I was contacted via email about receiving a sampling of PureFit bars for review. I had just read about these on a friends blog – http://www.thenailthatsticksup.com – and was curious to try them as he hyped their protein content of 18g’s and I couldn’t find any in the stores around here. I don’t know if it’s a distribution issue or if I’m shopping in the wrong places. Now, I’m not one to judge a book by it’s cover…wait, yes I am….regardless, the packaging for this product tells me it’s probably more at home in a GNC store than my local health food store, yet at the same time it is hyped as being “vegan”, “gluten free” and made of “all-natural” products. Whatever the outward appearance of the wrapper may be, the important part is printed in the nutrition table on the back and then contained within the product itself.
Regarding the nutrition…in my last review of energy bars (Clif products), I mentioned my little obsession with Builder Bars, not just because I love their candy-like taste, but also because they have 20 g’s of protein which I use after hard, hard workouts. So when I saw that PureFit had 18g’s, I was curious if this was going to be a suitable replacement to Builder Bars as their one drawback is a sugar quantity that is a touch high 25g’s. It looks like PureFit bars come out on top in this category for sure as they match their 18g’s of protein with only 13 g’s of sugar, nearly half of Builder Bars. The calorie content ranges 210 to 220 per bar and is on par with Builder Bars with 6 – 7 g’s of fat. Nothing varies too much between the bars and PureFit holds its own throughout, but shines by offering so much protein with much less sugar.
Let’s get to the selfishly important stuff though, the taste. I’ll admit, when I first opened the package I thought, “Oh no…it’s a Powerbar”. I had the original Powerbars way back in the Mid-90’s when they forced them upon us at our high school cross country camp. We jokingly called them meat bars, as the texture and appearance was not too far off from eating a slab of meat. They were super dense, flattened and pale in appearance, and many got tossed in the trash. So when I opened the package and saw a similarly flattened and dense bar staring me in the face, I was quite skeptical of what I was about to try. Here is the thing though, maybe I’m just too coddled by all the other candy bar and cake-like energy bars from other companies and am not used to the basic nutrition squeezed together presentation. Sure, it’s not drizzled in various patterns of icing, but that also accounts for the low sugar content represented on the packaging…so I would say that is a positive.
The taste follows the same pattern as the appearance. It tastes relatively bland at first, but that is because it’s not loaded with sugar, but after a little more time with it the sweetness of the brown rice syrup, agave and fruits starts to come through a little more. There is a little bit of crunchy texture to them from the soy crisps, so you don’t feel like your chewing on a soft strip of jerky. They are denser than most bars I’ve eaten, but I grew to like the texture and felt like I was eating something more substantial than what I’m accustomed to.
As a runner, I would eat these after a run for the protein/carb replacement, but also during the day as a quick snack as they are relatively filling without an overly high calorie count. However, I also think these would be ideal for a cyclist DURING an effort, whether that is training or a race. The bars hype themselves with the line, “They don’t melt!”, which sounds a little creepy, but ultimately isn’t and is actually a great selling point. I’m not a fan of licking the icing off the Builder Bar wrappers when they have melted from just being in my pocket and even after having these bars in my backpack for a couple days, they truly didn’t melt. As a cyclist, if you stuck one of these in your jersey pocket and rode for hours, you could still easily take one down without any mess. I also think the density of the bar would be great for eating on the go during training as well, so maybe that’s a good athletic niche for them.
The flavors they offer are Peanut Butter Crunch, Granola Crunch, Chocolate Brownie, Berry Almond Crunch, and Almond Crunch. The all-natural, vegan ingredients vary with each bar, but are primarily Soy Protein Isolate, Brown Rice Syrup, Fruit Juice, Grain Dextrins, Fructose, Chicory Extract, Dextrose, Rice Flour, Agave Nectar, Soy Nuts, Soy Flour, Textured Soy Flour, Inulin, Natural Flavors. The variations of ingredients are more in what creates the specific flavors.
Overall, if you are looking for a bar that will satisfy your sweet tooth, I would look elsewhere, but if you are looking for something nutritionally sound with a high protein content and something that will work both after and during a workout for fueling (maybe not so much for running), then these are a pretty good option.