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Flavor: Does it Matter?

Many people don’t think twice when asked what flavor they want, from ice-cream to protein bars, from potato chips to yogurt, or from soda to granola, we all have our favorites. What some don’t realize when considering personal nutrition is that flavor matters.



We all know not all snacks are created equal. A handful of strawberries will give you a different amount of energy (has a different amount of calories) than a quart of pudding. Many people also realize that one brand of pretzels is also different from the other; however, the most common factor overlooked is the flavor.

See also: What’s on the Nutrition Label?


Take for instance Larabar, a common fruit and nut bar. They have two categories of bars: 22 “Original” and 3 “Organic.”


So there are two types of bars with two different caloric amounts, right? Wrong. In fact, each of the Organic bars are different: one is 180 cal, the other 210, and the third is 200. And the Original bars range from 190 – 240 calories! Proud that you lost 5 pounds last year? You could have accomplished that by eating one Chocolate Chip Cashew Torte bar a day instead of a Chocolate Coconut Cashew bar!

See also: How to Understand and Apply the Nutrition Facts


MicronutrientsSomething we need in very small amounts to stay alive. The e... More

As you may expect, if there two flavors of the same item can have different amounts of calories, you can bet that many will have different micronutrients and macronutrientsSubstances required in large amounts to survive. They are pr... More too. This is more obvious in products like Naked Juice, where it’s understandable that Power-C Machine has 10 times the Vitamin C as Blue Machine. This can be less obvious, though, in instances like chocolate milk having almost twice the potassium as regular milk, or a pinch of salt giving you a sodium value through the roof.

See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients



Macronutrients are the three main substances that have calories: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. As you can expect, this goes hand-in-hand with calories. If your honey granola has more calories than your apple granola, chances are it’s due to more sugar (carbs) in the honey flavor.


The ingredient list on a Gatorade protein bar
Does it really surprise you that Gatorade “protein” bars hardly change in calories at all? (I say protein with air quotes because they are 25% saturated fat and 47% carbs.. doesn’t leave too much room for protein. But that’s a tangent I will go off later.)


To Summarize- Just read the label.

Now I’m not condemning healthy companies like Larabar and Kind for having differing calorieA unit commonly used to measure the amount of energy that is... More counts in their product lines. In fact, it’s a good sign that different flavors have different nutrients, because then you can tell they are manufactured with real ingredients and minimal processing.


If a your strawberry yogurt has the same number of calories as your peanut butter yogurt, it could be a hint that there aren’t really strawberries and peanuts in there. Something else you may find is that in products with which fat has been removed, like low-fat and fat-free items, nutrients like sugar or salt are usually added to make up the lost taste.

See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?


All in all, what should you take from this? Second guess choices you make when deciding between flavors and brands. Each flavor has its own nutrition label, so be advised that a single product’s flavors can all be different in allergens, vitamins, fats, and calories.


Thanks for reading!





Gatorade: The Sports Fuel Company. Whey Protein Bar. 3 October, 2016. Accessed 14 October, 2016

Larabar. Our Products. Accessed 14 October, 2016.

Danon. Our Products. 2016. Accessed 14 October, 2016.


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