TORQ fitness TORQ bars - wheat free energy bars

Added on 03 Mar, 2006 .
Wheat free TORQ fitness TORQ bars review

We were very pleased when TORQ fitness offered to send us some bars to test and review. Finding energy bars that are wheat &/or gluten free is a really difficult task. Unfortunately TORQ bars are only wheat free as they contain oats, so people with celiac disease will unfortunately have to miss out on these.

The bars come in four flavours:

  • Pineapple & Ginger
  • Raspberry & Apple
  • Tangy Apricot
  • Sundried Banana

We were really surprised when we received the box of 24 bars, it was heavy. In our experience if you put 24 normal energy bars together it wouldn't really weigh that much. We felt this was a good indication, because if they felt heavy then they were probably substantial enough to last for a good exercise session and beyond.

And here's a bit of the science - TORQ quote: "Ribose is a natural sugar, which when taken in small quantities has been found to significantly enhance recovery from heavy exercise. It is present within every living cell of the body and is used to manufacture ATP (the energy currency of the cell) from scratch. Whilst the body can manufacture its own ribose from glucose, this requires energy and is a very slow process. Taking as little as 3-5 grams per day will return cellular levels of ATP to normal within 6-22 hours of exhaustive exercise. Without supplementation, this is likely to take between 26 and 93 hours."

The testers for this product review were all people who take part in energetic sports, and hence need refuelling with energy supplements during exercise and afterwards. Five testers and five opinions, so we certainly got a mixed review for the TORQ bars.

Tester 1: Tom, 50, Canada, backcountry skier, runner, cyclist, hiker
Bars tested: Pineapple & Ginger, Raspberry & Apple, Sundried Banana

Tom tested his bars backcountry skiing in the Canadian Rockies in January. We were interested to see how they would perform in colder temperatures as they are promoted as staying soft in the cold, we wanted to see if it was really true.

Unfortunately temperatures didn't do the test much of a favour with some very mild days in the backcountry, typically 0°C to -5°C. Tom reported that he didn't really feel that they contributed a huge amount to replenishing his energy levels, but he did like the texture and taste. He was also very impressed when told the cost, especially as they work out about 50% of the cost of the bars that he usually buys in Canada.

Tom generously shared around some pieces to other skiers in his group, who happily received their samples and had no bad comments to make.

Thumbs up for the TORQ bars from Tom.

Tester 2: Michael, 50, UK, runner, swimmer (ex-competitive), pilates instructor
Bars tested: Pineapple & Ginger, Sundried Banana

Michael used his bars after swimming sessions. He was keen on the taste, in fact reporting "the taste was great". But unfortunately he didn't like the texture of the bars and thought them a little too chewy.

Michael also reported that after eating one he felt "stuffed but not satisfied".

A thumbs up and thumbs down from Michael.

Tester 3: Gail, 30, UK, runner
Bars tested: Raspberry & Apple, Tangy Apricot

Gail ate the Raspberry & Apple bar after a hard track training session doing intervals for 1 hour. She reported that she definitely felt it had restored her energy levels after eating it, but wasn't keen on the texture and also felt that the taste was a bit too cloying.

Final comments were that the bar was very sweet, which while it's what she would expect from a sport bar means that she wouldn't buy it again. Unfortunately the Tangy Apricot bar received the same comments.

Thumbs down for the TORQ bars from Gail.

Tester 4: Helen, 41, UK & Canada, runner, swimmer, cyclist, cross-country skier
Bars tested:Pineapple & Ginger, Raspberry & Apple, Tangy Apricot, Sundried Banana

Having the most bars to test meant that they got a reasonably good all round pasting on the exercise front from Helen. In fact they also had a trial as breakfast after a swimming session before embarking on a particularly arduous trip around the supermarket at 8 in the morning.

Helen's favourite was the Pineapple & Ginger because it was really flavoursome, the least favourite was the Sundried Banana, it seems that food manufacturers around the world just can't seem to get the banana flavour reproduced to taste like banana, so they probably shouldn't bother.

The swimming/shopping trip breakfast TORQ bar was a success, and the mid-morning nibbles feeling that usually hits, didn't. In fact she cruised through to lunchtime without thinking about food, something that is virtually unheard of!

Finally in February the bars got a cold weather workout in the Canadian Rockies. A cross-country skiing trip that was -14°C but with windchill came in at -19°C. The bar was kept in an outside pocket of a top layer so that it got a reasonably good chilling. The bar did harden up slightly, but it still stayed soft enough to chew without danger to teeth, and it still tasted the same.

From a refuelling point of view it allowed Helen to restart after the fuel stop feeling ready for the return to the ski lodge, and to keep going with less fatigue for longer. This was important because alternative wheat free bars on the market, that often seem to only consist of puffed rice just don't hack it (TORQ bars do have some puffed rice but are not overloaded with it).

A very successful thumbs up for the TORQ bars from Helen.

Tester 5: Nigel, 44, UK & Canada, runner, swimmer, cyclist, cross-country skier
Bars tested:Pineapple & Ginger, Raspberry & Apple, Tangy Apricot, Sundried Banana

Nigel tried the bars in a variety of situations, from breakfast to sport use. He reported that he liked the taste and texture, and found them a huge improvement on other bars he's tried.

Having tried to eat a whole bar in one go he found that he preferred to have a maximum of half a bar at a time, and during sport found that a couple of bites was enough for refuelling on a regular basis.

Nigel also thought that they helped him to keep going without the steep drop-off that sometimes can be experienced towards the end of an exercise session. Overall he reported that he was very happy with the TORQ bars performance.

Thumbs up for the TORQ bars from Nigel.

So overall a very mixed set of reviews. But the majority view was that the bars were great, tasty, satisfying and not too expensive. Two of our testers would not try them again, but three certainly would choose them over other energy bars on the market.

Our testing panel is made up of people with wheat allergies and also people who can eat wheat as part of their normal diet.

Matt Hart, owner of TORQ fitness commented on our review:

"Thanks for that. It's great that you take the time to review your products properly."

"My experience is that people who have tried lots of energy bars in the past love the TORQ bar, but if its compared to a normal cereal bar or eaten by someone who doesn't usually use energy bars, they are not necessarily so warmly received."

"We've got 5 wheat-free energy drinks due for launch in the next couple of weeks..."

nutritional information:

For typical nutritional values per bar refer to the TORQ website.

allergy advice:

Wheat free, vegetarian

Allergy alert: contains gluten, may contain traces of nuts