Friday, 28 June 2019 20:15

1st Phorm Level-1 Bar Review: The Muggle of Protein Bars?

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I found 2000 1st Phorm Level-1 Protein Bar reviews on the 1st Phorm site but not very many elsewhere, so, being a big protein bar fan myself, I decided to put their Level-1 bar to the test. In this Level-1 bar review, I’m going to do a few things. The first thing I’ll do is go into excruciating detail evaluating the 1st Phorm bar from a flavor and texture perspective. Are they soft? Chewy? Do they get stuck in your teeth? I’m going to go over all these questions and more. And I’ll try to make it fun for you guys like I do in all my protein bar reviews. After all- we’re reviewing protein bars not medical devices. Life is too serious as is! So we’ll have some fun and talk flavor but I’m also going to shoot you guys straight in this Level-1 review. I know there are lots of 1st-Phorm Kool-Aid drinkers. But I’m going to be real with you guys. After we pick out the best flavor, we’ll talk about the ingredients and figure out if these bars are actually healthy or not. The last thing we’ll do is talk about the packaging and then assign a final review score. Sound like a plan? Alright then let’s ‘level up’ and begin this Level-1 Bar review.

1st Phorm seems to be all over my ‘Insta lately and it seemed like an appropriate time to post this review seeing as the infamous 1st Phorm Summer festival just concluded. I was having some serious FOMO seeing as the one and only NELLY was rapping at the event. I mean. Come ON. I’m sure in St. Louis it really WAS ‘gettin hot in here’ Lol. That place heats up in late June in every way. But rap stars and parties mean nothing if the products don’t stack up- and I have to say 1st Phorm seems to be one of those see-saw brands for me.

Here are my ‘thumbs up’ 1st Phorm products:

And a few of thumbs down products

So again- sort of a mixed bag from 1st Phorm in my experience. I haven’t been a fan of their weight loss products or their vegan protein, but on the other hand their pre workout and protein are VERY impressive. This being the case, I went into my Level-1 Meal Replacement Bar with a super open mind. I was especially excited to try the Chocolate Mint Cookie…because let’s be real who doesn’t miss those ‘Thin Mint’ Girl Scout Cookie?! Why don’t we start by analyzing these 1st-Phorm Level 1 Bar flavors. 

What’s the Best Flavor of 1st Phorm Level-1 Bar? 

So the Level-1 Bar menu currently sits at 4 flavors. I was very impressed with these flavors on paper, so when my $160 worth of Level-1 bars arrived, I was literally salivating. (Quick note- you will spend at least $80 on Level-1 Bars. More on that later). 

So. I finally did get my package open, and I instantly set about tearing into them one at time so that I could try each of the four flavors consecutively. Without further ado- here are my thoughts on each 1st Phorm bar flavor: 

Mint Chocolate Cookie: This 1st Phorm flavor had to be first because it is the new flavor, and again, I wanted a Girl Scout-esque fix. But. Unfortunately I did not quite get it. The reality of a big thick protein bar (that’s what she said) is that you really get a lot of this fudge-like, crunchy, full, almost goopy, chewy texture. So nothing like those light, crispy, almost flaky Thin Mint cookies. So that’s the first takeaway is that 1st Phorm bars have a very classic ‘protein bar’ texture, and that is consistent across all four Level-1 protein bar flavors. In terms of the actual flavor of this bar though…I actually didn’t hate it. It was certainly much more ‘chocolate’ than mint, but not necessarily in a bad way? Yeah. Idk. It was alright! I don’t know if I was ready to crown it as my new favorite bar yet, but let’s see how the other flavors stacked up. 

Chocolate Crunch: The Chocolate Crunch flavor is actually very similar to the Mint Chocolate. It has the same chocolate flavor to me, but definitely ramped up a little bit. It was a very generic chocolate protein bar flavor. Not special but definitely not bad. Right down the middle. 

Peanut Butter Lover: The Peanut Butter Lover flavor was my favorite of the four (I guess I’ll just let the cat out of the bag), because it was the most distinctive 1st Phorm bar flavor to me. I found that this bar had the most ‘real’ peanut butter flavor, which was part of why I liked it best. This bar also had a bit more salt to my palette, which made it more enjoyable. 

Salted Caramel: The Salted Caramel bar, ironically, was not nearly as salty as it needs to be to be deemed a true ’salted’. The caramel flavors are there, and SOME salt but it really needs about double the amount of salt to really pull it off. It is okay though it’s very edible and my husband was crazy about this flavor so. What do I know. Lol. 

The peanut butter lovers flavor is the best flavor of Level-1 Protein bar, but the real question you probably want to know is…do they taste good enough to justify an $80 price tag?? That’s a great question. And I have a great answer…which I’ll share AFTER I analyze the nutritional breakdown for you. 

Are 1st Phorm Level-1 Bars Healthy?

This is the question I get all the time from my readers…’is this quest bar healthy?’ or ‘is that ONE bar healthy?’ and my answer is always a little ambiguous. It really depends on what your definition of healthy is. If you are trying to avoid gluten or dairy or soy or sugar alcohol or palm kernel oil or sucralose, than the answer unfortunately is ’No’ these Level-1 Bars are NOT healthy. And it’s not that like we are being nit-picky here. That’s quite the laundry-list of ‘junk’ to a lot of people. 

But hey. I’ll eat them all day long. It really comes down to personal preference. The people that want squeaky clean will go for a ‘Perfectly Simple’ bar or a ‘Good to Go’ bar or something (and they get to deal with crazy high sugar content so it’s always a ‘pick-your-poison type situation). 

As you see it really comes down to what you constitute as healthy- and everyone’s definition is changing by the day it seems. Lol. But let’s look at the nutritional info and take that into account as well: 

Level-1 Protein Bar Nutrition Facts

Calories 260

Total Fat 13g 

Sat Fat 6g

Monounsaturated Fat 4g

Polyunsaturated Fat 6g

Cholesterol 25mg

Sodium 370mg

Total Carbohydrate 19g

Dietary Fiber 1g

Total Sugars 4g

(incl. 3g added sugars)

Protein 20g

NOTES: The calories are a little higher than your standard bar at 260. It’s just a big bar. You’ve got 13 of fat which is a pretty good amount…especially concerning is the 6g of saturated fat. The salt (sodium) is also pretty jacked up at 16% of your total daily allotment. The protein is at the standard 20 grams, while sugars remain low (not surprising, given the presence of the sugar alcohol and artificial sweetener).

Are Level-1 Bars Gluten-Free? 

I asked a rep online who said that the bars should be gluten-free but that if I am allergic I should avoid them since they aren’t validated per batch gluten-free. So that’s good to know. 

Overall this bar is a about what I expect from a dairy-based bar- and in my opinion it’s NOT all that healthy…nor would I call this anywhere close to a ‘meal replacement’. Where are the whole foods? The micronutrients? The fiber? Literally none of what I would consider essential to any meal. But. To each her own. I suppose 20 grams of protein and 260 calories are statistically adequate for some meals. Let’s lighten up the mood and talk Level-1 packaging now! 

Level-1 Bar Packaging Looks ‘Aight. 

1st Phorm always keeps their look very consistent. Like Justin Bieber. You know what you’re going to get. Skinny jeans, an over-sized black Tee, and a black ball cap pulled down low. Maybe some cool shoes. Swoon. Lol. (see I told you we’d have fun here today reviewing these Level-1 Bars!). But yeah these bars look kind of Bieber-esque in their black shiny wrappers…they have prominent ‘Level-1 Bar’ stamped on the majority of the label, while other pertinent info takes a secondary role. As always the 1st Phorm logo sits boldly over the black, while a somewhat small, but appealing flavor graphic adorns the left top corner. Overall, I think this packaging gets the job done. 1st Phorm branding is not always the prettiest, but it communicates effectively and clearly resonates loudly with their consumer. And that’s really all that I have for you guys! I’ve tried to share the good and the bad regarding the Level-1 Bar. So let’s wrap up with a review summary. After one last observation…

Have I Had This Bar Before? 

In the words of Bastille:

but if you close your eyes

does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all

but if you close your eyes 

does it almost feel like you’ve been here before

That’s what I was sort of humming to myself between bites of the 1st Phorm Level-1 bar. Kind of like…I’ve HAD this bar before. And then they all hit me- one after another. Robert Irvine Fit Crunch. MuscePharm Combat Crunch. BSN Whatever-Their-Bar-is-Called. ProSupps MyBar. These bars are all the exact same. Same texture. Same flavors. Same sweetness. I’ll be darned if they don’t have all virtually the exact same ingredients too. Mind blown yet? Yeah. It is. I’m like dang Sherlock Homes over here. Lol. But. Yeah. Does that change my perception of the Level-1 Bar? Well. Yeah. For me it does. Most people will never notice because they are NOT serial protein bar reviewers with a nose for controversy. Lol. But yeah. I guess once you realize that (most likely) the same guy (or gal) is behind the curtain of all these bars and that they are really all the same, it does change my perceived quality of these bars. They ain’t that great. You now? Kind of normal. Not special or unique.

1st Phorm Level 1 Protein Bar Review Summary

- Level 1 Bars are marketed as the new ‘meal replacement’ high-protein bar from trending blue-collar brand 1st Phorm. They come in four flavors

- The peanut butter lovers flavor has the truest flavor of the four, and is the best in my opinion. The chocolate flavors were average, while the salted caramel flavor lacked enough salt

- The Level 1 Bars contain a very standard list of ingredients including dairy proteins, soy proteins, palm oils, sugar alcohol, artificial sugars, and corresponding nutritional profile that is high calorie, high protein, and high fat with very little fiber

- You can only buy 1st Phorm’s bars from their website in quantities of 2 boxes at a time

The 1st Phorm Bars are $80 for 30 bars, which is simply over-priced for what they are- more of the same. In the Harry Potter world, this is the muggle of protein bars. It’s not special. It’s just the same as a hundred other bars that you’ve had.*

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Allie Lewis

Hi, my name is Allie and this blog is my hobby :) I am passionate about being fit and active, so making a blog about my experience with different products that help me stay healthy made sense to me. Please contact me at any time if you would like to guest post or advertise on-site! Thanks for visiting :) 

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