IQ Bar Review

IQ Bar Review

I’m always on the lookout for a good energy bar. I’ve written about many great bars I’ve found over the last couple years ranging from cricket protein bars like Exo or Chapul, or egg white protein bars like RXBARs, or even typical animal protein bars like Wilde. There are so many bars coming out nowadays that are geared towards Whole30/Paleo/Primal people and it can be pretty exhausting to decide on which bar to spend your money on. The most recent bar I saw when I was on Instagram was actually for a crowdfunding campaign for a bar call IQ Bar.

IQ Bar Review

The image and description grabbed my attention so I quickly went over to their page to read all about these new bars. What I read really intrigued me so I immediately reached out to the owner to see if I could do a review of their bars and he was more than willing!

As always we will be reviewing these bars for: Nutritional Profile, Affordability, Taste. Let’s get to it!

Nutritional Profile

IQ Bar Review
Now when it comes to what these bars are composed of, these guys really get it. I can’t even attempt to go into the science of exactly how great these bars myself, because their crowdfunding page really breaks down the nutritional information for each of these bars and what their goals were. In a nutshell it’s this: too many bars are full of sugar that lead you to a sugar crash not too long after you eat them – but IQ Bars are low carb/high fat (YES!) that will provide you with enough energy without the sugar crash to follow. Please turn your attention to their video that explains their bars and goals in more detail:

So these bars sound pretty great right? That’s because they are. The problem I have with all the Larabar or Nutri-Grain type bars is that there is just way too much sugar and not enough fat! We need more fat, and that’s what these bars provide – more fat and less sugar. One thing to notice about these particular bars that’s different from the rest of the bars I’ve reviewed is that they’re not “protein” bars. That’s ok though because that’s not their market – their market is to go against what I just mentioned was the high carb/low fat bars. So if you’re in need of protein in addition to these bars maybe hit up a hard boiled egg or something.

IQ Bar Review

Let’s take a look at the highlights of these bars nutritional breakdown as listed on their site:

IQ Bars are the first and only nutrition bars optimized for the brain. They’re drastically different than other bars for three main reasons:

  1. IQ Bars are low in net carbs (~8g/bar), high in healthy fats, and packed with 5 brain-critical nutrients.
  2. Our ingredient list is short, and contains 100% all-natural inputs. No ingredients that start with “X”!
  3. IQ Bars comply with vegan, Paleo, Whole 30, low-carb, and kosher diets, and have ZERO grains, gluten, GMO’s, dairy, soy, or added sugar.

Now these are just the highlights of the nutrition in these bars, they have even more complex science on their indiegogo page that goes way more into detail of why low carb/high fat is the preferred nutritional profile for our bodies. I’ve written about how this fits into my primal lifestyle here as well.

IQ Bar Review

Let’s look at IQ Bar Blueberry Walnut compared to say a Larabar and something even worse like a Nutri-Grain bar:

IQ Bar Blueberry Walnut
Total Fat: 14g
Total Carbohydrate: 21g (Dietary Fiber 12g, Sugars 8g)
Protein: 4g
Ingredients: Blueberries, Walnuts, Coconut Flakes, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Dates, Cacao Nibs, Cacao Powder, Chia Seeds, Chicory Root Fiber, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Larabar Blueberry Muffin
Total Fat: 8g
Total Carbohydrate: 26g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 17g)
Protein: 4g
Ingredients: Dates, Cashews, Unsweetened Blueberries, Blueberry Juice Concentrate, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Vanilla Extract.

Nutri-Grain Blueberry
Total Fat: 3g
Total Carbohydrate: 24g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 12g)
Protein: 2g
Ingredients: Filling (High Fructose Corn Syrup, Blueberry Preserves [High Fructose Corn Syrup, Blueberries], Corn Syrup, Glycerin, Fructose, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Water, Natural and Artificial Blueberry Flavor, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Alginate, Calcium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Modified Cellulose, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Red No. 40, Blue No. 1), Enriched Wheat Flour, Whole Oats, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Honey, Calcium Carbonate, Dextrose, Nonfat Dry Milk, Wheat Bran, Salt, Cellulose Gum, Leavening (Potassium Bicarbonate), Natural and Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin A Palmitate, Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1) and Folic Acid.

Now looking at just those labels really tells a story. What do we see? Well, we see IQ Bars are far superior nutritionally to the alternatives. Larabars have one thing going for them and that’s that they use real food and their ingredients aren’t weird, but they will still leave you possibly with a sugar crash after you have one. Then if you look at the Nutri-Grain bar it’s absolutely embarrassing. They’re just full of sugar, a ton of ingredients and low fat. Their own website even prides themselves on how low fat they are: Kellogg’s nutri-grain cereal bars, blueberry is made up of low fat, whole grain oats, naturally and artificially flavored. All that really means is “these bars will leave you with a sugar crash after eating this low fat snack bar”.

To really sum it up for the nutritional aspect of these bars is that they’re far superior to anything sold in the stores today on the “energy bar” shelves and I can’t wait to see these in stores all over the country (or world).

Affordability

IQ Bars
Now I normally compare products to one another based on their affordability but that’s kinda hard to do this time around because these bars are only available on their crowdfunding pages. I will list the prices here just for consistency with the other reviews I’ve done, but maybe once these bars are more commercially available (hopefully!) I’ll come back and update this section.

IQ Bar Blueberry Walnut
Price per bar: $2.66 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $32.00 (subscription)
Ingiegogo Link

Larabar Blueberry Muffin
Price per bar: $0.99
Price per 16 bar box: $15.99
Amazon Link

Nutri-Grain Blueberry
Price per bar: $0.25
Price per 48 bar box: $12.00
Amazon Link

Ok now obviously the alternative is going to be cheaper but you know what? The 12 bar box price of the IQ Bars is exactly the same as my favorite protein bars Exo:

Exo Cocoa Nut
Price per bar: $2.66 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $32.00 (subscription)
Exo Link

Sooo, that gives me hope that when the IQ Bars are commercially available I’ll have no problem justifying the cost since I’m already acustom to paying that much for a quality product that will sustain me for hours on end.

Why are the other bars so cheap you might ask? Good question and one I’ve answered in other reviews but it’s simple really – you’re paying for quality, real, whole food ingredients. Nutri-Grain bars are cheap because they use grains and corn syrup. Larabars are getting down there in cost even though they use great ingredients because they’re more widely available, driving cost down I’m sure, and because their ingredients aren’t particularly expensive either. Albeit Larabars’ ingredients aren’t as inexpensive as Nutri-Grain’s ingredients – their ingredients are the cheap of the cheap.

Taste

IQ Bar Review
I’m so stoked that Will was able to send me some samples so I could really get a taste of what these bars have to offer. There are two things about IQ Bars that really stuck out and that I love: They’re not too sweet and they’re satiating. Which is the whole point. The perfect dose of fat to get you through an afternoon or morning, and low enough carbs to not give you a sugar crash. Now onto the taste!

Matcha Hazelnut
IQ Bar Matcha Hazelnut
Very strong coconut flavor at the beginning. Then you get used to it and start noticing the other flavors. Super chewy and didn’t hurt my jaw. Thank you God. I love RXBARs but literally my jaw is sore after I eat them. Not with these though. The texture was on point and the flavor was subtle but pleasant. Not too sweet but just enough little hint of sweetness for me. A little matcha at the end lingers in your mouth. Nice random chunks of hazelnut too that gave the bar a nice crunch.

Almond Cacao
IQ Bar Almond Cacao
Very nice chocolatey taste. Good texture with larger random almond chunks. Not too sweet, just the right amount of sweetness for me. Reminded me of just a really good chocolate cookie that was barely sweetened. Definitely left me feeling full after eating it. Subtle coconut flavor too in there.

Blueberry Walnut
IQ Bar Blueberry walnut
This one was probably my favorite. It has a very strong blueberry flavor, obviously. But not too overpowering. All these bars have the same level of sweetness, which I love. The flavor actually really reminded me of the flavor of the blueberry Exo bar albeit less sweet and less crickety flour taste. This bar really was satiating.

Conclusion

Conclusion
I see a near future where my pantry is full of boxes of my favorite protein bar Exo and my new next favorite energy bar IQ Bars. Allowing me the option of getting a more rounded meal replacement with Exo or allowing me to get a dose of long lasting energy via IQ Bars. I suggest you go back these IQ Bars right now while you still have the chance and like I’ve said multiple times I can’t wait until I can pick a giant pack of these up at Costco. Thanks Will for giving me a sneak peek at these amazing energy bars!

Click here to order some IQ Bars

Exo Savory Bars Review

Exo Savory Bars Review

What would you do if you got an email from your favorite cricket bar company telling you that they’ve made some new flavors that have less sugar, are more savory and still have tons of crickets? You order a whole box of course. Well, I’m not sure you would do that but that’s what I did. Now I’ve already written a bunch about these bars in the past and even compared them to other protein bars so this review won’t be as in depth because these bars still contain all the goodness of their original flavors, nutritionally speaking, but have slightly different ingredients. You can read my other review here.

I do love that Exo went down this road because it really was the only way to improve an already amazing protein bar. In the past we already discovered that they had a good amount of fat, which is great, a good amount of protein, which is also great, but they still had about as much carbs as a banana – which isn’t bad but if you’re looking for a low carb protein bar solution for your morning, their existing flavors might of not suited you. Well, these new savory flavors should suit any person following a Paleo low carb diet. With only 5g–6g of sugar, these bars fit the bill perfectly. Now let’s get into the 3 categories: Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste.

Exo Savory Bars Review

Nutritional Profile

Let’s just take a look at my favorite of their new flavors: Mango Curry. All of their new flavors only have 5g–6g of sugar and 11g of protein. They are all more or less the same fat/carb/protein ratios.

Exo Mango Curry
Total Fat: 17g
Total Carbohydrate: 22g (Dietary Fiber 12g, Sugars 6g)
Protein: 11g
Ingredients: Almonds, Chicory Root Fiber, Cricket Flour (Acheta Domestics, Gryllodes sigillatus), Tahini, Coconut, Mango, Prunes, Puffed Rice, Coconut Milk Powder, Tamarind, Sea Salt, Natural Mango Flavor, Spices.

As we can see there is still a good amount of fat and protein and they slimmed down the sugar from 13g (Cocoa Nut) to 6g. This is great especially if you’re trying to avoid a glucose spike after one of these bars, though I doubt the alternative of 16g sugar will give that to you. Nevertheless it’s nice to have an option of less sugar in one of these bars especially when their competitor Chapul has 25g sugar!

This bar is the only one of their new flavors that has puffed rice, which isn’t a problem for me digestive wise. I occasionally eat white rice so rice isn’t a problem. The puffed rice does add a slight crunch to the bar which is a nice texture addition.

Affordability

Right now you can get a variety pack for $36 that contains 12 bars, 4 of each new flavor.

Exo Savory Variety Box
Price per bar: $3
Price per 12 bar box: $36.00

These bars are still brand new and they may be refining the flavors before they put these in their regular store. So there is no subscription option yet. I’m sure there will be a subscription option when they nail these down as final flavors. But even at $3 a bar, that’s not that bad for a whole food bar that’s low in sugar and high in fat. Perfect for sustaining you through a day at Disneyland or picking you up in the morning after or before a workout.

Taste

Now this is where things went a little south for me. I wanted to love every one of these bars because by nature I love salty things over sweet things. So the idea of these bars sounded really good. As I kept trying each flavor though, I began to dislike each one and always compared it to the one I actually did like which was the Mango Curry. Let me explain.

Exo Mango Curry
Mango Curry
This was the first one I tried and I loved it. The texture was great and the saltiness and slight sweetness was spot on. It had a very distinct meaty flavor. I don’t know how else to describe it other than that. It was just a taste that was almost beef jerky like in taste. This bar was a win in my book.

Exo Mediterranean
Mediterranean
This was the next bar I tried and I didn’t love it as much as the Mango Curry. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad tasting or anything – It just wasn’t as good as the Mango Curry. It was almost too subtle in flavor. Still contained that meaty flavor but lacked the texture and slight spiciness of the Mango Curry.

Exo Barbecue
Barbecue
This was the last one I ate, and I have to be honest – It was terrible. Not because of the crickets, but because of the actual barbecue flavor. It was almost overwhelmingly barbecued flavored. It was a nice flavor of barbecue but it was just too much of it. I literally had a hard time finishing the bar, which was a bummer because this was the one bar that I wanted to love. It just sounded so perfect – barbecue crickets. Hopefully they can dial in this flavor before it hits prime time.

Conclusion

So I know I didn’t love all the bars, but that’s ok because all I needed to love was just one flavor, like how I love the Cocoa Nut one so much. Now I have the perfect low sugar companion to my Cocoa Nut bar – Mango Curry. Once again, thank you Exo for making great protein bars with real food.

Buy some for yourself:
Exo Savory Variety Box