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Photo credit: Primebar.co.uk.

PRIME Natural Beef Protein Snack Review

27-Dec-17

Last updated: 02-Aug-18

By Diana Green, Nutritionist

For the ultra runner, snacks are an essential part of any nutrition strategy. In spite of trial and error with different gels and bars, many runners suffer problematic gastrointestinal side effects as a result of consuming these sweet energy snacks.

Even for those who have found the perfect bar or gel, often they would welcome something different with a satisfying savoury kick. Here it is - PRIME, a natural beef protein snack created by passionate ultra runners Fred and Luke.

Features

  • Savoury protein snack
  • High protein
  • Natural ingredients
  • Free from MSG and added sugar
  • 100% traceable beef from small group of family run British farms
  • Cattle are 100% British bred and grass fed
  • Cattle all have access to pasture land and are truly free range
  • Cattle have access to space that reduces stress and disease
  • Healthy alternative to sugary energy bars and tasteless protein snacks
  • Gluten & dairy free
  • Free from grains
  • Suitable for Paleo and Ketogenic diets
  • Source of Vit A, B, Omegas (3,6,9), calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium

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PROS:  What is good about the PRIME Natural Beef Protein Snack

I love the minimalist packaging. The bar is vacuum sealed and clearly visible through the reverse side of the packaging. We found no problem tearing it open while on the move. The bar slides easily out of the packaging and one is able to grip the bar through the packaging whilst eating to avoid touching it.

The iconic image of Mont Blanc on the front of the packaging represents the challenge Fred and Luke have set themselves; to complete the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc in 2018. Their aim is to inspire people to push beyond their limits and claim their own peaks. Whether or not one has read the reasoning behind the image it feels appropriate for consumption of the bar in the outdoor environment. The nutritional info and list of ingredients are easy to read on the reverse of the packaging.

We like the name of the product PRIME giving us confidence that we are not having to compromise on our food choices. The logo ‘Fueled by the Outdoors’ reinforces the fact that we are consuming a natural product free of manmade additives. The logo ‘Prepare, Sustain, Recover’ gives us the go ahead to eat the bar whenever we fancy rather than limiting its consumption to a particular running time slot.

The bars smelt pleasantly of meat, though it was not overpowering enough to upset any ‘non meat eating companions’. There was also only a faint not unpleasant odour coming from the empty packaging.

The appearance of the bar through the reverse side of the packaging could not be described as attractive but it looks what it is - a meat bar.

We loved the taste of both the Apricot & Carrot Bar and the Chilli & Red Pepper Bar.

The Chilli & Red Pepper Bar had a good ‘chilli hit’ and the sweetness of the carrot and apricot really complemented the beef.

What was pleasantly surprising was the texture. Knowing the dedication to chewing that it sometimes takes to get through a beef jerky or biltong, I was wondering how this was going to work while ‘on the run’. But no sharpened teeth were required and the bar was easy to bite and chew.

For meat eaters the bars are psychologically satisfying as well as appealing to the palate. We felt that we were eating for pleasure rather than only focusing on fuel. The rich flavours lingered in our mouths and we even enjoyed having to pick out a few bits that stuck in the teeth!

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Moving at a slow-to-moderate pace our digestive systems were quite happy with the bars, however this might not be the case for everyone (see Cons). Also we consumed well in advance of requiring immediate fuel and can therefore not comment on the absorption rate.

Weight is always a big consideration particularly for self-supported ultra multi-day events. The PRIME bars are fairly low in weight for energy provided. The 50 g Chilli & Red Pepper Bar provides 187 calories, and the 50 g Apricot & Carrot Bar provides158 calories. It would be difficult to achieve a better weight to energy ratio using only natural ingredients without dehydration or higher fat levels (fat provides the greatest number of calories weight for weight, 1 g of fat provides 9 calories).

As well as a target for daily calorie intake, a target for macro nutrients (protein, carb, fat) is important for runners. For a multi stage event such as the Marathon Des Sables the recommendation is 15 % of calories from protein, 30 % of calories from fat, 55 % calories from carb. To achieve this balance, a variety of snacks and main meals are needed and PRIME bars would be a good choice to complement other foods which are often high in carbohydrate.

The beef content of the bars sourced from grass fed cattle would also contain omega fatty acids, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and B vitamins all important nutrients for energy, which is a bonus.

Bar Apricot & Carrot Chilli & Red Pepper
Calories 158 187
Protein (g) 13.1 12.0
Protein (%) 33% 25%
Fat (g) 9.5 12.4
Fat (%) 54% 60%
Carb (g) 5.3 6.9
Carb (%) 13% 15%


CONS: What is not so good about the PRIME Natural Beef Protein Snack

Once opened the packaging is difficult to refold/reseal and therefore you are committed to eating the whole bar as attempts at resealing result in slightly oily leakage. You also have to be careful when opening the packaging not to get oily fingers.

Once empty the packaging, will not screw up/fold so it’s hard to store.

The nutritional info given on the packaging is per 100 g and although the fact that there are 12g of protein per bar is stated on both the front and back of the packaging, complete nutritional info per 50 g bar (which would be useful), is not listed.

There is no indication on the packaging as to whether or not it can be recycled.

The text logo ‘Prepare Sustain Recover’ implies that the bar is suitable for not only fuelling an activity but also maintaining energy levels during an activity and speeding recovery from an activity. ‘Nothing helps the body prepare, sustain and recover like high quality protein’ is stated on the packaging.

Prepare; There are opposing views as to whether slow releasing carbohydrates or fat and protein are the optimum preparation fuel. However, for those who follow a low carb diet with the aim of increasing muscle fat burning capabilities and endurance, PRIME is the perfect bar.

Sustain; Protein together with fat can supply energy during intense activity but carbohydrate does so far more rapidly making it the body’s preferred choice.

Recover; There is no doubt that protein promotes glycogen recovery and high quality protein enhances protein synthesis during the recovery phase.

We would have liked to have known the breed of the cattle from which the beef is sourced.

Many runners are cautious when considering including protein in a refuelling snack due to fear of upsetting the digestive system. This fear is not unfounded. The problem with protein is that it has to go through a digestive process which requires your blood to be re-routed back to the stomach and intestines.

This reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood available to your muscles potentially impacting on performance. Also with less blood available in the stomach, the protein has a higher chance of not getting digested properly, leading to digestive symptoms. Protein is also known to inhibit gastric emptying, thus slowing rehydration and possibly causing “sloshing” and stomach discomfort.

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CONCLUSION

Fred and Luke, the founders of PRIME, developed the bars as a result of their desire to create a functional food made of real ingredients. They have definitely achieved that. There are no hidden additives or preservatives, you know exactly what you are putting into your body. PRIME bars look like meat bars, taste like meat bars and really are a delicious savoury snack.

PRIME bars would be perfect for multi day events, providing variety, catering for changes in taste and appetite during an event and a real treat. It will be a matter of individual needs and experience where these bars best fit into a nutritional strategy complementing other meals and snacks. No doubt it will become a firm favourite for followers of Paleo and Ketogenic diets.

For me the main selling point is not so much the nutritional content (high protein) but the wonderful savoury, natural taste ‘fuelled by the outdoors’. I will definitely be packing them.

Score  
Design 9
Features 10
Nutritional content 10
Value 9
Total 9.5


RRP - £21.00 for six bars   See Prime.

Diana Green is based in the New Forest, Hampshire and runs weekend courses for runners, exploring fuelling strategies and diets to support long term health. She also designs recipes for a Dorset based company that delivers fresh meals nationwide to support their client’s training and calorie requirements.

All images Diana Green except when stated.

Review PRIME Natural Beef Protein Snack Review

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