Powerbar review – why I only have one favourite
Product test

Powerbar review – why I only have one favourite

Siri Schubert
9.10.2023
Translation: Eva Francis

I like to eat natural and healthy foods. However, I don’t always succeed, especially when travelling. To make sure I get the protein an athlete needs, I’ve tested three protein bars by Powerbar. Yet, only one convinced me.

In the last two weeks, I was on the road a lot – here a city trip to Hamburg, there a research trip to Lausanne and Fribourg. Squeezing my running training in was difficult enough. Instead of jogging on gently rolling trails, I reeled off a few kilometres on the treadmill. What was even harder was sticking to my diet plan. I struggled especially when it comes to proteins. After all, eating a pack of tofu – aka edible plaster stone – on the go isn’t really my thing. Therefore, I was glad to have a range of protein bars by Powerbar with me.

Natural Protein’s my favourite

PowerBar Natural Protein (Banana, Chocolate, 1 pcs., 40 g)
Quantity discount
2.50 per piece for 4 units 62.50/1kg

PowerBar Natural Protein

Banana, Chocolate, 1 pcs., 40 g

PowerBar Natural Protein (Banana, Chocolate, 1 pcs., 40 g)
Sports nutrition
Quantity discount
2.50 per piece for 4 units 62.50/1kg

PowerBar Natural Protein

Banana, Chocolate, 1 pcs., 40 g

Since I like nuts as a source of protein, I was particularly keen to try the Natural Protein bars. I tested the flavours Chocolate Nuts. There’s also Banana Chocolate and Salted Peanuts. With 30 per cent protein from peanuts, soya beans, hazelnuts and chocolate, it provides just the mix of protein and carbohydrates I need as an athlete. One bar offers me 12 g of protein. Most recommendations say athletes need to eat 1.2 – 1.6 g of protein per kg of body weight every day. For me, that’s at least 72 g. In other words, one bar already gives me 16 per cent of my daily recommended protein intake. Not bad for a snack.

On top of proteins, the bar contains 14 g of carbohydrates (including 7.4 g of sugar) and 9.5 g of fat, adding up to 189 calories. That’s about as much as a chocolate bar, which sounds much, but then again, it’s made for active people with high calorie needs. After a workout, I find the bar really tasty. With an afternoon coffee, it could pass for a cake or cookie substitute even on rest days.

Vegan sounds good, but tastes very sweet and artificial

PowerBar Protein Plus Low Sugar Vegan (Chocolate, Banana, 12 pcs., 504 g)
25.90 51.39/1kg

PowerBar Protein Plus Low Sugar Vegan

Chocolate, Banana, 12 pcs., 504 g

PowerBar Protein Plus Low Sugar Vegan (Chocolate, Banana, 12 pcs., 504 g)
Sports nutrition
25.90 51.39/1kg

PowerBar Protein Plus Low Sugar Vegan

Chocolate, Banana, 12 pcs., 504 g

«Protein, vegan and low sugar» – right up my street, is what I thought when I looked at the next Powerbar bar I tested. At 10 g, it’s not as protein-rich as the Natural Protein bar, but it also has fewer calories and less fat – only 6.7 g. In terms of macronutrients, it all sounds good. But now comes the catch: the bar contains sugar substitutes in the form of polyhydric alcohols. These don’t in the slightest have the effect of drinking alcohol, but share a similar chemical structure. In my opinion, the taste is really off-putting. As soon as I open the package, I’m met with an artificial smell that turns into a strange taste on my tongue when I bite into it. Then I spot the disclaimer on the package saying that excessive consumption can have a laxative effect. Right, this bar’s dismissed. The last thing I want on a run or on a city trip are gastrointestinal complaints.

The Powerbar Ride Energy

PowerBar Ride (Peanut, Caramel, 1 pcs., 55 g)
Quantity discount
1.95 per piece for 4 units 35.45/1kg

PowerBar Ride

Peanut, Caramel, 1 pcs., 55 g

PowerBar Ride (Peanut, Caramel, 1 pcs., 55 g)
Sports nutrition
Quantity discount
1.95 per piece for 4 units 35.45/1kg

PowerBar Ride

Peanut, Caramel, 1 pcs., 55 g

This bar is intended to serve as a quick source of energy during sports, especially for long distances. It contains magnesium, which many athletes like to take as a dietary supplement – even if the scientific evidence doesn’t support the effectiveness of magnesium for cramps. This bar’s rather high in fibre, which isn’t ideal for endurance training, as you don’t want to keep your body busy with extra digestive work on a long run or bike ride. While the protein content of 10 per cent isn’t bad, the bar’s 224 calories places it in the upper-middle range. If you move a lot, you need a lot of calories, so I’m fine with that. However, what I’m not fine with is how sweet it tastes. The Ride Energy bar contains 14 g of sugar plus polyhydric alcohols as sweeteners and is definitely too sweet for my palate. In addition, it can have a laxative effect and cause flatulence. Again, that’s not what I want.

My verdict: I only like the bar with natural ingredients

Of all three Powerbar bars tested, the Natural Protein bar is my clear favourite. Thanks to its natural ingredients, it’s well tolerated and tastes much better than the others. It comes closest to my usual diet. The other two bars, the Energy Ride and the Protein+Vegan+Low in Sugars aren’t for me because of the polyhydric alcohols they contain and because I don’t like their taste. If you enjoy a very sweet protein bar, you might like them. But I don’t.

Header image: Siri Schubert

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Research diver, outdoor guide and SUP instructor – I love being in, on and around water. Lakes, rivers and the ocean are my playgrounds. For a change of perspective, I look at the world from above while trail running or flying drones.


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