Energy bars are essentially candy bars fortified with vitamins. Can we all agree on that?
I.e. energy bars can easily fit into the “crap” category of food, the crap-egory, if you will.
That said, I eat the living shit out of energy bars on the daily. I know that I could be eating more nutritious foods instead, but I don’t.
Let me tell you a story.
Falling off a Clif
Once upon a time, I realized that I ate too many energy bars, and that I ought to stop in the name of performance and health.
So I stopped eating the rectangular blocks of rice syrup and soy protein isolate. The outcome of this endeavor kind of looked like this:
Instead of eating healthier foods I ended up regularly treating myself to straight up desserts, desserts that had waaay more empty calories.
Remember, how I said healthy eating is all about psychology that one time? https://jmortontraining.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/why-your-diet-isnt-working/ Yeaaaaaaa….
When I stopped eating crap, I replaced it with worse crap, often.
While energy bars may be crap, I recognize them as such. I don’t eat them thinking that I am eating something healthy. I view them as a filling treat that, as a trainer, is sometimes necessary given my sporadic schedule. They serve as a way to get my chocolate fix without going batshit crazy.
Even though they are not the most ideal food for my nutrition needs, they are certainly not the worst. Psychologically, cutting them out was a bad move. By trying to achieve a 100% optimal diet, I ended up with with a shitty diet that was detrimental to my goals.
The moral of the story is that there is a big difference between theory and practice. Theoretically cutting out clif bars would be profuctive (this is a typo, I find it funny so I’m leaving it here). In practice, not so much. It is more productive to stick with a diet that maybe yields slightly slower results, but you can adhere to in the long term. Thus, the long term benefits end up being bigger than those of a 100% optimal, strict, all or nothing diet that only lasts short term. The best diet in the world is useless if it is too strict to follow and enjoy in the long term.
Striving for a theoretically optimal plan is just that–theory. Your plan needs to be something you can realistically put into effect. Progress is not all or nothing; that is not how your body functions. The trick with diet is to have a plan where you don’t feel deprived, otherwise you binge and don’t follow the plan at all!
If eating a fortified rectangle of sugar prevents you from wanting to eat a whole fucking tub of ice cream, I say go for it.