Perfect Bars: The Imperfect Truth
Updated: Feb 27
Among the vast world of protein bars, one deserves attention: Perfect Bars.
Over the last decade, Perfect Bar has positioned itself be one of America's most popular protein bars.
Perfect Bars' sudden ubiquity was unexpected by market forecasters and consumers alike.
But when looking at their competition, It's no wonder why Perfect Bar has become the Brad Pitt of nutrition bars.
Brands like Clif bars have aged like an offensive 90s fashion trend. Others, such as KIND bars, are only reminiscent of being stuck in a Starbucks walk-in line.
Nature Valley crunchy granola bars must be eaten with a vacuum on the premises. And there are RX Bars, which require a visit to the dentist given that the bar's strange texture molds itself between each molar.
Perfect Bar knew consumers wanted something more in a protein bar. They saw an opening, and they struck.
Now in 2023, Perfect Bars can be found across the country in almost any grocery store. The people have spoken: Perfect Bars are what we wanted.
But are they what we need?
Healthy Eating 101
Eating well is much simpler than what we've made it. There is no secret diet or food that unlocks your inner wellness god or goddess.
We must look beyond the trendy diets of today if we want a future immersed in prosperous health.
One belief that has corrupted the simplicity of nutrition is that protein bars = health.
But listen closely: health and nutrition do not come in a protein bar.
I have yet to find a protein bar that is complementary to health. This includes Perfect Bars. I admit that Perfect Bars are better than some of its predecessors.
But you'd be healthier if you said no to Perfect Bars.
Confession & Story Time
During my high school track days, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of nutrition. Intuitively, I knew that nutrition affected my athletic performance. But my nutrition knowledge was primarily influenced by what I saw other great athletes eating.
Because Allyson Felix claimed that non-fat Chobani yogurt fueled her Olympic success, I ate non-fat Chobani yogurt.
I was easily influenced.
With athletes like Allyson Felix shaping my nutritional worldview, my food habits were suboptimal. I ate foods that I believed elevated my running when in reality, they impaired my athletic performance.
Perfect Bars were one of the foods I ate believing they made me a healthier individual and a better athlete.
In fact, for what I estimate to be three years, I ate two (sometimes three) Perfect Bars a day.
My commitment to Perfect Bars was so sincere that I brought three packs (36 bars) with me on a three-week trip to Switzerland in 2019.
I initially thought they would be the perfect meal when I couldn't find anything that met my food standards.
I ate all three packs. I remember eating a bar while looking at the Matterhorn.
In retrospect, I'm beyond embarrassed about the simple-mindedness of my food standards.
When I should have been eating the delicious & ultra-nutritious foods of Switzerland – raw milk, grass-fed beef, aged cheese, fermented yogurt, artisan bread, and freshly whipped butter – I was eating Perfect Bars.
It was utter foolishness.
The reason I believed in Perfect Bars was because of
what the packaging boasted:
- 15g of Protein
- 20+ superfoods
Surely, it can't get better than this!
- Vance's mind, 2017-2019.
Indeed, nutrition can get better than Perfect Bars. A lot better.
What's In Perfect Bars?
While it is admirable that Perfect Bars use organic ingredients to form their bar, we must remember that organic does not automatically certify a food product to be healthy.
Perfect Bar falls short of health for two major reasons.
First, Perfect Bars use a combination of seed oils as the basis of the bar. As I've written before, we are not created to consume seed oils.
Seed oils are highly oxidative, meaning they start an internal wildfire that fosters diseases, prevents health, and hinders athleticism. Seed oils harm humans.
Second, there are (on average) 16 grams of added sugar in each Perfect Bar. Though the sugar content is primarily from honey, this is too much for the average American.
I eat and savor honey. Honey has some excellent, health-advancing properties. But the amount used in Perfect Bars leans on the side of excessive.
It's not added for health purposes; it's added to make the bar taste like a candy bar.
Calculating the Damage of Perfect Bars
For three years, Perfect Bars were my ride-or-die. I counted on them to be there for me. And without fail, they were.
But over the three years of eating two Perfect Bars a day, they made me less healthy and less athletic.
In total, I consumed liters of seed oils and over 30,000 grams of added sugar through eating Perfect Bars.
I should have never allowed myself to be swindled into believing that Perfect Bars differed from others.
But as said by Jackie Joyner-Kersee, another track hero of mine, "It is better to look ahead in prepare than to look back in regret."
I shouldn't allow my past nutritional decisions to consume me. And you shouldn't either.
We should look ahead to a bright future of creating delicious foods rather than eating pre-made protein bars.
Where I'm at Today
For many of us, it's challenging to envision a life without pre-made protein bars. I get it – I've been there. But now that I've been three years clean without Perfect Bars (or any store-bought protein bar), my life has never been better.
Sure, there are times when eating a pre-made protein bar sounds convenient. But the satisfaction of creating and eating real food supersedes a life of protein bars.
Since forgoing Perfect Bars, I don't get as sore the day after a tough workout. My blood sugar doesn't crash like it used to. I have greater mental clarity.
My energy is sustained throughout the day. I'm less likely to get sick.
And perhaps the most advantageous effect of saying goodbye to Perfect Bars is saying hello to the endless delicious foods that have replaced Perfect Bars.
Choosing to quit Perfect Bars has allowed me to return to the kitchen to create new, exciting, and genuinely healthy foods. Nourishment that exceeds the flavor of any protein bar.
For me, Perfect Bars were a filibuster to my health – they stalled growth. I'm confident that any store-bought protein bar is doing the same for you.