PROBAR Core Protein Bars

By Jenn K.

The manufacturer provided these bars for the purpose of this review.

PROBAR Core Protein Bars I will admit that while out in the field or after a workout I like to enjoy a protein bar that does not taste like cardboard or has artificial ingredients.

I like to have a bar that has a good taste and a good protein/carbohydrate balance. What is interesting about these bars is they are a great source of Omega-3 and 6. I like the fact that they contain chia seeds and flaxseeds, as they have great nutritional value. I just hope all the fiber is gentle on my stomach. After I am finished cycling I like to eat protein as soon as possible; these bars may work as a meal replacement after riding late at night or early in the morning.

These bars have a weight of 3 oz. They seem dense in the packaging (meaning I can feel the weight and I can tell there is a nice sized bar inside the packaging to hopefully satisfy my hunger). The packages are easy to open. There is no notch to open the packaging, but there is a seam that can be easily torn open.

All the bars are gluten free, have 20 or more grams of protein, are a good source of fiber with 4 or more grams, contain Omega-3 and 6, and have chia and flax seeds. Chia seeds can help with hunger buy providing a feeling of fullness, are a great addition to diet for enhanced recovery, and can help with the digestive system.

Omega-3’s help control blood clotting, help reduce inflammation, increase cardiovascular heath, and can help reduce joint pain from arthritis and stiffness. Omega-3’s can be obtained from fish oils or flaxseed. Flaxseed and chia seeds are contained in the Core bars so I would assume that is where the Omega-3 is present.

Flaxseeds are high in B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese. They are also high in Omega-3, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Good for balancing female hormones, increase fertility and may help prevent Type 2 diabetes. Phytochemicals are compounds in plants (apart from vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients) that have a beneficial effect the body. These compounds can have the following properties boosting the immune system, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and cellular repair.

Omega-6 are fatty acids that the body cannot produce naturally. These are supplied to the body by diet. The Omega-6 fatty acids are indicated to regulate metabolism, good for skin and hair growth, and helps maintain bone mineral density.

Chia seeds seem to be the new rage. Everywhere I turn I see Chia seeds in something. I started to eat chia seeds recently so I can feel fuller. I am not certain how that is working for me. They gel in liquid and this gel can hydrate the body as well as making the stomach feel fuller. They help control blood pressure, blood sugar and contain a high amount of Omega-3. They can be a great substitute for flaxseeds in the diet since they do not need to be ground up to be absorbed by the body.

The main ingredients of the Core Bars include soy protein, organic agave syrup (for sweetening), soybeans, unsweetened chocolate, organic tapioca syrup and cane syrup, and other natural ingredients.

All the bars are crunchy in the middle and have a chocolate coating. Crunchy bars are more satisfying to me then soft and chewy bars.


Nutrition Content and Taste:

Brownie Crisp

Calories 290 of which 100 are fat calories. Total fat 11 grams with a saturated fat content of 5 grams. No cholesterol.  Sodium content is 350 mg, potassium 240 mg, 6 grams of fiber, and total carbohydrates are 32 grams. 20 grams of protein that is 37% of the percent of daily nutritional values.

This is my least favorite bar. The chocolate does not taste natural to me. I also think this flavor is bland, nothing exciting for my taste buds.


Cookie Dough

Calories 290 of which 80 are fat calories. Total fat is 9 grams with a saturated fat content of 5 grams. No cholesterol. The sodium content is 420 mg, potassium 100 mg, 4 grams of fiber, and total carbohydrates are 32 grams. 21 grams of protein that is 42% of the percent of daily nutritional values.

The cookie dough flavor is one of my favorites. The flavor is light and there is no overkill of chocolate. It reminds me of cookie dough morsels with chocolate chips like I get at Yogurtland as my frozen yogurt topping.


Mint Chocolate

Calories 280 of which 80 are fat calories. Total fat is 9 grams with a saturated fat content of 5 grams. No cholesterol. The sodium content is 430 mg, potassium 135 mg, 4 grams of fiber, and total carbohydrates are 33 grams. 20 grams of protein that is 40% of the percent of daily nutritional values.

Right when I open the package I could smell the mint. The bar tasted good and it reminded me of the Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.


Peanut Butter Chocolate

Calories 290 of which 90 are fat calories. Total fat is 10 grams with a saturated fat content of 5 grams. There is no cholesterol. The sodium content is 400 mg, potassium 140 mg, fiber 5 grams, and total carbohydrates are 32 grams. 20 grams of protein that is 37% of the percent of daily nutritional values.

This bar ties the Cookie Dough as my favorite. It had real peanut butter taste and I like the addition of the ground peanuts. This is like a healthier Snickers bar.

I am confused as to why on the Brownie Crisp packaging 20 grams of protein equals 37% of the daily value but on the Mint Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chocolate that same amount of protein equals 40%.

In a nutshell, these bars pack in the protein. The calories are on the high side, but they do have a large amount of protein. Also they contain over 30 grams of carbohydrates. More carbohydrates than protein, but with the protein content so high this may not hinder recovery and it should satisfy cravings.

Final Update 9/5/13

For over the past month I have been enjoying the PROBAR Core Protein Bars so much they are all gone. Most of the bars are tasty and flavorful. My favorite is the Cookie Dough and the Peanut Butter Chocolate. Next in line is the Mint Chocolate Chip. I think the Brownie Crisp just tastes bland.  What I like most about the Core Bars is the non-artificial flavor.

It has been hot here recently in Southern California and the Core Bars have been exposed to the heat. The outer chocolate layer does melt in warm temperatures; enough to make eating the bar messy. However, the bar is still crispy in the center and delicious with no change in taste (just that it is slightly warmer). I much rather eat a crunchy dense nutritional bar over a soft chewy one any day; just my taste preference. During one hot week I stored the bars in the fridge. I would take the Core Bar out of the fridge about 15 minutes prior to eating, just to warm it up to room temperature. They still tasted great after being refrigerated.

The Core Bars were great to have immediately after my long cycling adventures. Generally I would consume a bar after a long ride (over 40 miles) or immediately after a shorter ride late in the day. If I ate a Core Bar late in the day after my workout I would just skip dinner. I did not feel hungry and I was not craving food before going to bed. The Core Bars have almost 300 calories per bar so mentally I felt fine skipping dinner.

I have not noticed any of the hydration benefits of the chia seeds in these bars, but I can see how the Core Bars can have more protein with the addition of the chia seeds. Chia seeds are known to generally taste good with whatever they are mixed with. How I would explain the taste is that they add some crunch if dry and mimic the flavor of the foods they are paired with.

I am comfortable knowing that the Core Bars have natural ingredients and they have some great nutritional value. However, I cannot really tell the benefits of these natural ingredients upon immediate consumption. But, I did notice that I do not feel sluggish or bloated after I eat them and that will sometimes happen when I eat unhealthy foods. The bars have not blocked up my digestive system, they satisfy my hunger, eliminate cravings, and have not made me sick to the stomach (even after a hard workout).

I was initially concerned about the fat content in the bars. Upon looking at the label the 90 calories from fat really pops out and I thought “Oh my that is a lot”. However, I have not noticed an increase in my weight with the high fat content. I do not pair the bars with meals and eat them only after a workout as a reward or to replace a meal. Initially I was concerned that I would still be hungry and need to consume a meal an hour or so after eating a bar.

Now the bars are the expensive side at $2.99 each, but that is right on target with some of the other bars on the market. I cannot wait for the day that healthy food is cheaper than overly processed foods.

The PROBAR Core Bars would be something I would consider purchasing in the future if I saw them on a shelf at the market. I would definitely buy some if they happened to be on sale that day.

The PROBAR Core bars are available in the following flavors: Mint Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Brownie Crisp, and Cookie Dough. The bars retail for $2.99 each or are available in a 12-pack for $33.53.

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