Whether you’re an athlete, a high-performing professional or a busy parent...
As a busy CEO, coach, professional athlete, international speaker, and top 100 podcast host—I needed a bar that would meet the intense demands of my lifestyle, while also satisfying my strict nutrition and purity requirements. I’m happy to say, THIS IS IT.
I used to be an energy and “health” bar addict.
For years you could find me munching on some kind of massive, forearm-sized protein bar while wandering out of the gym after weightlifting, or consuming 2-3 energy bars an hour on a long bike ride. And I always made sure to have a satiating, “healthy” bar tucked away for emergencies.
After years of habitually eating so many low-quality protein bars, I started having elevated blood sugar, gut rot, energy swings and toxins present in my blood tests.
I wanted answers, so I dove into the research and found out why I had these symptoms and why so many other folks who depend on health bars end up battling weight gain, poor energy levels, bloating, gas, constipation and more.
What I’m about to share is the inside scoop on all the most alarming things I discovered in my research about protein bars — and exactly how I’ve solved every single issue in the formulation of my own bar.
Here’s the quick and dirty list of reasons:
Can you see why I was so motivated to attack the energy bar problem?
The story begins with a man named David.
David discovered some pretty shocking issues when, after developing “The Charlie Bar” for kids, he began to look into some of the leading Paleo protein, energy and health bars currently lining the shelves of supplement stores and sitting in the warehouses of internet supplement companies.
During an extensive survey, David shockingly found that many of the leading Paleo bars have a sugar content similar to Snickers and Three Musketeers candy bars (which happen to be complete insulin and blood-sugar spiking bombs of excess calories).
That’s right: their sugar content was often as high as 28 grams per bar!
But his survey revealed that the problems with the modern energy bar industry went way beyond sugar and excess calories.
For instance, in order to be “low carb” many bars are high in IMOs (short for isomalto-oligosaccharide), which is marketed as a “prebiotic dietary fiber”. Bars made with IMO often include over 15 grams.
The problem, despite industry claims, is that IMO is definitely not calorie-free, but instead contains about 2.7 to 3.3 calories per gram. Plus, it absolutely can spike insulin and cause some nasty digestive issues!
After learning all this, and not finding a single energy bar I would happily eat myself, give to my family or recommend to my audience—I asked David to help me create the ultimate clean energy bar.
To my delight, David said yes.
"As a fat-adapted athlete, I was on a quest to find a bar that didn’t spike my insulin and also didn’t taste like flavored chalk. That quest has ended. These bars powered me through my last Ironman, and will be a key part of my next 24-hour run. And if anyone asks me why I eat them, I can point them to the podcast where their creator walks through each ingredient. GENIUS!" - Jay E.
Here is the criteria I established for David right out of the gate for the bar I wanted that would surpass every other bar ever created:
David had never had anyone put such an ambitious list of requirements before him. But he was up for the challenge.
The first thing we needed to address was the ingredient everyone starts with: protein.
Admit it: when you look at a bar, I bet either the first or second thing you look at is protein content. And for good reason, because protein and amino acids are what allow an energy bar to enhance recovery, satiety and muscle-building.
The big question I had to tackle here was this: how can a bar provide adequate amino acids for recovery without spiking insulin and glucose, or creating mTor and longevity issues from excess protein intake?
Furthermore, and perhaps just as important, is the question of how to pack protein into a bar without introducing allergenic, cheap or GMO ingredients, like soy protein isolate or whey protein isolate.
Our research first pointed us to gelatin.
You see, grass-fed gelatin is highly bioavailable, provides a full spectrum of long-chain amino acids for muscle support, and serves as the building blocks of connective tissues, such as bones, cartilage, skin, and tendons.
In addition to gelatin, another fantastic and allergen-free protein source is something called “kaniwa”, a close cousin of quinoa that is often referred to as baby quinoa.
Kaniwa is a high-density, plant-based protein that contains more protein than quinoa but, like quinoa, is a “perfect” protein, in that it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. It is also a good source of flavonoids, which help prevent oxidation — meaning it doesn’t require preservatives to keep it stable.
In addition to grass-fed gelatin and organic kaniwa, I decided to add pea protein to the bar. Not only is this a plant-based protein, but unlike peas or legumes themselves, it is very low in gut-irritating lectins, while also remaining a complete, allergen-free protein.
When combined with the tasty and nutrient dense white chia seeds you’re about to learn more about, grass-fed gelatin, organic kaniwa and pea protein pack a flavorful and protein-packed punch that result in an energy bar with optimized protein levels, minimal preservatives, and amazing mouth-feel and flavor.
"Best tasting health bar on the market. Real food! Real nutrition! Great job, Ben!" - Jill M.
I definitely wanted to minimize the amount of carbohydrate and sugar in this bar, to create a low-carbohydrate, higher-in-healthy-fats bar—without the excess protein that most bars have.
But I also wanted to do this without necessarily creating a bar that was fully “ketogenic” (which can create what feels like an indigestible rock sitting in your stomach, especially for people who are eating the bar during exercise).
The first fat source I discovered was white chia seeds. This special form of chia can deliver up to 25 grams of protein per 100 grams, the same as steak — and contains even higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Chia also has a long history as an energy food.
In fact, Aztec warriors ate chia seeds to give them energy and increase their endurance (chia seeds were known as “runners food” because runners and warriors would use them as fuel when running long distances or during battle). They claimed that a single spoonful of chia seeds could sustain them for 24 hours.
The next fat source turned out to be almonds. Loaded with protein, healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and antioxidants, almonds support performance and satiety while adding a crunchy texture. Their high oleic acid content makes them perfect for nervous system and cell membrane support.
In addition to white chia seeds and almonds, my next obvious fat source – to enhance everything from antioxidant levels to cognitive performance to blood flow to flavor and more – was, of course, chocolate.
I began with chocolate liquor as the next key fat source, which is a low-processed chocolate that is equal parts cocoa butter and cocoa solids (commonly thought of as cooking chocolate and far lower in sugar than other commercial forms of chocolate).
Next, I added a touch of cocoa butter for healthy, energy-stabilizing saturated fats and cocoa powder for extra flavor and antioxidants.
Then I moved on to one of my favorite superfoods of all time: cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs are packed full of fiber (a single ounce of cocoa nibs has a whopping 9g of fiber to keep your digestive system running smoothly), contain tons of antioxidants, boatloads of magnesium (a single ounce of cocoa nibs has 64 milligrams of magnesium in it), potassium (more per ounce than bananas), are chock-full of iron and are a wonderful mood enhancer (cocoa works wonders on your neurotransmitters).
Last but not least, they add a rich chocolatey flavor that makes this bar beyond delicious.
The final source of fat is another one of my favorites: coconut flakes – which are extremely nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Once thought of as unhealthy, after being labeled a “high saturated fat” food, we now know that the fat in coconut flakes is different than most other fats.
Not only is it an extremely stable saturated fat that will not turn rancid at high heat, like vegetable oils – a common ingredient in most energy bars – but it is also an extremely rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These are burned easily as a slow-release form of fuel and do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats (instead, they are sent straight to the liver and converted into energy and ketones).
Now let’s talk carbs and why I chose honey as the primary carbohydrate source and sweetener in this bar.
After all, several folks I have handed the bar to have raised their eyebrow at the organic honey on the ingredient label, assuming it’s an “unhealthy carb.”
In reality, organic honey is the perfect sweetener in a bar that is not designed to be a ketogenic or high-protein bar per se, but instead a higher-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb energy bar.
Why? First, studies have shown that honey is far, far different than sugar, and there is now plenty of clinical research proving these significant differences.
For example, one double-blind, randomized clinical study titled, “Effect of honey versus sucrose on appetite, appetite-regulating hormones, and post-meal thermogenesis” published in 2010 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, compared the effects of honey or sugar on appetite hormones (ghrelin, peptide YY) and glycemic and thermic effects after a meal, in 14 healthy, non-obese women.
The research concluded that consumption of honey is not associated with the same obesogenic (obesity increasing) effects as sugar — and, in fact, there may be "obesity protective" effects from honey consumption.
In addition, the organic honey used in this bar is also extremely nutrient dense—it contains digestive enzymes, B vitamins, antioxidants, prebiotics and probiotics.
12 Bars per Box
In addition to protein, there’s one other important recovery component that you must look for in an energy bar: high sources of natural, full-spectrum antioxidants without high amounts of synthetic antioxidants (the latter have been shown to actually blunt the physiological response to strength training!)
The inclusion of antioxidants can help block free radical damage caused by everything from excessive exercise to pollution and toxins to stress and lack of sleep and much more.
The good news is that the total antioxidant capacity created by the unique blend of ingredients in this bar is very high.
The organic honey, almonds, cocoa nibs, kaniwa, white chia seeds and chocolate liquor all contain very high levels of, not only antioxidants but also flavonoids which, like antioxidants, are potent free radical scavengers.
How do you minimize preservatives without requiring a bar to be (quite inconveniently) refrigerated or frozen? In other words, how can a bar be made shelf-stable without turning it into chemical-infused “frankenfuel”?
It turns out that the only preservatives really necessary to make a bar shelf-stable are a few simple ingredients – sea salt, chia seeds, a few choice vitamin E contributors, such as almonds and gelatin, and tocopherols (a family of vitamin E compounds naturally found in foods like nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables).
Sea salt is a classic preservative that humans have used for thousands of years, almonds are dense with tocopherols and vitamin E, a natural preservative due to its antioxidant levels, chia seeds’ overwhelming antioxidant stores allow them to hold up extremely well (two to three years at least) and gut nourishing gelatin is stable over a two year period.
That’s how you give a bar healthy shelf stability with minimal preservatives (and also how you leave me scratching my head about why so many bar companies cut corners with cheap fillers and artificial preservatives).
"Without going over the deep end with superlatives, this is the single best bar I have had and I have tried hundreds. The flavor, texture and convenience are unrivaled. It is now my go to. It’s so densely packed and beautifully balanced between sweet and bitter they really cover all the bases! Thanks for all your hard work into research and development - these will be a staple!" - Patrick J.
One fact that I’m extremely proud of is that every single person I have handed a sample of this bar to has been absolutely astounded by the flavor.
And they have been even more surprised when I’ve revealed that there is no high-fructose corn syrup, no agave syrup (a notoriously highly refined sweetener falsely advertised as natural), none of the arsenic-laced brown rice syrup, none of the acesulfame potassium, none of the sucralose, none of the gas and bloat-inducing sugar alcohols, like erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol, and none of the hydrogenated starch hydrolysates that you normally find in just about every energy bar that exists.
How do you actually make a bar taste so good without adding any of these flavorful but unnatural and nasty taste enhancers?
Allow me to introduce you to a new term: “organoleptics”.
Organoleptic properties are the aspects of food, water or other substances that you experience via any of your senses—taste, sight, smell, and touch. The organoleptics of this bar are incredibly unique.
The combination of organic honey with the slightly bitter cocoa nibs provides a perfect chocolate flavor, while the chocolate liqueur and coconut flakes provide a rich, slightly sweet taste, but all in a very subtle, non-overwhelming way. Then the white chia seeds, kaniwa and almonds provide a natural, nutty crisp.
This means the bar is incredibly flavorful and extremely well put together from a taste, sight, smell and touch standpoint – with zero artificial flavors, no artificial sweeteners and even zero natural flavors (including none of the preservatives, soy, or GMO starch they hide in so-called “healthy” energy bars!).
When I finally finished designing this bar, David readily admitted that my testing process was one of the most rigorous and slightly annoying field tests that he’d ever had to deal with.
After all, I wanted a bar that wouldn’t freeze into a tooth-chipping brick when I was competing in frigid conditions or snowboarding, skiing or hiking in the cold, and also a bar that wouldn’t melt into a giant, greasy pile of nasty hot nuts and seeds when exposed to sun, car heat, saunas or other sweltering conditions.
In David’s words:
”Ben tested this bar differently from any other customer I’ve ever worked with. It took two years to develop it, which is unheard of! One test was that Ben had to stick the bar somewhere in his workout gear (the pouch of his riding shorts) and take the bar out for a three-hour bike ride in 90+ degree heat to test the bar’s durability not to melt.
There is no IMO (isomalto-oligosaccharides) in this bar, or cornstarch holding it together, so I thought it might fail.
But it passed the test! He also stuck it in his sauna for five hours, and took it into 38 degrees below zero in a frigid race in Vermont – and every torturous test he put the bar through kept us refining and tweaking the ingredients until we were sure it would hold up to the most adventurous lifestyle possible.”
My obsession with creating the perfect bar is now your gain.
Because despite the long, rigorous, frustrating process of testing every ingredient blend, variation and formula on the face of the planet, I was able to develop the bar I’ve always dreamed of.
This is a bar that I can not only munch on in my office without spiking my blood sugar levels or getting brain fog from allergens or getting gut rot from fermenting carbohydrates or getting nasty chemical reactions from a host of artificial ingredients, but also a bar that I can take into the most rigorous of conditions for a dose of mouth-watering flavor when I’m suffering in the throes of competition.
In other words, this thing isn’t going to crumble on impact, fall apart, freeze, melt, or create any other frustrating scenario that results in you unwrapping a giant, annoying mess that at one point in its sorry life was some semblance of a “healthy” energy bar.
I know that’s a bold statement. But there’s simply never been an energy bar this meticulously designed from the ground up, with such stringent health, purity, taste and natural stability requirements.
I’m known for being fanatical about what I put into my body.
That’s part of how I’ve stayed healthy through 13 Ironman Triathlons, dozens of Spartan and obstacle competitions, an extreme travel schedule and busy lifestyle.
This is the bar I feel good about eating each day and giving to my wife and kids.
I believe that once you try it, it’s the bar you’ll trust to fuel you and your family in the months and years to come.
I can’t wait to hear how this bar changes your life.