February 21, 2014

Braap Nutrition Bars: How Do They Stack Up?

by Douglas Ansel


braaap-logo-2013It’s hard to forget those times earlier in my cycling career when I would head out the door for a long ride with four sports nutrition bars (no, I won’t name brand names here) in my jersey pockets. The first two, three hours of the ride were great: the sun was out, my legs were good, whatever flavors I had picked out tasted good. But in the third, fourth, fifth hours of the ride, things turned. My legs were tired – though that is to be expected – and my stomach was as well. Those calorie dense peanut butter or chocolate chip flavored bars sat in my stomach, preservatives tying my digestive track into a knot that made eating more simply unpalatable, even though my body craved more glycogen to burn. Often times this disagreement between my stomach and the rest of my body continued into the first hour or two after my ride, making it hard to refuel for recovery.

As the years went on, I began to understand what was transpiring in my intestinal track. Subbing in bits of real food – sandwiches, rice cakes, and the like – made my stomach happier. It was the preservatives and other non-natural additions needed to keep bars fresh on store shelves and in my pantry that didn’t sit well after the second or third helping.

Real food, real ingredients, it all sounds so simple. But one of the universal truths in life is that we rarely have as much time as we need, especially for niceties such as rice cakes and other goodies to keep us going in our training sessions and to snack on during the day. So we turn again to those prepackaged bars out of necessity.

As both professionals or students and athletes, all of us in the Boo family were delighted when Braaap Nutrition sponsored the Boo-Training Peaks cyclocross team this fall. As we’ve noted before, the Braaap Nutrition Bars’ short list of natural ingredients kept our guts happy, even in the hard case that is a cyclocross race. They eschew fancy ingredients, keeping it simple and organic. But how exactly do our Braaap bars compare to some of their most well known competition? When you see the difference, you’ll understand why they work so well.


Braaap Nutrition Bar: 10
PowerBar: 22
Clif Bar: 34

Startling, right? It’s not just the length of ingredient listings that’s different either. Using organic ingredients is far from proprietary, but Braaap relies exclusively on organic ingredients. That means no additives like Maltodextrin or sweeteners to mask often unpleasant tasting protein sources. Braaap doesn’t rely on four kinds of sugar to give you sweetness either – just organic honey. The result is a family of nutrition and protein bars that are as good for you as they taste, even five hours into a ride.

If you’re intrigued, head over to the Braaap website and maybe even check out their ingredients page.