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Each 68 gram CLIF Builder’s Protein Bar provides your body with 20 g of protein, 29 g of carbohydrates, 10 g of fat, and 280 calories. They also contain 2 g of dietary fiber, and a range of vitamins and minerals, such as 50% of your vitamin C daily value.
But unlike most protein powders, there’s no creatine, L-glutamine, or BCAAs. So can they still be an effective source of pre-workout and post-workout nutrition?
In this review we’ll compare The CLIF product to two of the top low carb protein bars; thinkThins, and Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bars.
Comparisons include the levels of protein, carbs, and fats, as well as the cost per serving, flavors, customer feedback, and total calories.
This is to guarantee you only buy the best protein bar for your current diet and fitness goal. Whether that’s weight loss, lean muscle gain, bulking, or simply to boost your daily protein intake.
CLIF Builder’s Protein Bar Ingredients
CLIF produce two main types of nutrition bar; CLIF Bar, and CLIF Builder’s Protein. The Builder’s bars contain twice as much protein (20 g vs. 10 g) and fewer carbs (30 g vs. 41 g) compared to the standard CLIF Bars.
The protein blend also differs slightly, with soy protein concentrate and soy protein isolate found in the Builder’s bars, but no soy concentrate in the CLIF Bar.
It’s this blend of proteins that makes CLIF quite unusual, as most use a combination that includes whey protein isolate as a base.
Because the fat and carb content is higher than most protein bars, such as MuscleTech Mission1 and MusclePharm Combat Crunch, you’re also getting more calories per serving. With 281 calories per bar in the chocolate flavor, it’s considerably more than the MusclePharm (210 cals) and MuscleTech (200 cals) protein bars.
Dietary fiber is also much lower, with just 2 g per bar. MusclePharm and MuscleTech protein bars vary between 12 and 17 g per bar.
What’s in CLIF Protein Bars?
|Ingredient||Amount per Serving||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat||9 g||13%|
|Saturated Fat||6 g||28%|
|Total Carbohydrates||30 g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber||2 g||8%|
Soy Protein Isolate, Soy Protein Concentrate
Vitamins and minerals
Calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, Ascorbic Acid
- 20g of high-quality protein to help build and repair muscle
- Carbohydrates to help you sustain your workout
- Non-GMO Ingredient Sources
- Whole grains help keep you energized
- Includes 13 essential vitamins and minerals
- Free of high-fructose corn syrup
- Low glycemic (low glycemic-index foods digest slowly for prolonged levels of energy)
Weight loss or weight gain?
CLIF Builder’s Protein Bars are designed to assist with the support of lean muscle growth and recovery, as part of a regular exercise and nutrition program. Based on their high carb content, they’re better for weight gain than weight loss.
For weight gain, you’ll need to consume sufficient protein and enough calories from healthy foods to put your body in a daily caloric surplus. MET-Rx Big 100 (30 g protein, 47 g carbs, 400 cals) is arguably the best protein bar on the market for high carbs, high protein, and lots of calories.
Protein bars for weight loss are difficult to find. Your best option is finding a high protein, low calorie, low carb protein bar that helps put your body in a caloric deficit each day.
If weight loss is your goal, you may want to check out Quest Protein Bars. They contain just 6 g of fat, 20 g of protein and as few as 170 calories.
Who are they designed for?
Runners, weightlifters, athletes, or anyone looking for a quick and easy way to increase their protein intake.
When is the best time to take it?
The high carb content of CLIF Builder’s Protein Bars means they’re ideal for pre-workout nutrition, or as mid-morning/mid-afternoon snacks.
You can also enjoy one as a nutritious snack anytime throughout the day. But as a general guide, whether you’re looking to diet or add lean muscle, carb intake should be drastically reduced after 5-7pm.
CLIF Builder’s vs. thinkThins
*Based on buying a box of 12 bars. Price accurate at time of writing.
CLIF Builder’s vs. O.N. Opti-Bars
*Based on buying a box of 12 bars. Price accurate at time of writing.
What flavors and sizes are available?
With a serving size of 68 g per bar, each box provides you with either 12 or 24 bars.
At the time of writing this review, the best value for money actually comes from the Crunchy Peanut Butter flavor. Each bar was priced at $1.33 per serving, compared to $2.41 for the Chocolate Hazelnut flavor bars in a box of 24. That’s why we always recommend calculating the average cost per serving, across all flavors and sizes, before making a final buying decision.
- Chocolate Hazelnut
- Crunchy Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Mint
- Vanilla Almond
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cookies ‘N’ Cream
Save money with Amazon
If you’re looking to save money on your monthly supplement order, you might want to consider the Amazon Subscribe & Save program.
Subscribe & Save allows you to unlock savings of up to 15% on a wide range of sports nutrition products, including CLIF Builder’s Protein Bars (selected flavors only).
You can save 5% with a subscription to 1 product, or save the full 15% by subscribing to 5 products, provided they’re all delivered to the same address. The delivery schedule can be set from monthly, up to once every 6 months.
Although 5 products might sound a lot, if you already supplement with a protein powder, multivitamin, creatine, BCAA, and glutamine, the savings can soon add up. But it’s best to order before you run out of your current supplements, because Amazon set the day of the month each order is sent (same day each month e.g. 14th.).
Who are CLIF?
Clif Bar & Company produce healthy and nutritious food, using family-inspired recipes, with ingredients that are both organic and sustainable. Ingredients such as oats, almonds, and dates.
Founded in 1992, the original CLIF Bar was released shortly after, followed by the Luna bar, as a whole food nutrition bar for women.
By 2003, Clif had started using organic ingredients in CLIF BAR energy bars, in an effort to create a sustainable food system.
Today, Clif continue to revolutionize the nutrition bar market with a USDA Organic CLIF Kid Bar for active kids, in addition to their bestselling original CLIF and Luna Bars.
So, are CLIF Builder's Protein Bars worth buying?
Clif are everything you could hope for from a healthy nutrition company. They have over 20 years experience in producing nutrition bars, support innovative small and mid-size nonprofits via the Clif Bar Family Foundation, and use organic and sustainable methods to source ingredients and create their products.
Their CLIF Builder's Protein Bars also represent excellent value for money.
In terms of the macro split, they're very much a middle ground between Optimum Nutrition Opti-Bars (1:1 Protein to Carbs) and Promax Protein Bars (1:2 Protein to Carbs). They have a 1:1.5 protein to carbs ratio, with 21g being sugar.
If you love the taste of CLIF bars, but don't want to take in so much sugar, you'll want to check out the CLIF Whey Protein bars. Although you're getting less protein compared to Builder's bars (14g vs 20g), you're also getting 16g less sugar (5g per bar).
Overall, despite being one of the few companies to produce a protein bar entirely from soy proteins, CLIF Builder's bars still taste delicious and deliver everything you could hope for if you need a healthy nutritious snack with a little added sugar for energy.
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