Health Food or Junk Food: Go Macro Bars

It’s National Nutrition Month and we’re looking at snacks. Which are health foods and which are junk foods?

Someone asked for my opinion on this week’s product: Go Macro Bars.

To be honest, I’d never eaten one before.  So, I had to sample one, especially after I found them for a ridiculously low price. I bought a whole box of 12 for only $2!

These bars of organic, vegan, Kosher, gluten-free, and non-GMO. But, none of those terms automatically make this product a health food. 

In fact, I’d say this falls more in the spectrum of junk food. 

Let’s look at the ingredients to really understand why…
Ingredients: Brown Rice Syrup, Almond Butter, Protein Blend (Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Pea Protein), Puffed Brown Rice, Chocolate Chips (Coconut Sugar, Cocoa, Cocoa Butter), Unsweetened Coconut, Almonds. 

  • Brown Rice Syrup: Brown rice is healthy, but brown rice syrup isn’t. It’s basically just the sugar from brown rice. There are health benefits to reducing the amount of added sugar in your diet, including sugar from brown rice syrup. 
  • Almond Butter: The label doesn’t specify whether the almond butter is made only from almonds or if it has added sugar, oil, and fat, which are often added to change the taste and texture of almond butter. Regardless, there are some healthy aspects of almond butter, like protein.
  • Protein Blend (Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Pea Protein): These are what they sound like—protein derived from brown rice and peas
  • Puffed Brown Rice: Puffed brown rice is kind of like popcorn. It starts out as a grain of rice and it’s popped in oil, like corn kernels pop in oil. Because it’s a whole grain, it’s pretty healthy, but frying does add fat
  • Chocolate Chips (Coconut Sugar, Cocoa, Cocoa Butter): I’ll admit these chocolate chips have fewer ingredients than some chocolate chips I found in stores. However, the main ingredient is sugar. Regardless of whether it’s coconut sugar, sugar cane, or sugar from sugar beets, it’s still an added sugar, which should be limited.
  • Unsweetened Coconut:  While this is probably a minimally processed ingredient, I do not consider coconut to be healthy. Coconut is mostly fat, specifically saturated fat, which is the unhealthy fat.  
  • Almonds: a healthy ingredient and hopefully one most of you recognize.

Summary: There are certainly some healthy ingredients in this. I’d consider this a healthy alternative to a candy bar, especially since the almonds, coconut, and chocolate mimic a coconut almond chocolate bar. However, I’d still call this a junk food because the first ingredient a.k.a. the main ingredient is sugar and we should all limit our intake of added sugar.

Healthier Option: A handful of almonds would provide protein and a nice crunch without all the added sugar found in these bars. You can even find cocoa-covered almonds without added sugar. (I’m not talking about chocolate-covered almonds, but almonds rolled in cocoa powder. If you can’t find them in stores, it’s easy to make your own.) You can add some unsweetened, dried coconut  to better match the flavor. 

What other products do you want my opinion on?  Let me know in the comments below.


The information provided in this blog is not intended to replace individualized medical advice provided by your own doctor, dietitian, or other healthcare professional.
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