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From artisan chocolate to coffee concoctions, salt is the perfect complement to any sweet treat. And now, the flavor trend has officially infiltrated the sports nutrition market. We put five salted caramel-flavored products to the triathlete’s taste test.
GU Energy Gel
One of our editors recently tested this gel flavor during a marathon, and its saltiness went a long way in battling flavor fatigue. For those with a gel aversion, think of it as melted caramel candy (which is how it tastes). Each packet has 125 milligrams of sodium, 40 milligrams of potassium, 22 grams of carbs and 20 milligrams of caffeine, derived from green tea.
KIND Healthy Grains Popped
The newest Healthy Grains bars were created to be reminiscent of popcorn, with the addition of a sixth whole grain, sorghum, to add a “pop.” The bars are more chewy than crunchy, and have a pleasantly sweet flavor, though taste testers didn’t pick up much salt. With 20 grams of whole grains, 140 calories and 3 grams of protein, it’s a smart snack choice.
$3.99 for box of five bars, Kindsnacks.com
Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar
We appreciate the wafer-like, crispy texture of this bar, as high-protein bars tend to be very dense. It has a very sweet maple-like flavor from its caramel coating, which masks the 13 grams of protein well, but tasters also noted a sugary aftertaste. Each bar contains 205 calories, 320 milligrams of electrolytes (sodium and potassium) and 9 grams of carbs.
Bonk Breaker Energy Bars
The 10th flavor in the company’s line of energy bars, salted caramel has a great taste with a chewier, more moist texture than other Bonk Breaker bars. Made with all recognizable ingredients, including gluten-free oats, cashew butter, flax seeds and peanuts, it has a toffee-like crunch. Each bar contains 260 calories, 7 grams of protein, 330 milligrams of electrolytes (sodium and potassium) and 38 grams of carbs.
Nature Valley Nut Crisp Bars
These nutty snack bars were the winner in the taste test as they deliver a satisfying combo of salt and caramel flavors with a light, crunchy texture from the mix of roasted peanuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. The caramel yogurt-like coating on the bottom keeps them from crumbling. Each bar has 140 calories, 6 grams of sugar and 4 grams of protein. $4.19 for box of six bars, Walmart.com