Primal Kitchen Collagen Protein Fuel Bar Health & Happiness review

Primal Kitchen Protein Collagen bar review health nutrition keto
The protein bar in this review is on the right.

No Gluten or Grains | 2 Grams Sugar | 14 Grams Protein | Paleo-Friendly

Net carbs: 5 g      Added sugars: 2 g

Overall rating: 🤢💪🥚🥩

primalkitchen.com

 

Flavor

Eeeeehhhhhhhh… It’s not great. 

These aren’t easy to eat. They’re pretty tough, and the Chocolate Sea Salt flavor, in particular, felt like eating greasy clay. 

Macadamia and Sea Salt was more like a dirt-flavored Laffy Taffy. It had the same texture and glossy appearance as that iconic candy.

The eggs and the collagen give this bar a weird savory undertone. Eating a pork chop drizzled in Elmer’s glue would probably give you a similar flavor. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t linger for hours after you’re done eating. 

It actually reminds me a lot of those mysterious baked goods you get in Asian Supermarkets. I’m pretty sure I like it, but something just doesn’t feel right. 

 

Packaging appeal

This looks nice. I enjoy the brand’s leafy motif and Air Jordan-esque leaping caveman logo. I’m pretty sure these use the same font as AWAKE Caffeinated Granola Bars

It’s interesting that the labels say “No Gluten or Grains” on the front, but do not have the official Gluten-Free certified seal. It’s possible that PK decided not to pay off the gluten-free mafia for their right to virtue-signal. 

This is a weird reality of the food business. You don’t automatically get the GF badge if your product is not certified gluten-free. Similarly, You can’t say your product is organic until you get certified, even if you use all organic ingredients.

The way this works is non-profits such as the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America or Oregon Tilth create standards for certification and charge businesses a fee for use of their certification stamp. 

Basically, you pay these health mafias for the usage rights of their logo so that consumers can know at a glance which products to buy. 

As far as my understanding of the law goes, these organizations can sue you for using their terminology without permission. If I say Dirtballs are Gluten-Free, I’m in trouble but if I say “No Gluten” I’m in the clear. 

It’s really some mafia-type shit. This creates an unnecessary hurdle where people who can afford this certification have an advantage over those who cannot or choose not to get certified.

Who certifies the certifiers, though? A certified gluten-free product does not have any advantage over a non-certified gluten-free product. They both have no gluten in them. The only difference is that one has a nice badge you can point to. 

This becomes even more absurd when you learn that there are multiple gluten-free certification organizations. Should we go through the Gluten-Free Certification Organization or the Gluten-Free Certification Program? Are those actually different?? What the fuck?????

These certification boards are marketing programs disguised as public health initiatives. 

 

Ingredient quality

This recipe mostly meets my standards. The only mildly questionable ingredients are soluble tapioca fiber and sunflower lecithin. 

Soluble tapioca fiber is actually a rather contentious ingredient. I did some research and it seems that it’s something people use to gerrymander their products net carb count so that keto people will buy them. 

I actually found one article where someone dug into the very Macadamia Sea Salt collagen Bar I tried. It’s interesting to note that PK used to list this ingredient both as PREBIOTIC Tapioca Fiber and as Isomaltooligosaccharides (from tapioca).

It seems like they tried different names for this same ingredient until they found one that sounded best to their marketing department. 

No matter what you call it, Soluble Tapioca Fiber is industrially refined from corn syrup. So if it’s a corn syrup derivative, is that really something we should be putting in our food? Probably not. This binder/sweetener is a processed ingredient and you should probably avoid it.

Lecithins, too, are binders that result from complex industrial processes. I’m not too well versed on their health impacts, but I have a bias toward whole foods and away from processed ingredients.

Actually, don’t primal diet people have this same bias? I thought the point of Paleo was to eat the way our ancestors ate. I’m pretty sure our ancestors didn’t have protein bars.

Based on my research, I think most people should have some animal protein in their diets. I always appreciate products that make it easier to consume animal protein

Collagen, in particular, is a great animal ingredient. Humans, as mammalian creatures, use the collagen protein in our hair, skin, joints, and connective tissue. It’s one of the most abundant proteins in mammals, so it’s pretty bad to be collagen deficient. 

There are plant-based sources of collagen, but they do not promote bone and tissue growth as effectively as animal-based sources. 

People have a really limited understanding of our culinary history. Consuming cooked animal proteins was key to our evolution into the modern apes we have become. 

We didn’t have time to find quinoa hemp bowls and fresh-pressed flax milk back in the day. It was kill kill, eat eat all day. Other animals were the best way to get the nutrients necessary to stay alive and keep the species going. 

Nowadays it’s easier to get by and stay fed. And the collagen peptides in products like these upcycle materials that would otherwise be thrown away during meat production. 

Even though we need to change the way we produce and consume meat in the western world, I’m always glad when people put the factory farming industry’s waste to better use. 

 

Company practices

Primal Kitchen’s founder Mark Sisson is a keto/paleo celebrity. He’s been blogging about this for far longer than it’s been trendy. He also has a lot of anecdotal and scientific evidence to back up his enthusiasm for this diet. 

This company actually has a full line of collagen and keto products. Now that I’ve looked at the website, I can remember hearing ads for PK sauces and salad dressings on some of my favorite podcasts. 

It seems like they engage in some dubious marketing practices regarding controversial ingredients. I wish companies would just be honest about what’s in their food. Maybe if they didn’t put weird junk in their products in the first place, they wouldn’t have to spend so much energy on finding ways to lie about their ingredients. 

Mark and this company have done a lot to spread the doctrine of food = medicine, though. Western medical practices ignored the importance of good food for too long. That’s part of why our medicare industry is so fucked up.

The more people who are spreading the idea that a healthy diet is important to a fully activated life are doing good work. I may not agree with their product formulations practices, but this feels like a good company that does good things. 

They put a lot of energy into educating people, which provides a public good on top of their keto-friendly products. 

I don’t necessarily endorse the keto lifestyle for everyone all the time, but it does serve a purpose and I’m glad companies like PK are out here fighting for that cause. 

 

Snackability

Size-wise, these are pretty snackable. Texture and flavor-wise on the other hand, these are kind of a chore to eat. 

A hassle-free eating experience is a key factor in snackability. These are not a good snack, but if a convenient keto product is what you want, these bars are a good choice. 

 

Overall, Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel Bars get a rating of 🤢💪🥚🥩

Health, Nutrition, Promo

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