Energy bars may be advertised as fitness and weight-loss tools, but they are only helpful for losing weight if you use them in moderation. High-protein or high-carbohydrate bars are efficient sources of energy for athletes who are burning large amounts of calories, but for the average person, they are simply a dense food source. The key to shedding unwanted pounds is to burn more calories each day than you consume, so read bar labels carefully, don't take in more calories than you need and exercise regularly.
Eat an energy bar when you are in a rush and don't have time to sit down for food. Skipping meals doesn't help you lose weight, because you are likely to become hungry and overeat later. Energy bars can prevent this.
Use energy bars as meals if you have problems with portion control. Because the bar is a prepackaged unit, you can't accidentally take too large a portion. Choose bars with protein, carbohydrates and enough calories to be a full meal, and avoid bars that are high in sugar or fat.
Supplement energy bars with vegetables if you choose to eat the bars as meals. Energy bars don't provide enough bulk to make most people feel satisfied, and they often lack the nutritional content of natural foods. Eating vegetables provides missing nutrients and makes you feel like you have eaten a real meal, which helps you avoid snacking more later.
Count calories. Energy bars squeeze large amounts of calories into a small package, so if you eat them regularly, you might not be aware of how many calories you are actually consuming. Keep track of how much you are consuming to avoid overeating.
Exercise at least 30 minutes each day. The longer and more intense your exercise sessions, the more calories you'll burn and the easier it will be for you to lose weight. If you would usually eat a high-calorie, unhealthy snack after exercise, replace it with a small, protein-filled energy bar.
Refuel after strength training with an energy bar that is high in protein. This can help your muscles recover from the exercise. Don't eat additional snacks after eating the bar.
Energy bars don't provide any nutritional advantage over regular food. Choose bars that contain high-quality protein sources, such as egg, soy, whey or casein. Avoid bars that contain palm-kernel oil and partially hydrogenated oils.
Don't replace all your meals with energy bars. They don't provide all the nutrients you need and are unlikely to make a satisfying diet. Don't eat energy bars that contain ephedra, a stimulant that may cause severe health problems.