Gluten Free Protein and Energy Bar Reviews-Quest Bar Update and Rise Bars

Thankfully, those of use with celiac disease and gluten intolerance are now seeing more players in the gluten free energy/protein bar game.  It’s always nice to have options.

I do think that I will have to create a page dedicated to gluten free protein bars, just as I have a page for gluten free protein powder.

It’s a hot topic, and one that really deserves to have input from as many people as possible who have tried the bars.  I was having a conversation with a friend on Facebook the other day about a couple of brands of protein bars, and the kind which I really liked she didn’t care for the texture, the kind which she really liked I didn’t care for the sugar alcohols.  Different strokes, folks.  Opinions, we all have them.  Mine may be quite different than yours when it comes to taste and belly-happiness.

Having said all that, I have not YET created a protein bar page.  I will.  I promise.

Not too long ago I posted my thoughts on the new gluten free Luna protein bar, the 22 Days Nutrition Bar, and the Quest Bars.

Today, we have a Quest update as well as a review of a new player, the Rise Bars.

In my review of Quest, I mentioned that they do use a small amount of sucralose as a sweetener, which was the one thing I would like to change.  Well, they listened to their customers.  A couple of weeks ago, they began launching prototypes of their new “natural” line which will not contain sucralose.  They use erythritol and stevia along with the lo han guo as sweeteners.  Erythritol is a sugar alcohol.  However, unlike malitol and sorbitol, FOR ME, erythritol does not cause any digestive issues.  In doing my own baking I generally use a mixture of erythritol and stevia, with perhaps some molasses from time to time.  Lauren over at Healthy Indulgences has done an epic post explaining alternative sweeteners and their uses, which I highly recommend you check out.

So far, Quest has introduced limited editions of 3 “natural” bars.  Cinnamon Roll, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Coconut Cashew.

I believe there are 2 or 3 more prototype flavors that will be announced over the next couple of weeks on Mondays on their Facebook page.    I have tried the Cinnamon Roll and Chocolate Peanut Butter flavors, and they will definitely be added to my rotation.  (By the way, if you have not yet tried heating one in the microwave for a few seconds yet you really need to.  You can thank me later.)  They are slightly different in texture than the other bars, but it’s very minimal.  Quest has really done a heck of a job formulating these bars, and I am very impressed and pleased at how well they have listened to their customers.  The new natural line is expected to be available for regular purchase within the next couple of months.  They also have introduced a Peanut Butter and Jelly flavor with the original sweetener profile.


Now, on to Rise Bar.

I’m going to quote directly from the folks at Rise themselves here:

Rise Bar is a line of wholesome, delicious, and convenient nutrition bars packed with antioxidant-rich fruits and nutrient-dense nuts to deliver an all-natural energy boost that feeds the mind and body. Our all-natural Breakfast Bars and Protein+ Bars, and certified organic Energy+ Bars are designed to provide fuel as a snack or meal replacement any time of day.  Rise Bars are 100 percent vegetarian, Kosher and gluten-free, and do not contain GMOs, preservatives, soy or peanuts.  Blended with the finest nuts, seeds, fruits and natural sweeteners, Rise Bars provide nourishing and delicious options to power you through any activity, all day long.”

Do you remember Boomi or Prana bars?  The company Divine Foods who made the Boomi and Prana was purchased and rebranded into Rise Bar.  The products were reformulated and rebranded to reflect the current climate and needs of the consumers.

  • “Rise Breakfast Bar (Previously Boomi Bar) – Made with hearty chunks of fruits and nuts, the Rise Breakfast Bar is filled with flavor and nutrients to kick-start any morning. The Rise Breakfast Bar contains 0g trans-fat and is 100 percent all-natural and dairy-free. The Rise Breakfast Bar is available in five delicious, crunchy flavors including:
    • Crunchy Cashew Almond
    • Crunchy Cranberry Apple
    • Crunchy Honey Walnut
    • Crunchy Macadamia Pineapple
    • Crunchy Perfect Pumpkin
  •  Rise Energy+ Bar(Previously PranaBar and Supercharger PranaBar) – Antioxidant superfruits and a variety of toasty nuts and seeds are blended together to make the certified organic, vegan and dairy-free Rise Energy+ Bar perfect for an in-between meal or snack packed with protein and fiber. Rise Energy+ Bars come in five tasty flavors including:
    • Apricot Goji
    • Blueberry Coconut
    • Cherry Almond
    • Coconut Acai
    • Raspberry Pomegranate

Rise Protein+ Bar (Previously Boomi Bar) – With five ingredients or less and packed with 17g of protein or more, the all-natural Rise Protein+ Bar has the punch to power any workout. The Rise Protein+ Bar is available in two mouth-watering flavors including:

    • Almond Honey
    • Crunchy Carob Chip”
The folks at Rise very kindly sent me a sampler pack to test out the bars.  Since I’ve recently returned to longer distance cycling, these bars came in handy for keeping in my jersey pocket during rides.  They do not melt (score!) and are fairly calorie dense given their size.  For a jersey pocket, that’s a good thing.  As a snack at your desk, not so much.
Calories do count, (they do, I swear it) and no matter how healthy or good for you a food is, if your intake is more than your expenditure You. Will. Gain. Weight.  Or at the very least, be unable to lose it if that is your goal.  Context determines appropriateness.  If you are active, running, cycling, whatever, then a higher calorie and carbohydrate intake are appropriate.  If you need a midday snack while working or surfing the net, then a higher protein, lower carbohydrate bar like Quest may be more appropriate.  You can always download and read my free nutrition guide if you would like some more info on stuff like that.
Now, onward to the taste.  These are essentially fruit and nut bars.  The breakfast bars definitely have more crunch than the energy bars.  (And cleverly all have “crunch” in their names.)  The energy bars are a bit smoother in texture but still have some chunkiness.  The protein bars to me, were somewhere in the middle.  (Protein source is whey protein isolate, by the way.  Yay for that!)  My biggest problem with the Rise Bars were that they were really sweet.  Way too sweet for my taste.  There are multiple forms of sweetness in each bar.  Dates, brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, agave, dried fruit…too sweet for me.  If I ruled the world, I think the sweeteners could easily be brought down a few notches, lower the overall sugar content of the bar, and still be very tasty and palatable.
As they are, these should be viewed as treats or as fuel for athletics.  I love the idea and the mission of Rise, I just wish they were a little lower in sugar all the way around.
My personal favorite flavors were the Cherry Almond the the Carob Chip bars.
Have you tried the Rise Bars?  I’d love to hear others opinions on the flavors and sweetness level as well!

Filed Under: FeaturedGluten FreeGluten Free Athletesnutritionproduct reviewsUncategorized

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  1. Maria says:

    Hi Erin,

    I am hoping to drop a few pounds and have been watching my calorie intake.

    Prior to being advised to avoid gluten (last week) I was eating a fiber one bar (or similar) as a snack in between meals to keep me satisfied during the day (office job).

    I am also lactose intolerant…can you assist with a recomendation for a low calorie bar or recipe for a bar that woill keep me full?

    Thank you!

  2. Erin says:

    Hi Maria!

    Welcome! My first thought is to go for some veggies and protein. Can you keep a container of cut celery/carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, maybe some baby tomatoes at your desk? (I know the crunch factor depends on the office environment.) You can get plenty of fiber from veggies, and you have to eat a truckload of them to get any significant calorie intake. You can make or purchase a bean dip if you’d like, or just sprinkle them with sea salt. You can roll deli turkey around carrots, that’s one of my favorite go-to snacks. Protein+veggies is a perfect way to cut cravings.

    If you’re looking more for a bar type of thing, I would recommend looking into the Quest bars. They are by far my favorite pre-made bar on the market, both for nutritional profile/ingredients and flavor. The only downside is that you do have to order them online.

  3. Diane says:

    Are fiber one bars gluten free?

  4. Erin says:

    Nope, they are not.

  5. Erin,
    Have you built this gluten free protein bar site yet, that you mentioned in your article?
    I would really like to see your take on it.
    In the meantime, maybe my site can help to shed some light on some GF bars.

    Keep up the great work!

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