Among the ever-growing number of sports nutrition brands, PowerBar is one of the originals, with a wide range of bars, gels, drinks and other products – including this Natural Protein bar. It's tasty, healthy and designed to help muscles recover after exercise.
The PowerBar Natural Protein Bar's main ingredients include soya beans, peanuts, almonds and peas, which are all sources of protein. Most sports scientists agree that you need protein to help muscles recover after exercise. In a cycling context, this means if your muscles recover well after training or racing, then you're stronger or faster, or just more comfortable, the next time you ride your bike.
Unlike PowerBar's other protein bars (and protein bars from many other brands), the Natural Protein Bar does not contain milk or any animal products, and therefore is good for vegans.
The Natural Protein Bar comes in two flavours: salty peanut crunch, where other ingredients include pumpkin seeds and vanilla extract; and blueberry nuts, where other ingredients include cranberries and – you guessed it – blueberries.
A 40g peanut crunch bar gives you 12g of protein, along with 12g of carb and 9g of fat. The blueberry bar has the same amount of protein, with more fat and less carb.
In texture the bar is like a normal cereal bar; slightly crunchy, but not too hard. Certainly no danger of breaking a tooth as you tuck in. As the names imply, salty peanut bar tastes more savoury, whereas the blueberry bar is a bit sweeter, although the flavour isn't overpowering (which is a good thing) and the bar isn't over-sweet or sticky. Both flavours taste very good indeed and go well with a cup of tea after a hard ride or turbo session, and on that basis they're recommended.
On cost, a single Natural Protein Bar's official retain price is £1.50. Compared against similar - but not vegan - bars from other brands this is fair, although not an absolute bargain. For example, High5 protein bars (50g) official RRP £1.70, ZipVit protein bars (65g) around £1.75. However, most bars are discounted if you buy in bulk, and you can buy a box of 24 Natural Protein Bars for around £30, and even as low as £23, at the usual on-line stores.
As with all nutrition products, you should try a bar or two when you're not training hard, and not the day before a big ride, just to make sure the ingredients agree with you personally and have no ill effects on the stomach. Then, if you like the PowerBar Natural Protein Bar, stick with it. If you don't, then try something else.
Tasty protein bar designed to help muscle recovery after training or racing
road.cc test report
Make and model: Powerbar Natural Protein
Size tested: 40g, Salty Peanut Crunch
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This is a nutrition product, high in protein, designed to help your muscles recover well after training or racing.
The PowerBar website says: "Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet and an important building block for your muscles. When you have been active and particularly after exercise or gym sessions, your muscles need protein for growth and maintenance. PowerBar Natural Protein is a high quality, protein bar with the best, natural ingredients – it is ideal for athletes and those who lead an active life. It provides you with 30% protein in an innovative format: crunchy like a cereal bar, lactose free, vegan and made with natural ingredients. Ideal to support training adaptations after exercising. It also tastes great as a snack in between meals as it is important to consume protein regularly during the day for best results."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The PowerBar website goes on to list the following highlights:
* 30% high-quality vegan protein ... to support muscle growth and maintenance
* With well-chosen, high quality and natural ingredients
* No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives (acc. to law)
Performance is very good, in that the bars taste great and have no ill effects.
Value is fair when compared to similar products.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Whether these bars helped my muscles recover any faster than another brand's protein bar, or indeed a bowl of muesli, is impossible to say. As mentioned in the main review, when most cyclists choose a nutrition product, a lot comes down to taste, texture and whether the product sits comfortably in the stomach. On that basis performance is very good, in that the bars taste great and have no ill effects.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, especially if they were vegan.
Use this box to explain your score
Overall, these bars would score a 9 based on the flavour and ingredients, but the price is not especially good value (though on a par with similar products), so that docks a point, giving an overall score of 8.
About the tester
Age: 53 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 10.5 stone / 69kg
I usually ride: an old aluminium Marin Alp for audax riding and winter training, an old steel Jensen for tootling and commuting, a steel Cotswo My best bike is: an old classic carbon Giant Cadex for sportives
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Trail riding, gravel 'racing', rough-stuff, CX sportives (and anything off road on a road bike)