One bar, Nutri-Grain Elevenses, contained nearly four teaspoons – more than in a small can of cola and 20% of the recommended daily allowance. Other snacks it analysed were found to be high in fat and saturated fat.
The Tracker Roasted Nut bar, for example, was almost a third fat. Meanwhile, six of the seven cereal bars targeted at children were high in saturated fat, the study found.
And Monster Puffs, a cereal bar marketed to children and described as “great for your lunchbox”, contained 43.5% sugar – more than two teaspoons.
The study compared the information on the bars’ labels with traffic light labelling. Under the coding, the color red means fat is high whereas green is used for low fat food. It was found that only one bar had low levels of fat.
The finding has prompted Which? executive director to urge healthy bar manufacturers to alter the way the products area advertised.
“People often choose cereal bars in the belief they’re healthier than chocolate or biscuits, but our research shows this can be a myth,” Richard Lloyd told the BBC.