Having a little bit of fast “real” food as a supplement is a nice change of pace, and that’s what Caveman Primal Bars offer. For seemingly a hundred years, protein bars have always been about sweetness. Going back to the late 80’s and the initial bodybuilding supplement boom, chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter were staple flavors. Things got more sophisticated through the years as companies like Worldwide Nutrition, MetrX, and others started mixing things up more and more but the underlying goal was still the same: make ’em taste like stale candy. Good thing for these companies that protein bars are never a tough sell. With the right packaging, the promise of “whey protein isolate” and a decent price tag, knuckleheads everywhere gobbled them up in spades and pretty much still do today.
Caveman Primal Bars (Caveman Foods) go in a vastly different direction. Rather than offer up a whole bunch of whey and soy along with a host of additives and emulsifiers, these bars give you…chicken? Sure enough, the main selling point of Caveman Primal Bars is that they are made of a mixture of white and dark meat chicken crammed together with different ingredients depending on the flavor. In fact, that’s the saving grace of these things. No long list of ingredients to read through and no unpronounceable words. If we’re to believe the folks at Caveman Foods (and at this point, why wouldn’t we?), everything in their bars is all natural (but not quite organic).
Why You Want This
There is a difference between supplements containing a low amount of carbohydrates and supplements that contain a low amount of carbohydrates but still carry sugar alcohols. Caveman Bars come in at 5 g of carbs with one gram of sugar, which once again, we’re promised is not of the artificial variety. This is important because many, many people complain of bloating and other digestive issues due to sugar alcohols. No sugar or other sweeteners means the “Paleo Inspired” objective of the bars holds true. Another factor is that Caveman Bars deliver a complete protein. After all, they’re chicken! So, if you’re running around and don’t have time for a meal, you don’t have to go ahead and pony up a few bucks for some overly-chewy, chemical compound you find at a convenience store. Just keep a couple of these 18 gram suckers in your car or gym bag and you’re good to go.
They also score high when it comes to Protein Efficiency Ratio, or “PER.” For those into nutrition and protein assimilation and synthesis, you know that the type of protein, density, and digestive ramifications of certain foods varies wildly. And for those who don’t know, think of it like this: Not all proteins are created equal. Lower quality proteins, specifically milk-derived supplements and foods, have low PER’s because they either digest in-proportionately or aren’t complete proteins anyway, or both. Let’s go with both. You also want “live” food or the next best thing, which is what we have here.
There are three flavors to choose from: Blueberry Pepper, Sweet Cherry, and Smoked Jalapeno. Each one brings something slightly different to the table. Now remember, these things are chicken, so you’re just not going to avoid that. But don’t be weirded out by it, either. Blueberry Pepper is nice; it’s not exactly “blueberry”, but there is just enough of an undertone where you can enjoy the hint of sweetness. Sweet Cherry is a touch more noticeable, as the cherry pieces (or “flakes”) can be tasted immediately. The best might be Smoked Jalapeno. This is the one flavor out of the three that is the most easily discerned. Smoked Jalapeno has some heat to it, which makes them probably the most enjoyable.
Why You Don’t Want This
Caveman Primal Bars are not widely available, so unless you feel like ordering an entire box online, finding them could be tricky. Vitamin Shoppe is one national retailer that offers them and your local health food store might have picked up on the chatter, as well. They also retail for about $3 a pop which is absolutely a fair price, but those looking for “big” 30 gram or more bars might feel more comfortable going with the garden variety Muscle Milks and MetrX options.
The texture is strange. Caveman Bars are more akin to Slim Jims in texture than they are protein bars you might be more familiar with. They can take some getting used to in that regard. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just…different. In addition, sodium may be a sticking point. Coming in between 360 and 460 milligrams of sodium, weight-cutters who retain water like nobody’s business would probably be better off staying away until the coast is clear. For everyone else, make sure you down water.
Is It Worth It?
Athletes and fitness types have long wished upon the day where a reasonable supplement or bar comprised of actual food sources was so convenient, and now it’s here. Unless 18 grams of actual chicken protein is too low of a number according to your diet goals, Caveman Primal Bars are a great idea. Getting past the whole “hmmm, this is chicken?” thing and the texture will probably be a deal-breaker for some, and there aren’t a whole bunch of flavors to choose from to boot. But for the hardcore, the athletes out there who are more interested in a low calorie (120), low carb, high protein “semi-live” food to save them time with a busy schedule, this is the answer you’ve been waiting for.