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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Honey Stinger Energy Bars > Test Report by Pamela Wyant

Honey Stinger Energy & Protein Bars

Initial Report - January 15, 2008
Long Term Report - May 14, 2008



Tester Information:
 
Name:  Pam Wyant
Age:  50
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight:  165 lb (77 kg)
E-mail address:  pamwyant(at)yahoo(dot)com
Location:  Western West Virginia, U.S.A.

Backpacking Background: 

Pursuing a long-time interest, I started backpacking four years ago, beginning with day-hiking and single overnights.  Currently I’m mostly a ‘weekend warrior’, hiking and backpacking mainly in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, but have started a project to section hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little over 200 mi (300 km) in the last two years.  My usual shelter is a hammock, but occasionally I use a tent. In general my backpacking style is lightweight and minimalist and I try to cut as much pack weight as I can without sacrificing warmth, comfort, or safety.


Initial Report - January 15, 2008


Product Information:

Manufacturer:  Honey Stinger, Inc.
Year of manufacture:  2008
 
Advertised net weight: 
Energy bars - 1.75 oz (50 g)
  Protein bars - 2.85 to 3.2 oz (81 to 90 g)

  Measured gross weight:
Energy bars - 1.7 to 1.9 oz (48 to 54 g)
Protein Bars - 2.9 to 3.3 oz (82 to 94 g)
 
Approx. package size:
Energy bars - 1.75 x 5.5 in (4.5 x 14 cm)
Protein bars - 2 x 6 in (5 x 15 cm)
  

  Website: www.honeystinger.com
MSRP:  Energy bars - US $1.69
Protein bars - US $2.25
 

Honey Stinger bars


Product Description:

The Honey Stinger energy bars are available in four flavors, and I have been furnished two of each flavor for testing.  The manufacturer website and a fact sheet provided with the bars indicate they contain 30% honey, 10g of soy protein, 23 vitamins and minerals, and whole grains.  Each package contains a small label to the side of the nutrition facts that states it contains peanuts, seeds, & other nuts.  Each label also lists the ingredients, net weight, variety, a short advertising slogan (we use it, you should too), lists key benefits (23 minerals & vitamins, soy protein, high in calcium, tastes great), and has a use by date, as well as a list of activities (run, ski, wrestle, fish, bull ride, climb, rip, surf, split wood, ride, sting).  The wrappers are typical for energy bars, being a printed plastic/foil composite.  The varieties and a list of key information for each are:

Peanut Butter 'n Honey - 190 calories, 50 from fat; total 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat; total carb 27 g, fiber 2 g, sugars 17 g; 10 g protein; 23 different vitamins and minerals are listed with the bar providing from 25% to 100% of the daily recommended values of each.  Key ingredients listed are:  Honey Stinger (a mix of honey sea salt, and water); coating (sugar, vegetable oil, soy protein isolate, cocoa powder, whole milk, natural flavor, soya lecithing, salt); toasted rolled oats; soy nuggets; defatted peanut flour; peanuts; crisped rice; soy nuts; and almonds.  Several vitamins and minerals are also listed.

Apple Cinnamon - 180 calories, 30 from fat; total fat 3 g, 1.5 g saturated fat; total carb 28 g, fiber 1 g, sugars 20 g; 10 g protein; 23 minerals and vitamins listed as providing from 25% to 100% of the daily recommended value.  Key ingredients listed are Honey Stinger; Honey Stinger Apple Cranberry Fruit Smoothie Blend (apple bits, cranberry bits & honey); toasted rolled whole oats, soy nuggets, coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, yogurt powder); non-fat dry milk solids; soya lecithin; soy protein isolate; maltodextrin; a list of vitamins and minerals; soy nuts; and natural flavors.

Berry Banana Buzz - 180 calories, 30 from fat; 3.5 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat; total carb 28 g, fiber 2 g, sugars 22 g; 10 g protein; 23 vitamins and minerals providing from 25% to 100% of the daily recommended values.  Key ingredients are:  Honey Stinger, Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie Blend (banana bits & puree, apple bits, cranberry bits, strawberry bits); soy protein isolate; coating (sugar, palm kernel oil, yogurt powder);non-fat dry milk solids; soya lecithin; toasted rolled oats; soy nuggets; almonds; and soy nuts, as well as vitamins and minerals.

Rocket Chocolate - 190 calories, 40 from fat; 4.5 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat; total carb 28 g, 2 g fiber, 18 g sugars; 10 g protein; 23 different vitamins and minerals listed providing 25% to 100% of the daily recommended values.  Key ingredients listed are:  Honey Stinger; soy nuggets; coating (sugar, vegetable oil, soy protein isolate, cocoa powder, whole milk); toasted rolled oats; semi-sweet chocolate; crisped rice; soy protein isolates; cocoa; almonds; and soy nuts, as well as vitamins and minerals.

The Honey Stinger protein bars are available in 3 flavors, and I have been furnished two of the Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Pro and Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Pro and three of the Peanut Butta Pro flavor.  Information provided by the manufacturer indicates they contain organic honey, 23 vitamins and minerals, 20 g whey protein, and non Gluten ingredients.  The bars are packaged and labeled similarly to the energy bars, stating they contain milk, soy, peanut and other nuts, with an added stamp that they may contain egg and wheat.  Key facts and ingredients for each are:

Peanut Butta Pro - 350 calories, 140 from fat; total fat 15 g, saturated fat 6 g; total carb 36 g, fiber 2 g, sugars 33 g; 20 g protein; 22 vitamins and minerals listed with the bar providing from 25% to 100%, of the daily recommended value of each, plus 7% of the daily recommended value of potassium.  Key ingredients are:  organic honey, milk chocolate, peanut butter, whey protein isolate, vitamins and minerals, salt.  The label also states it is made with 30% organic ingredients and made with gluten free ingredients.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Pro - 390 calories, 150 from fat; total fat 17 g, saturated fat 6g; total carb 41 g, fiber 3 g, sugars 35 g; 20 g protein; 22 vitamins & minerals listed with the bar providing from 25% to 100% of the daily recommended value of each, plus 7% of the daily recommended value for potassium.  Key ingredients include:  semi-sweet dark chocolate; organic honey; whey protein isolate; almond butter; dried red sour cherries; almonds; vitamins and minerals; natural flavor.  The label also states the bar is made with 25% organic ingredients and made with gluten free ingredients.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Pro - 390 calories, 180 from fat; total fat 20 g, 9 g saturated; total carb 36 g, 3 g fiber, 30 g sugar; 20 g protein; 22 vitamins and minerals listed, providing from 25% to 100% of the daily recommended value for each, plus 5% of the daily recommended value for potassium.  Key ingredients:  semisweet dark chocolate; organic honey; whey protein isolate; almond butter; coconut; almonds; vitamins and minerals; and natural coconut flavor.  The label states it is made with 25% organic ingredients and made with gluten free ingredients.

I weighed each bar on a postal scale, and while most weighed very close to the stated net weight, there was a little variance in weight between them.  In only two cases did a bar weigh less than the stated net weight; one Peanut Butter Honey energy bar weighed .05 oz (1.4 g) less and one Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond protein bar weighed 0.1 oz (2.8 g less.  Most of the bars weighed slightly more than the listed net weight, with the largest variance in one Peanut Butta Pro protein bar which weighed 0.25 oz (7 g) more than the listed weight.  Most weighed about .05 oz (1.4 g) than the stated net weight.  Since I used a postal scale rather than a scientifically calibrated food scale, the small variances seem reasonable.

Honey Stinger also provided information concerning research done on honey, which states in part the following information:

    "Honey can operate as a time released fuel for exercising muscles"
    "Honey does not cause hypoglycemia, or a blood sugar spike and crash, because of its naturally low glycemic index."
    "Honey, a natural source of carbohydrates, can significantly improve endurance performance"

The fact sheet provides scientific information on different types of sugar (simple and complex and their sub-categories), and their effect on athletic performance in some studies.  I found the information very interesting, and was surprised to learn that honey is a simple sugar that is easier to digest than complex sugars, allowing it to start providing energy quickly; and yet it has a low glycemic index, producing only mild increases in blood sugar and insulin, and providing sustained energy.  This is of particular interest to me because I follow a controlled carbohydrate diet and avoid eating sugar.  I should be able to put this claim to a good test, and am anxious to start testing whether the Honey Stinger bars can provide me quick energy for uphills without the 'crash and burn' effect that candy bars sometimes cause.

It has been a real temptation not to 'taste test' a few of these bars, but in the interest of testing them in a true hiking or backpacking situation, I've managed to exert the necessary willpower so far.  I certainly do look forward to trying them out on my next hike in the near future.

Long Term Report - May 14, 2008

 

Peanut Butta Pro

Field Conditions:

During the test period, I have eaten the Honey Stinger Energy and Protein Bars on a series of day hikes ranging from 3 to 11 mi (5 to 18 km), and an overnight backpacking trip of about 6 mi (10 km). 

These trips have included seven short 3 mi/5 km hikes in western West Virginia on old dirt and rock back roads in a variety of weather conditions (from windy with small amounts of rain or snow to dry and calm) and temperatures ranging from around 25 F (-4 C) to 60 F (15 C) at elevations around 700 to 900 ft (200 to 300 m).  On each of these trips I ate one bar, usually an energy bar, but on two of them I ate a Peanut Butta Pro Bar (shown to the left here).





Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond ProLonger trips included about 6.5 mi (10.5 km) in the Kanawha State Forest in central West Virginia, on a cloudy but dry day with temperatures in the 25 F (-4 C) range at elevations from around 1000 to 1400 ft (300 to 400 m).  Trails varied from smooth dirt to rugged rocky areas.  I had eaten a big breakfast about an hour before beginning to hike, and on the hike ate one of the Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Pro bars (shown to the right) sharing a few bites with my daughter, on a short break about 2/3 of the way through the trip.  This gave me plenty of energy to finish the hike, and I was not hungry until a couple of hours after hiking. 



A second longer hike was in Wine Cellar Park near Dunbar West Virginia, consisting of around 4 mi/6.5 km.  The day was sunny and around 50 F (10 C).  Elevation was moderate, but included some steep up and down hills.  I had eaten a moderate breakfast and ate one of the Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Pro bars (sharing a bite with a friend) on a break about halfway through the trip.  Again I had ample energy to hike without needing any extra snacks and was not hungry until about an hour after finishing the hike.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Pro BarAn additional longer trip was an 11 mi/18 km section hike on the Appalachian trail in early April, from McQueen Gap, TN to Damascus, VA which included drizzly rain and fog all morning, with clearing skies in the early afternoon, and temperatures around the 50-60 F (10-15 C) range.  The trail was mostly smooth dirt with gentle ups and downs, with a few rockier stretches and one longish, but fairly gradual downhill stretch into Damascus.  I ate one Peanut Butter 'n Honey Energy Bar around 8 am while hiking, shortly after a breakfast of sugar-free Carnation Instant Breakfast, which gave me good energy until around 10:30 am when I began feeling a little tired and hungry.  I ate a Peanut Butta Pro Bar around 10:30 am (again while hiking) and had good energy for about 2 hours.  Around 12:30 am I ate a Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Pro (shown to the left) while hiking, which held me till I finished my hike into Damascus.  I was slightly hungry after the hike concluded around 2:30 pm and had some fresh cut up veggies that a kind trail angel had brought to the hostel where I was overnighting.



Apple Cinnamon Energy BarI also ate one bar on an overnight backpacking trip in mid-April in the North Bend State Park area in central West Virginia.  Temperatures on this trip ranged from around 50-60 F (10-15 C) with pleasant, partially cloudy weather.  The trail was dirt interspersed with roots and rocks.  The trip started in late afternoon.  During the day I had eaten a light breakfast, a light lunch, and a light snack.  I ate an Apple Cinnamon Energy Bar (shown to the right) on a short break a couple of miles into the trip, which provided ample energy for a short uphill climb, and I wasn't hungry for a couple of hours afterward.

Taste impressions: 

It has been really hard for me to pick a favorite flavor in this test.  They have all been pretty good, and I seemed to enjoy different flavors better under different conditions.  If I had to pick just one, the Berry Banana Buzz would probably be my bar of flavor choice.  Since I generally avoid sugar, the bars have all had a very sweet taste to me.  The protein bars in particular tasted more like candy bars than energy bars, and left a sweet taste in my mouth after eating them.

Peanut Butter 'n Honey Energy BarBoth the Peanut Butter 'n Honey bar (shown to the left) and the Peanut Butta Pro have a strong honey taste.  The Peanut Butter 'n Honey bar has a good texture, with a slight amount of chewiness.  The Peanut Butta Pro has a smoother, yet firm and slightly dry texture.  The Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Pro bar has a relatively firm texture with bits of nuts and dried cherries, and tastes very much like a chocolate covered cherry.  The Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond bar had a very pleasant chocolaty taste and also a fairly firm and very slightly chewy texture.  The coconut was not a very prominent taste in this bar. 

The Berry Banana Buzz Energy Bars had a texture almost like a slightly chewy cookie, and tasted somewhat like banana bread with a slight hint of the strawberry flavor.  The white yogurt coating on the bottom enhanced the flavor of the bar.  I could taste a bit of the honey flavor, but it was not as prominent in this bar as in the other flavors.  The Rocket Chocolate (shown below to the right) had a slightly chewy texture and a blend of chocolate and honey taste.  A lot of the time I find purely chocolate energy bars too rich tasting, but I was happy with the flavor of this bar.  The Apple Cinnamon was my least favorite bar.  I found it chewier, and somewhat dry and bland for my taste.

Rocket Chocolate Energy BarThe bars all looked appealing.  When I hiked with close friends (or family), they were usually very interested in the bars and I ended up sharing bites twice.   Although in the sake of testing I would have preferred eating the whole bar (really, it wasn't that I wanted to be greedy and eat it all myself - it was all for the sake of testing), it was really hard to ignore those 'give me a bite' looks.

Energy impressions:


I found the energy from the bars kicks in quickly, within just a few minutes, and seems to drop slightly after about 30 minutes, yet still staving off hunger and providing sufficient energy for another 90 minutes or so, for a total of about 2 hours energy per bar.  This did not seem to vary much for me between the energy bars and the larger protein bars, which I guess was probably from my selection of the bar size to fit my particular hunger at the time, since the protein bars have considerably more calories.

I was particularly pleased that just as Honey Stinger advertises, I did not experience a 'spike and crash' effect with the bars.  They truly do seem to be low glycemic.

Summary:

This was one tasty test, and I am very happy with both the taste and performance of the bars.  I did not experience very hot temperatures when I carried the bars, so I can't speak for how well they hold up to heat, but even in colder temperatures the bars were easy to eat - just a bit firmer to bite.  I didn't have any actually freeze, but this is not normally a huge problem for me - if my bars get too cold overnight, I just place them in a pocket in the morning so they thaw out and get softer before I have to eat them.

One thing I really liked was the way the bars were easy to eat.  None of them were overly chewy.  I could bite off small pieces and easily eat them even while hiking uphill, so I could get an easy energy boost any time I needed it.  This is quite a contrast to other energy bars, which generally are so chewy that I have a difficult time eating them while hiking, especially when hiking uphill.

The bars are simple to pack along and I feel they provide good energy for the weight carried.  Happily they can be ordered directly from the Honey Stinger website, so I don't have to look around to try to find these bars in a store (outfitters are scarce in my area).  I plan to order a case or two of the bars in the near future for my summer hiking needs.

This concludes the test series.

Thanks to Honey Stinger and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Honey Stinger energy and protein bars.


Read more reviews of Honey Stinger gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Honey Stinger Energy Bars > Test Report by Pamela Wyant



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