Update 7/10/22. 3 egg whites, 6 almonds, 4 cashews, 2 dates, and no B.S. Simple words like these appear on the front of every wrapper of the RXBAR, a whole-food nutrition bar based on the Paleo eating plan and which seems to be popular with those who do the CrossFit exercise program. During a conversation, I was given a sample RX Bar to see what I thought about it. Since I had not heard of it before, I thought it would be good to review it. Is RXBar healthy? Is it the best nutrition bar to take with you on trips?? Keep reading and let's find out. Also, see the Protein Bar review.
What Does RX In The Name Mean?
I have to say the name of this nutrition bar is pretty snazzy. In the medical world, “RX” means prescription. So by adding RX to the name, they are subtly saying that this is the prescription (remedy) for your nutrition problems.
To be fair, the company website (RXBar.com) does give a disclaimer that they “don't claim to be a prescription for anything.” That statement is likely to keep the FDA and FTC from raining down on them like you know what.
Disclaimers notwithstanding, not since “Shakeology” has I seen such a clever-sounding name.
The Shakeology review has more about that supplement.
There are several flavors of RXBars. Here's what was available when this review was created.
|Chocolate Sea Salt||Peanut Butter Chocolate||Chocolate Chip|
|Blueberry||Peanut Butter||Chocolate Coconut|
|Maple Sea Salt||Mixed Berry||Mint Chocolate|
There are many different flavors of RX Bar. To make it easy to compare them, I've broken the Nutrition Facts of each bar into the following tables. To make it even easier, below these tables, I'll also summarize some things that I thought were worth mentioning.
Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Sea Salt
|Blueberry (1 bar /52g)||Chocolate Chip (1 bar /52g)||Chocolate Sea Salt (1bar/52g)|
|Total Fat||60||9g (12%DV)||9g (13%DV)|
|Saturated Fat||1g (4%DV)||2g (10%DV)||2g (10%DV)|
|Sodium||115mg (5%DV)||190mg (8%DV)||270mg (11%DV)|
|Potassium||330 (9%DV)||473mg (10%DV)||330mg (10%DV)|
|Total Carbohydrate||26g (9%DV)||22g (8%DV)||24g (8%DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||6g (23%DV)||5g (18%DV)||6g (24%DV)|
Coffee Chocolate, Maple Sea Salt, Mint Chocolate
|Coffee Chocolate (1ba/ 52 g)||Maple Sea Salt (1bart/52g)||Mint Chocolate (1bar/52g)|
|Total Fat||9g (15%DV)||10g (15%DV)||9g (14%DV)|
|Saturated Fat||2.5 (11%DV)||1.5g (6%DV)||2g (10%DV)|
|Sodium||160 mg (7%DV)||260 mg (11%DV)||200mg (9%DV)|
|Potassium||270mg (10%DV)||280mg (8%DV)||340mg (10%DV)|
|Total Carbohydrate||23g (8%DV)||22g (7%DV)||24g (8%DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||6g (23%DV)||5g (21%DV)||6g (24%DV)|
Mixed Berry, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Peanut Butter
|Mixed Berry (1bar/52g)||Peanut Butter Chocolate (1bar/52g)||Peanut Butter (1bar/52g)|
|Total Fat||7g (9%DV)||10g (13%DV)||8g (12%DV)|
|Saturated Fat||1g (5%DV)||2.5g (13%DV)||1.5g (7%DV)|
|Sodium||130 mg (6%DV)||260mg (11%DV)||310mg (13%DV)|
|Potassium||470mg (10%DV)||461 mg (10%DV)||350 mg (10%DV)|
|Total Carbohydrate||24g (9%DV)||21g (8%DV)||24g (8%DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||5g (18%DV)||5g (18%DV)||6g (26%DV)|
Summary Of Nutrition Facts
Looking over the Nutrition Facts tables for the different flavors, here are some things worth pointing out:
- Most flavors are 210 calories. Maple Sea Salt is the highest with 220 calories.
- All of the bars contain zero trans fats and zero cholesterol.
- All the flavors have the same protein content (12g).
- Most RXBars are “high in fiber” providing more than 20g.
- Peanut Butter Chocolate has the most saturated fat (2.5g / 13% Daily Value).
- Chocolate Salt, Maple Sea Salt, Peanut Butter, and Peanut Butter Chocolate has the most sodium.
- Blueberry and Mixed Berry flavors have the least sodium.
- Mixed Berry appears to have the most potassium (470mg / 10% DV).
In the bullet points, “DV” is Daily Value.
I'm not sure but I may have found an issue with the labels. For Coffee Chocolate flavor, the label says it has 270 mg of potassium and that this is 10% of the Daily Value. For Mixed Berry Flavor, the label indicates 470mg of potassium and this also is said to be 10% of the Daily Value.
How can 2 very different amounts of potassium equal the same percentage of daily value? The bars weigh the same (52g each). Am I missing something? Can anyone at RXBar help with this?
Update. I contacted RXBar and they informed me that the differences in potassium were not significant enough to prompt changes in the percent daily value. That is why both Coffee Chocolate flavor and Mixed Berry flavor both indicate 10% DV even though they have different amounts of potassium.
RXBar Kids Flavors
There are also kids' flavors of RXBars too. When I checked, the following children's versions were available:
- Chocolate Chip
- Berry Blast
- Apple Cinnamon Raisin
There are also variety packs of these too.
Here is the Nutrition Facts breakdown of the kid's versions:
|Chocolate Chip (1 bar 33g)||Berry Blast (1 bar 33g||Apple Cinnamon Raisin (1 bar 33g)|
|Total Fat||6g (8%DV)||4.5g (6%DV)||5g (6%DV)|
|Saturated Fat||1.5 (8%DV)||0.5g (3%DV)||0.5g (3%DV)|
|Sodium||70mg (3%DV)||80mg (3%DV)||80mg (3%DV)|
|Potassium||296mg (6%DV)||301mg (6%DV)||287mg (6%DV)|
|Total Carbohydrate||14g (5%DV)||15g (5%DV)||16g (6%DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||3g (11%DV)||3g (11%DV)||3g (11%DV)|
|Added Sugars||0g added sugars||0g added sugars||0g added sugars|
|Calcium||37 mg (2%DV)||38mg (2%DV)||40mg (4%DV)|
|Iron||1mg (6%DV)||1mg (6%DV)||1mg (6%DV)|
|Vitamin D||0 mcg||0mcg||0mcg|
As can be seen, the size of the bar is a little bit less (33g) and has fewer calories (130 calories) than the adult versions. One thing that I really did like is that RXBar is using the new version of the Nutrition Facts Labels.
This means we in the United States FINALLY get to see how many added sugars are present (RXBars have zero added sugars).
Do RXBars Have Any Caffeine?
Only the Coffee Chocolate flavor has caffeine and that is only 5 mg, a very small amount. The other flavors do not have caffeine. There is no caffeine in the kid's versions of RXBars.
Is The RX Bar Paleo?
Yes. The RX Bar works if you are into the Paleo eating pattern.
What Flavors Are Kosher?
At the time this review was created, the following flavors were listed on the product website as being Kosher certified:
- Apple cinnamon
- Chocolate Sea Salt
- Coconut Chocolate
- Coffee Chocolate
- Pumpkin Spice
The Kosher certification was provided by The Orthodox Union.
What Are The Natural Flavors?
After this review was posted I saw some people online asking questions such as “What are the natural flavors in RXBars?” For example, in Chocolate Sea Salt flavor, they list “natural chocolate flavor.” The company website does say the bars do not contain any artificial ingredients, yet in the US, the word “natural” is not regulated.
For some nutrition conspiracy-enthusiasts, the word “natural” can sometimes set off alarms. I understand this and I admit that because of the unregulated nature of this word, I often don't pay attention to claims like natural or “all natural.”
To clarify this issue, I called RX Bar and asked for an email stating that I could share with readers to help them better understand what the natural flavors are. They promptly emailed me back this statement:
“Natural flavors are purified extracts from natural sources, such as a spice, fruit, or vegetables. In order to be used in food, natural flavors must meet strict FDA guidelines and safety criteria. The natural flavors used in RXBARs come from the real food ingredients such as fruit and chocolate and do not include propylene glycol, synthetic, artificial or GMO derived ingredients.”
To me, this sounds like the natural flavors are indeed natural and are based on foods. At this time, I don't see any issues here.
Are They Good Cold?
Can you eat RXBars cold? Yes, but the texture will likely be too hard to chew for most people. When I put Chocolate Sea Salt flavor in the freezer, it was frozen solid. It was still too hard to bite into when I moved it to the refrigerator overnight.
For those who may be on long treks in hot weather, keeping them cold may be an option, but for the rest of us, I would not recommend it if you plan on eating them soon.
What About Allergies?
If you have allergies to certain foods, you should be aware that RX Bars are made in a facility that also processes soy, milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. The product website also tells people that because the bars contain eggs, almonds, peanuts, cashews and coconut, those who are sensitive to these foods should speak with their doctor first.
Bottom line: The RXBar is probably not for people who are allergic to soy, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, almonds, cashews or coconut.
Who Makes The RXBAR?
The name of the company is the “Chicago Bar Company LLC.” According to
this Bloomberg article, the company was founded in 2012. The founders of the company are Peter Rahal and Jared Smith.
The Chicago Bar Company address is 1552 West Carroll Avenue. Suite 202. Chicago, IL 60607.
RXBar lists its address as 225 W Ohio Ste 500 Chicago, IL 60654.
Either address should work if reaching out to the company.
RXBar can be reached by calling 312-624-8200. Contacting the company is pretty easy with this number. Each time I called, someone picked up very quickly. Whether communicating via phone or email, I was impressed by the level of attention their customer service gave to my questions.
How Does RXBar Taste?
While I did not taste all the RX Bar flavors, Chocolate Sea Salt tasted pretty good. It was dense and chewy and I could definitely taste the chocolate and the salt.
One thing I was not crazy about though was the bar getting stuck in my teeth. For those with braces or other dental work, this may be something to consider.
Whether or not the same issue would occur with the other varieties or RXBar, I cannot say.
Where can you purchase RXBars? There is a handy store locator option on the product website. By entering several random zip codes, I concluded that RXBars are found at many local food outlets including but not limited to:
|Acme||Giant Supermarkets||Safeway Supermarkets|
|ShopRite Supermarkets||Trader Joe's||Wegmans|
The bars can be found at several fitness centers as well.
RXBar. vs JERF Bar
The Jerf Bar is a whole food nutrition bar I previously reviewed. What's better, the RXBar or JERF Bar? Here is a side-by-side breakdown of each bar to help you compare.
See the JERF Bar review for more info on that product. (update: The JERF Bar appears to no longer be manufactured)
|RX Bar (1 bar / 52 g). Chocolate Sea Salt||JERF Bar (1 bar / 50 g) Chocolate Coconut|
|Calories From Fat||80||100|
|Total Fat||9g (13% DV)||11g (17% DV)|
|Sat Fat||2g (10% DV)||3g (15% DV)|
|Sodium||270 mg (11% DV)||35 mg (1% DV)|
|Potassium||330 mg (10% DV)||not listed|
|Total Carbs||24g (8% DV)||20g (7% DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||6g (24% DV)||13g (52% DV)|
|Vitamin A||Vitamin A 0% DV||Vitamin A 0% DV|
|Vitamin C||Vitamin C 0% DV||Vitamin C 0% DV|
|Riboflavin||25% DV||not listed|
|Magnesium||10% DV||not listed|
|Copper||15% DV||Not listed|
In the table above, “% DV” means percent daily value. The Daily Value is the amount (expressed as a percentage) that each bar contributes to our daily allotment for a given nutrient. For example, the 9 grams of total fat in the RXBar provides 13% of the amount of fat that's recommended we eat per day.
Scanning the table above, a few things jump out:
While the RXBar is not “high” in sodium, Chocolate Sea Salt flavor does have 7x the amount that the JERF Bar has. Each RXBar (Chocolate
Sea Salt) provides 270 mg of sodium while the JERF Bar only provides 35 mg. Remember, from above Chocolate Sea Salt, has the most sodium of any RXBar version. Other versions have less sodium.
For the person who works out a lot, this may not matter much. For the person who is supposed to be on a low salt diet or trying to lower their blood pressure, this may be something to consider.
The RX Bar (Chocolate Sea Salt flavor) provides 330 mg of potassium, which is 10% of what we should be getting per day. The JERF Bar does not list how much potassium it has.
I mentioned this in my JERF Bar review also. I know it has some potassium but exactly how much I cannot say at this time. I'm sure eventually, potassium will be listed.
Potassium is very important for helping blood pressure.
RX Bar vs. TruVani The Only Bar
The Only Bar is produced by Vani Hari, better known on social media as The Food Babe. The Only Bar is composed of only organic ingredients and, like RX Bar, comes in different flavors. See The Only Bar review for more information.
The Vitamins and Minerals
The label for the RXBar lists percentages for vitamin A, C, Calcium, iron, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. The JERF Bar only lists percentages for vitamin A, C, calcium, and iron. As with potassium, above, I know they are present in the JERF Bar. Not listing them does not mean they are not there. As for how much, I cannot say at this time.
Both bars make health claims. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the health claims for RX Bar and JERF Bar
|RXBar Health Claims||JERF Bar Health Claims|
|No added sugar||No GMO|
|Dairy Free||Gluten Free|
|No soy||Dairy Free|
|No artificial flavors||No dyes / coloring's|
See the protein bar review for how both compare to many other protein bars.
RXBar: Final Verdict?
Overall, I enjoyed the RXBar. The company obviously has put a lot of thought and effort into the product and that is reflected in the ingredients chosen. At the end of the day, it really comes down to taste and what health claims are important to you. Is the RXBar the best if you workout? I'm not prepared to say that (we'd need clinical studies) but if you are looking for a snack between meals or workouts, give it a try. What's your favorite workout energy bar?
Here it is on Amazon. See what others are saying
It bothers me that they don’t put ALL the ingredients on the label. There are many companies who use sweetened dried cranberries or blueberries, and their label SHOULD read: cranberries (cranberries, apple juice concentrate, sunflower oil).
All blueberries or cranberries that are sweetened with something (juice or sugar), also have added oil to them to keep them from sticking… Why do they need to sweeten dried fruit anyway?
Hi Allison, its an interesting observation. I don’t know why. My guess is if companies didn’t, the stuff might not taste as good to most people. That’s just a guess of course.
Our son, who has a deadly sunflower allergy, just had a violent reaction to a small bite of one of these. I think it borders on criminal not to list known severe allergens. Unbelievable. Not ok. I’m furious.
Joe Cannon says
James, SO sorry to hear about what happened to your son! I hope he feels better soon.
Alice R says
Thanks for the thoughtfulness and time you put into your posts! Really helpful.
One piece of info to add is that the nutritional information on products is kind of oblique. Manufacturers must pay for them, and the more detailed, the more costly. For simple products, like milk, a supplier might opt for a standard nutritional info, which means that their actual milk has not been assessed, rather, a “usual” set of values is given.
So, for example, the Jerf bar doesn’t list potassium, but that does not mean they don’t contain potassium. It means that Jerf didn’t pay for that level of nutritional information. And, in addition to the difference in values not being sufficient to modify the 10% number, it may also be a function of the level of nutritional info labeling they purchased.
Not earth-shattering, but interesting!
Hi Alice, thanks for chiming in and mentioning what you did. Its a good point you make about the level of nutrition information a maker of foods/ supplements ops to include. I appreciate the assist 🙂
I just finished eating a chocolate coconut bar. Where it clearly states on the front it has six almonds 4 cashews 2 dates. 3 egg whites. I’m not quite sure how with three egg whites and two dates a bar can become this size. Also there were about 10 almonds in this bar and only 2 cashews. So how is that accurate information? Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy the bar. But these are just two things that came to mind
Hi Karin, very good points. I wonder if this is an average number of almonds, dates, cashews etc. It’s good you are questioning these things 🙂
Are natural flavors listed in the ingredients on the BACK of the package? I’ve read (from RXBAR) that only the CORE ingredients are listed on the front of the bars.
Hi Melissa, When I looked at chocolate sea salt flavor, I saw “natural chocolate flavor” listed. I know the word “natural” is unregulated in the US, but the RXbar website says it doesn’t contain any artificial colors or artificial flavors. Because of that, I take natural chocolate flavor to mean “chocolate” although I cannot confirm this at this time.
That said, I am going to look into this for you. I’m sure their office is closed now but tomorrow I will call them and specifically ask them about this. Stay tuned.
Hi Melissa, as promised I called RX Bar about the natural flavors. I’ve added a “natural flavors” section to the review. Go back and check it out. Hit refresh on your browser if you dont see the natural flavors section.
If you have any other questions, just let me know 🙂
If the bar has chocolate in it, then why add chocolate flavor? If the “natural” chocolate flavor comes from chocolate then why is it listed as a separate ingredient? It must be because whatever the flavor actually is, it is highly processed. Which means it is not that natural. I like the RX bar but this thing with “natural flavors” is BS, which makes the front of the label a lie – and I do not like that.
Hi Keli, interesting point and I dont have an answer for you on that. I can tell you RX Bar was pretty responsive to me when I called them. Have you ever tried calling them to see what they had to say about the “chocolate flavor”? I’m not sure. If you try it and get an answer, I’d be very interested in learning what they say