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Tested: Balance BARE Nutrition Energy Bar

balance bare bar wrapper

Here’s another one from Balance Bar. It’s called the BALANCE BARE bar because it contains “real ingredients you can see and taste.”

The packaging proclaims “Low GI – 23 vitamins & minerals – 5g whole grain” so it seems geared towards the general health-conscious individual who is looking for whole grains, vitamins, and minerals, and does not want to spike their blood sugar. (Sidenote: I recently reviewed the SoLo GI bar, a more performance-oriented bar that sits low on the Glycemic Index.)

This particular bar is a sweet and salty peanut butter flavor. I love peanut butter, so this should be good…

balance bare bar

From the first bite, I could tell this was going to be a good tasting energy bar. The taste seems to reflect the “sweet and salty” moniker, and I love it! It does taste a little on the artificial side if you compare it to natural peanut butter, but it’s enjoyable, nonetheless.

This bar doesn’t taste bare, though. It looks and tastes much like all the other energy bars with their piles of processed ingredients. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes me question the “bare” name.)

The texture is kind of like a rice krispie square with some extra nuts thrown in. I guess it’s like the Kashi TLC Crunchy bar, but much softer and more enjoyable to eat.

Also, it looks kind of like a PowerBar Pria or Clif Luna bar, but it’s heavier and dense.

balance bare bar

So yeah, the taste and texture are good. Let’s get back to the “bare” issue though.

I guess this might be considered “bare” because some of the ingredients are whole. For example, you can see the whole peanuts, whole grains, kernels, etc.

But this bar is not bare in terms of ingredients! There are still tons of ingredients in there, including caramel color. Anything with extra colorings I can’t consider a “bare” bar. This is nothing like the Lara Bar, which really is bare when it comes to ingredients, having just dates, fruit pieces, and nuts in most bars.

Which leads us into the ingredients and nutrition facts

The 210 calorie bar contains quite a bit of fat and protein, 9g and 13g, respectively. Three of the nine grams of fat are saturated, which is a little disconcerting, because a serving of natural peanut butter has less saturated fat than that. (2 Tbsp Smucker’s natural peanut butter has 16g fat, but just 2.5g are saturated fat.)

As with most of these higher-protein bars, the carbohydrate count is a little low – just 22g total carbs in this bar. (Energy bars, like the Powerbar Performance bar, contain about 44g carbs for a big energy boost.)

There are numerous vitamins and minerals, at least.

But with all the ingredients, we’re bound to find some that are less than spectacular. For example: high maltose corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup, cream, caramel color.

Like I said, that’s not quite “bare.”

My final verdict is…

The Balance Bare bar has a good taste, and I would be willing to eat these for enjoyment. It makes a good recovery bar for post-ride when you want that sweet and salty taste.

But… It contains quite a few processed ingredients though, so I wouldn’t eat too many. At a price comparable to other energy bars which are healthier, I doubt I’d buy these Balance Bare bars again. (Partly because of the unhealthy ingredients, and partly because Balance tries to make you think the bar doesn’t contain unhealthy ingredients, thanks to the “Bare” name.)

So yeah, it tastes pretty good, but it’s not the healthiest bar out there. I’d go for a SoLo GI bar instead.

Official website: Balance.com

Product Review Details
Company: Balance Bar
Product: Balance BARE Nutrition Energy Bar
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 3.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2008-09-10
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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2 Comments
  1. future product review notifications?

  2. @john
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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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Hometown, PA