:

    Hi Laura, great review! The gingerbread one is my favourite so it’s good to see it has the lowest sugar content too. Like you I used to eat Nakd quite often to get my sugar fix, but I don’t really have them as much anymore because I’m trying to eat less processed foods. I’d be interested to try one of the new bars though!

    Reply
  3. JoyceWeeks
    JoyceWeeks says:

    Found this very interesting as I have two bars that were in a birthday hamper from my daughter, who was doing her best to supply me with healthily food. I haven’t eaten them yet but think I may pass them onto my hubbie, who is also having to eat my low fat, high sugar yoghurt since I changed them to total Greek since reading your website. Keep up the good work, fab!

    Reply
    • Laura
      Laura says:

      Thanks Joyce, sorry for the delayed reply here. I seem to missing some comment notifications on occasion. The Nakd bars are a tough one and they are everywhere now. If you’re trying to get to that next level of control over cravings then let the hubbie enjoy them as a healthy alternative to chocolate and seek some lower sugar snacks :) Hope it’s going well! x

      Reply
  4. europehealthtv
    europehealthtv says:

    Interestingly, we have a competition in this month’s issue of HealthTriangleMagazine dotcom to win some exclusive backpacks full of Nakd bars. Not many healthy products taste as good as this!

    Reply
    • Laura
      Laura says:

      They do taste good and I still like them but they were dangerous for me at a point. I think it’s just important for everyone to understand they’re not completely saintly if they’re trying to get control over your sugar cravings and fructose dependence. A whole backpack of them is reasonable if it lasts you a year rather than a week ;)

      Reply
  5. Perri
    Perri says:

    Thanks for the great analysis Laura. I have only tried the Gingerbread and was such a fan I thought of ordering them in by the boxful, but after your post, I realised that of course they must be high in sugar (even if natural sugars) and that’s why they’re so yummy. I’ll keep them for a treat now,
    Cheers, Perri

    Reply
    • Laura
      Laura says:

      Thanks for your comment Perri. I don’t want to completely demonise natural sugars but I do think it’s important to be aware, especially if you’re suffering from cravings and are particularly partial to dried fruit like I was. Glad you found this helpful :)

      Reply
  6. Mark Corder
    Mark Corder says:

    What I don’t see in this review is whether the Nakd bars are healthy or not, because they contain fruit and nuts and in a mixed variety. The emphasis seems to be on sugar rather than the healthy benefits.

    I say this because a plain and simple apple has 23g of sugar. A peach has 15g of sugar. A large banana has 17g of sugar. Personally I find quite a few fruits quite boring and tedious, but in an effort to eat healthily, I’ll have a Nakd bar and hope that I’m no worse off for it.

    Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Laura
      Laura says:

      Hi Mark, thanks for your comment. Nakd bars are a healthy substitute for many (instead of chocolate etc) but this blog and my articles are people who are looking to reduce their sugar intake and reduce their cravings. Because they are concentrated sources of fructose, they don’t help if you’re trying to increase your sensitivity to sweet and get control over your cravings. I found personally I was eating a Nakd bars nearly everyday and I was craving them and all kinds of sugar. When cut back on everything like this, I found that small portions of fruit and these days 1/2 Nakd bar suffices for the little natural sugar I have in my diet.

      Healthy for some, but for people with a troublesome relationship with fructose then it’s important to be aware I feel. Hope that helps?

      Laura

      Reply
  7. Karen
    Karen says:

    I have tried my first nakd product. FRUIT & NUT BITS cocoa and orange. Smooshed together. There are very very very very few nuts, very little orange flavour, no cocoa flavour what so ever, not a very nice consistency, certainly not chewy with a huge price tag.

    Reply
    • Laura
      Laura says:

      Hi Karen, thanks for your comment. I’ve seen those but haven’t even tried. I just expected them to be pretty sugar heavy. Like you say the Nakd brand has got so big they’re going to bring out new products and variations to keep the sales up. At least you’ve tried for yourself and won’t be tempted if they’re expensive and not that worth it! x

      Reply
  8. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hi Kevin, I do still like them don’t get me wrong, but I was also feeding my sugar addiction with them at one point so I just have them every once in a while now as a real treat or even just eat half at a time! They are so much better than a full on chocolate bar so I appreciate them as a healthy food for many. The cashew one is definitely my favourite. What flavour did you buy? Or mixed?

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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