Raising the Bar

Running Times October 2005

Tired of the normal energy bar fare? Have no fear new companies are entering the market every year, offering an ever-broader array of choices. Two of the newest entries are interesting in that they come from opposite ends of the food spectrum. PROBAR® is the creation of Art Eggertsen, a former nutrition lobbyist in Washington, DC, while the Marathon Energy bars are the product of Snickers a company better known for chocolate than nutritional sensibility.

When you pick up a PROBAR®, you may notice that there’s no flavor label on the wrapper. Billed as an endurance, recovery, and meal replacement bar, it comes in just one variety. Similarly, there’s no long list of chemicals in the ingredients. Being able to recognize everything that goes into the bar, from the first ingredient (a ‘tropical mix’ of fruits and nuts) to the last (raw organic sesame seeds), was a pleasant surprise.

Even if you’re used to eating anything and everything, don’t be scared off by the ‘100% vegan’ claim. The PROBAR® is surprisingly tasty a great departure from the uniform flavor of many bars. And the hefty 3 ounces and 350 calories, it makes a great guilt-free snack or post-run refreshment.

Snickers entered the market in 2003 with the Marathon Energy bar. They’ve since expanded the line to include protein and low-carb bars. Most recently they’ve added an energy bar that’s fortified for women.

The Marathon Energy bar offers the same quantity of carbs as the PROBAR®, while weighing in at half the size. The makeup of the calories is where the two diverge: 40 percent of PROBAR’s calories come from poly-and mono-unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids perfect for endurance athletes who deplete themselves of carbohydrates and begin burning fats. In contrast, the Marathon Energy bar provides nearly twice as much carbohydrates per ounce, while also boasting an impressive variety of vitamins and minerals including substantial doses of vitamin A, vitamin c, calcium, iron, and many others.