With a name like “Perfect Bar" the standards for this protein bar are immediately set high. Since perfection is subjective, depending on your health goals and taste preferences, the name leaves me with more questions than answers. Who is it perfect for, and why? How is it different from other protein bars? And are Perfect Bars really all that healthy?
To answer these questions, I took a deep dive into Perfect Bars. If you’re considering Perfect Bars for a post-workout snack or breakfast option, keep reading to learn more about their nutrients, key ingredients, and potential health benefits and drawbacks.
What Are Perfect Bars?
Perfect Bars are labeled as “the original refrigerated protein bar”. Unlike other protein bars boxed on a shelf, these require refrigeration to avoid spoilage because they don’t include any artificial preservatives. In addition to maintaining freshness, refrigeration holds their texture and shape, keeping them soft and chewy.
Perfect Bars come in nine flavors ranging from your run-of-the-mill dark chocolate chip peanut butter flavor to more unique flavors like pumpkin pie. These flavors are achieved by combining over 20 ingredients advertised as "superfoods" like celery, kale, kelp, and flaxseed. Keep in mind, there are no specific nutrition qualifications a food must meet to be labeled a superfood.
Perfect Bar Nutrition Breakdown
I’ll be using the dark chocolate chip peanut butter flavored Perfect Bar for this nutrition breakdown, however, the nutrition content of each flavor varies slightly depending on the ingredients.
- Calories: 330
- Total Fat: 20g
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Sodium: 105mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 24g
- Dietary Fiber: 4g
- Total Sugars: 18g
- Added Sugars: 12g
- Protein: 15g
- Iron: 1.1mg
- Calcium: 110mg
- Potassium: 400mg
Snacks typically fall within the range of 150-300 calories. This Perfect Bar includes 330 calories and falls beyond the higher end of this range. The fat content of this bar makes it calorically dense, however, most of the fat content is from heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
Although most of the fat content is unsaturated, the Perfect Bar still contains 4 grams of saturated fat, equating to around 20% of the recommended daily value for someone eating 2000 calories per day. While 4 grams doesn’t sound like a lot, at 20% of the recommended daily value, it is considered a high amount of saturated fat.
With only 105 milligrams of sodium, this protein bar is considered a low-sodium snack. This amount is equal to about 5% of the recommended daily value. For most, it’s best to consume less than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day.
This Perfect Bar contains 24 grams of total carbohydrates. This total includes 4 grams of fiber and 18 grams of sugar (the other 2 grams are from starch). It's fair to say this protein bar is a good source of fiber, as it meets 14% of the recommended daily value.
Out of 18 total grams of sugar, 12 are from added sugar. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 25 grams per day for women. One Perfect Bar contains nearly half of the recommended daily amount.
Finally, this Perfect Bar includes 15 grams of protein. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. To put this into perspective, a 150 lb. woman would need at least 55 grams of protein per day. This protein bar would equate to 27% of her daily protein needs.
Learn more: How much protein per day to lose weight.
Key Ingredients Analysis
According to the Perfect Bar website, the ingredients in the dark chocolate chip peanut butter Perfect Bar are listed as follows:
INGREDIENTS: Peanut Butter*, Honey*, Nonfat Dry Milk*, Dark Chocolate* (Chocolate*†, Cane Sugar*†, Cocoa Butter*†), Dried Whole Egg Powder*, Rice Protein*, Sea Salt, Dried Whole Food Powders (Kale*, Flax Seed*, Rose Hip*, Orange*, Lemon*, Papaya*, Tomato*, Apple*, Alfalfa*, Celery*, Kelp*, Dulse*, Carrot*, Spinach*), Flax Seed Oil*, Sunflower Oil*, Sesame Seed Oil*, Olive Oil*, Pumpkin Seed Oil*.
*Organic †Fair Trade Ingredients
Most of these ingredients are well-known to most. Two that you may be unfamiliar with are dulse and rose hip. Dulse is a type of seaweed that includes protein, fiber, and iodine. Rose hips are the small rounded bulbs under the petals of a rose and are a good source of vitamin C.
Are Perfect Bars Good For You?
At first glance, Perfect Bars have a lot going for them. These protein bars are appealing for the following health reasons.
- Rich in unsaturated fats from nut butter, seeds, and oils that raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
- Good source of fiber, which promotes regular bowel movements, reduces bad cholesterol, and lowers blood sugar following a meal.
- Low in sodium which can help reduce blood pressure.
- Fair protein content from egg powder and rice protein that repairs and builds lean muscle mass.
- Made with many nutrient-packed organic ingredients like kale, papaya, and carrot.
However, upon taking a closer look, there are a couple downsides to the Perfect Bar that raise concerns. These protein bars are unattractive from a health standpoint for the following reasons.
- High in saturated fat which could contribute to elevated bad cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease over time.
- High in added sugar that could contribute to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, elevated blood pressure, weight gain, and fatty liver disease.
Personally, I’m disappointed in the macronutrient distribution of this bar. For a product labeled as a protein bar, I’d expect there to be more protein and fewer carbohydrates and fat.
Although the health benefits list is considerably longer, it doesn’t dismiss the fact that the Perfect Bar is packed with added sugar. The website touts that these products are made with organic honey, which consumers often believe to be healthier than cane sugar. However, honey has a high sugar content, and although it’s made by bees, it’s still considered added sugar.
Considering that peanut butter and honey are listed first on the ingredients list, we know this is where most of the added sugar comes from. Honey is used in the Perfect Bar for flavor and because it’s a natural preservative. I can’t help but wonder how much lower the added sugar content of this bar could be if they used an FDA approved artificial preservative.
Perfect Bars are more of a sweet treat with added nutrients than a health bar. They're a convenient snack made with organic ingredients that will satisfy your hunger and taste buds. I wouldn’t suggest eating a Perfect Bar daily based on its sugar content. There are plenty of other healthy snacks that can provide the energy, protein, and nutrients your body craves, but without the sugar crash later on.
Are They Good For Dieting?
Convenience health foods appeal to many looking to easily implement more nutritious foods into their diet. For this reason, labels on these foods can be misleading. Perfect Bars are labeled with trendy health-food buzzwords like “superfoods” and “organic”. Dieters often assume products with these marketing terms will improve their physical health and diet.
Changing your diet and eating more nutrient-rich foods often requires some meal planning and prepping. Choosing protein bars lower in sugar and saturated fat can fit into a healthy diet, but these products are harder to come by and aren’t always as appetizing.
Perfect Bars are not the best choice if you’re dieting goals include reducing your sugar and saturated fat intake.
Can They Help You Lose Weight?
The Perfect Bar is not a weight loss bar. Losing weight requires your body to be in a caloric deficit. If you track your macros or calories, a Perfect Bar could fit into a diet that leaves you in a caloric deficit.
Compared to many other protein bars and snack options, Perfect Bars are higher in calories. With this in mind, there are alternative high-protein options lower in calories that may be better suited for weight loss.
Who Might Perfect Bars Be a Good Fit For?
Perfect Bars are a good fit for anyone who prioritizes quality, whole-food ingredient products without artificial preservatives. Honey is used as a natural preservative and emulsifier that binds dried fruit, vegetables, and ground nut butter together. This is a good option if you prefer fresh foods with a short shelf-life over shelf-stable choices with artificial preservatives.
These protein bars are USDA certified organic, so if you value eating organic foods, these could be a good choice. Organic ingredients in Perfect Bars are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which may be appealing if you prefer ingredients closest to their naturally occurring form.
Lastly, Perfect Bars are gluten-free. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, these protein bars are an appropriate option to avoid uncomfortable symptoms.
Who Should Avoid Perfect Bars?
Consider other high-protein bars, shakes, or snacks if you are monitoring your sugar intake. Added sugar contributes to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. If you are managing or proactively trying to prevent any of these conditions, there are plenty of other satisfying options better for blood sugar control.
Excess saturated fat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. If you are monitoring your saturated fat intake, you may want to choose snack options with 5% or less of the recommended daily value for saturated fat.
What Are Some Alternatives?
Whole foods that are high in protein include:
- Nuts and seeds
Wrapping Up: Are Perfect Bars a Healthy Protein Bar Option?
Perfect bars are refrigerated protein bars made with organic, nutrient-dense ingredients, known for their sweet taste and chewy consistency. They are free of artificial preservatives, GMOs, and gluten.
Perfect bars contain a fair amount of protein and are a good source of fiber, but they are high in saturated fat and added sugars. These protein bars are fine occasionally but not the best choice for a daily snack due to their sugar and fat content.
If you’re looking for a protein bar or post-workout snack you can rely on frequently, consider other options lower in added sugars and saturated fat.