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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Amazing Grass Energy Bar > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron

Amazing Grass Energy Bars


Test series by Kathryn Doiron
Initial Report: Apr 10, 2009

Long Term Report: July 22, 2009


Image of Amazing Grass bars - Original
Image from Amazing Grass website



Personal Information:
Name: Kathryn Doiron
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 8" (1.7 m)
Weight: 150 lb (68 kg)
Email: kdoiron 'at' gmail 'dot' com
Location: Washington DC, USA

Brief Background: I started backpacking and hiking seriously almost four years ago. Most of my miles have been logged in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have recently finished 1200+ miles (2000+ km) of the Appalachian Trail. My style is to be as light as possible while not spending a fortune. My pack weight tends to hover around 25 lbs (11 kg) with two days of food and 16 oz (0.5 L) of water. I have recently started getting into winter hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking.


Product Information:


Manufacturer: Amazing Grass
Website: http://www.AmazingGrass.com/
MSRP: $35.99 per case of 12 bars
Weight: (stated) 2.1 oz (60 g)
Weight: (actual) 2.1 oz (60 g) (averaged from two weighed bars)
Flavours available: Original and Chocolate

Nutritional Facts:
Further nutritional facts can be found on the manufacturers website, below is the nutritional facts for the Original flavour bar, the Chocolate flavour bar appears to contains more ingredients.
    - 230 calorie bar
    - 8 grams of fat (healthy omegas)
    - 4 grams of fiber
    - 5 grams of protein
    - 25 grams of sugar (naturally from fruits and agave)
    - 35 grams of carbohydrates


Ingredient List:
Organic Dates, Organic Dark Chocolate Coating (Cane Sugar, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Non-GMO Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla Flavor), Organic Agave Nectar, Amazing Grass Green SuperFood (Organic Wheat Grass, Organic Barley Grass, Organic Alfalfa, Organic Spirulina, Organic Spinach, Organic Chlorella, Organic Broccoli, Organic Acai, Organic Maca, Organic Carrot, Organic Beet, Raspberry, Organic Rose Hips, Pineapple, Green Tea, Organic Flax Lignans, L. Adidophilus, Alpha and Beta Amylase, Protease, Lipase, Lactase, Cellulase, Organic Peppermint), Organic Cashews, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Almonds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Dried Cranberries, Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Dried Coconut and Organic Vanilla Extract. Allergy Information: Contains Almonds and Cashews



Initial Report:
April 10th, 2009

I received two cases of the Amazing Grass Energy bars. One case of each flavour. The bars are about the size of a chocolate bar and are firm in texture. The Chocolate bars seem to be like the original bars only they are dipped in chocolate. There are actually some differences between the two bars, both in flavour and ingredients, but in appearance, other than the chocolate coating, they look about the same. Each bar is 230 calories, which is a modest amount of calories for an energy bar. The bars fit nicely within their packaging with a minimal amount of excess packaging.

The bars are made from whole, unprocessed, raw ingredients that are meant to taste good while delivering nutrients that the body needs. The bars contain superfruits and vegetables as well as probiotics and helpful enzymes to aid in digestive health. Superfruits are fruits deemed to contain exceptional nutrient density with antioxidant properties. The website claims that most people are too busy to eat the full 9 servings of fruits and vegetables due to busy schedules and offers this bar as an easy alternative. The bars are supposed to be packed full of fruits and vegetables which can be seen from the ingredient listing, but they neglect to say how many servings of fruits and vegetables are being served up in each bar. The bars are made from the same Amazing Grass Green SuperFood drink powder that the company sells for making juice mixes. On top of being raw, the bars are also gluten free, dairy free, vegan and certified organic by the Pacific Agriculture Certification Society (16-301). They are manufactured in a plant that processes wheat, milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts.

In my personal quest for better health, I have recently had to switch over to an almost entirely raw foods diet. As such, these energy bars fit perfectly into my current lifestyle. I have noticed that my tastes have changed a little as a result of my dietary change and although I can't comment on how the bars may have tasted before the change, I find that store bought chocolates and candies no longer appeal to me as they once did. I was a little afraid I wouldn't like the Chocolate bars, but after eating one of the bars, I was pleased to find that wasn't the case. Although, I find the bar tastes a little on the grassy and vegetal side, the chocolate coating is not too bitter, nor over processed for me. The Original flavour does have more of a grassy, vegetal flavour but I don't find it over powering for one bar. The bars are uniform in shape but not uniform in texture due to chopped nuts contained within the bars. The chocolate coating on the Chocolate bar does tend to flake off a little with each bite, but not excessively. Maybe cold weather will have more of an impact on that.

My test plan over the next three months will be to use the Amazing Grass Energy Bars on all my outdoor activities. This will include backpacking in the George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah National Park, plus dayhikes as well as occasionally on kayaking trips. I will be specifically interested in how well the bars stand up to pack abuse, as well as how they fuel my body and whether the taste grows on me over time.



Long Term Report:
July 22nd, 2009

I have taken these bars with me on four overnight trips, three day hikes and a three day long kayaking trip. I have briefly outlined the trips below.

Trips:
The first trip out with these bars was a very intense kayaking trip where one day saw me on the water for about 6 hours. I needed to have something quick to eat before, during and after the paddle and so I reached for these bars. I ate one after breakfast (before hitting the water), one after getting off the water (before lunch) then another at the end of the paddle (before supper). This was an intense work out for me and having too much food in my stomach makes it hard to wear snug clothing while paddling. I have noticed that when I eat these bars I don't feel very full and I don't feel I have to drink a lot of water to wash it down. I alternated between the chocolate and the original flavors. As the temperatures were in the high 80's to low 90's F (around 25-30 C), the chocolate coating did melt a little and stick to the wrapper. I did still enjoy the taste of the bar and the chocolate alone (eaten from the wrapper) was also quite good.

The next trip out was a 6 mi (10 km) day hike over moderate terrain. There were small elevation gains and losses. This was also an intense workout at an all out speed. I needed to start fueled and end fueled. I ate one bar about 1 hour before starting the hike and found I was just starting to get hungry again near the end of the hike which took about one hour. I didn't really feel I had any energy when I started the hike but at least I wasn't hungry during the hike.

Another day hike, again about 6 mi (10 km), this time over slightly more rocky terrain with modest elevation gains. The bars are not growing on me and I find that I eat fewer then I would if I preferred the flavor. While the bars fit well into my diet I find I have to force myself to eat the bar. I have been sticking to the chocolate as I prefer it slightly more then the original flavor.

The next trip out was a two night trip in West Virginia in the Roaring Plains. The temperatures were down to about 55 F (13 C) at night, both nights. The elevation was relatively constant at about 4000 ft (1220 m). I mostly used the bars on this trip as bridges until the next meal. I ate one between breakfast and lunch and it did a good job of staving off the hunger and hiker blahs that I sometimes get right before stopping for lunch.

I took the bars with me on a 2 mi (3.3 km) day hike over more difficult terrain elevation-wise. I was starting over 6000 ft (1830 m) and hiking with another 1000 ft (305 m) gain. I ate one bar when I got to the top to stave off hunger and keep my energy levels up for the bushwhacking to get back down.

The last trip out was an overnight trip out in Utah with about 5-6 mi (8-9.6 km) per day and a total elevation gain of about 4000 ft (1220 m) over the two days. I again mostly used the bars as a bridge between meals as the elevation gain and terrain were much rougher than I was used to and I found I required more energy than each meal was providing. The bars did a good job of staving off the hunger each time.

Eating a chocolate flavored bar after a climb

Impressions and Comments:
I have definitely come to prefer the chocolate flavor over the original flavor. The chocolate itself is very nice, smooth and tastes great. It is not milk chocolate nor is it a bitter chocolate. The chocolate does seem to mask the flavor of the bar to a degree which may be why I prefer the chocolate flavor. Without the chocolate, the bars still taste strongly of vegetables, more notably grass.

The bars are easy to eat (not a lot of chunks), and they are easy on my sensitive stomach plus go well with my diet. I do find that the vegetal taste needs to be cut back. The bars don't have a lot of texture to them. I understand that the bars are composed of Amazing Grass's proprietary powder mixed with other ingredients. While this is fine, I would have preferred more texture. I do feel that I am getting a lot of my vegetable requirements when I eat the bars. But at the same time I feel that I have not come to like the flavor any further. I don't enjoy eating either flavor and feel I might be burned out all together from the almost over-powering vegetal flavor.

When I eat the bars just before hiking I find that the energy the bars give me seems to be more of a slow release then a quick burst. The slow release works very well, and if I feel I need a quick initial burst of energy I can eat something made for that purpose. Because of the slow release though I am never quite sure when the energy will end. It isn't a sudden ending but rather I just start to gradually feel hungry again, meaning I have likely passed the point of when I should have eaten another bar in order to maintain my energy levels.

The packaging can hold up to some abuse but not a lot of abuse. I did have one stuffed into my dry sack that I ended up taking with me kayaking. I tossed the bar in my life jacket and after several hours on the water I forgot about it. When I got home, I opened the bar to eat it and had found that the package had suffered too much abuse to remain intact. The seal had been broken and the bar was a little soggy on one corner. The bar was otherwise in good shape, and the non-soggy end was still edible and tasted as it should.

An abused package

The bars themselves tend to hold up somewhat well to abuse. The chocolate flavor doesn't like heat. As these bars are without preservatives, there is nothing in the chocolate to prevent it from melting at warm temperatures. So when the temperatures rise above body temperature, the chocolate starts to get soft. I ate one chocolate flavored bar and had to lick the chocolate off the wrapper. This is how I was able to determine how nice the chocolate tasted alone. It was very good. The bar itself had a stronger grassy flavor without the chocolate coating.

Wrap-up
Pros:

    - slow energy release
    - raw and wholesome ingredients
    - chocolate flavor is very good

Cons:

    - strong vegetable flavor
    - chocolate melts when too warm


This concludes my long term report on the Amazing Grass Energy Bars. I hope you have found this report series helpful. I wish to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Amazing Grass for allowing me to test this product.


Read more reviews of Amazing Grass gear
Read more gear reviews by Kathryn Doiron

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Amazing Grass Energy Bar > Test Report by Kathryn Doiron



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