REVIEW: Dive Bar Protein Bars

February 16, 2024
REVIEW: Dive Bar Protein Bars

In my quest to find the best protein bar on the market, today I’m breaking down the Dive Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bar.

But first things first…

Who is Dive Bar?

According to their website:

Professor Phil [Capone] realized the public’s need for an energy bar that was part sports drink, part protein shake, and totally delicious. Students, working class heroes, and super parents alike, all needed survival food for their daily adventure called life. A year later, in 2016, after dozens of recipes and hundreds of hours researching micronutrition, physiology, and hangovers...  the creamy, caffeinated, Dive Bar was born!

The caffeine is something I haven’t seen before — which can be bad as a midnight snack.

But overall it sounds like Dive Bar should have healthy protein bars. 

Well, there’s only one way to find out.

Dive Bar Ingredients

Dive Bar says this about their bar: “Creamy Balls of Peanut Butter. Sweet Semi Dark Chocolate. Chewy and Gooey. Oh, and protein and fiber, caffeine, and everything else. In. Your. Mouth.”  


I was expecting them to say something about the quality of their ingredients like most other brands. I guess they only care about the taste of their protein bar. 

But this review is going to show you whether Dive Bar gives up on nutrition in the pursuit of taste. And break down the ingredients in the process — some of their ingredients might raise some eyebrows… if you know what I mean.

(Bad ingredients.)

From Dive Bar Nutrition's website

Let’s ignore the Nutrition Facts for a moment and just focus on the long list of ingredients on the image above. 

I immediately see whey protein, corn, and three different sugars — tapioca syrup, brown rice syrup, and glucose. Not the best of ingredients.

If only there were a better way to create protein bars that aren’t just candy bars in disguise. (Foreshadowing)

So, let’s break these ingredients down into an easy to read list.

  1. Whey Protein
  2. Peanut Butter
  3. Soluble Corn Fiber
  4. Tapioca Syrup
  5. Brown Rice Syrup
  6. Whole Wheat Flour
  7. Stevia
  8. Glucose
  9. Cocoa
  10. Canola Oil
  11. Soy Lecithin
  12. Salt
  13. Natural Flavorings

As might already know, the FDA requires food manufacturers to list their ingredients in order by weight.

Which means that the Dive Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bar is filled with whey protein and peanut butter. Yay! 


What about the rest?

Whey Protein

If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, then whey protein is a no go.

Notice they don’t specify the type of whey they use. That just means they’re using the cheapest and unhealthiest type of whey — likely sourced from industrial dairy cows pumped full of synthetic hormones, treated inhumanely, and with an unnatural diet — all of which are problematic for both your health and planetary wellness.

At least, if Dive Bar mentioned which whey protein they — concentrate or isolate — people with lactose intolerance can make a better call.

That being said, whey protein is a better choice over the typical soy protein isolate that you find in most protein bars but it’s still problematic if clean and healthy protein bars is what you’re after.

Soluble Corn FIber

I suspect the soluble corn fiber is here to do two things: One, add some structure to the protein bar and two, add fiber to the nutrition label.

I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to get fiber from fruits and vegetables over processed corn, especially when it is not from an organic source. 

Corn crops are one of the most mass produced in the USA, meaning they’re produced using heavy amounts of pesticides and herbicides… the last thing you want in a protein bar with healthy ingredients.

And since the label says 7 grams of dietary fiber, it’s safe to say you’re getting 7 grams of corn fiber when you eat Dive bar. Over 10% of this bar is made from corn. Yikes.

Too Much Sugar

Now let’s go to the next group of ingredients.

I wish I could say it was something else, but they're all just sugar using different names: tapioca syrup, brown rice syrup, stevia, and glucose.

This is a common tactic used by food & supplement companies to hide problematic ingredients on the label. If you notice the difference between the total carbohydrates (25 grams), fiber (7 grams), and added sugar (4 grams). There is a difference of 14 grams of carbohydrates unaccounted for. 

Regardless of the seemingly “better-for-you” naming of ingredients, this extra 14 grams of carbs is just pure sugar and the body will treat it as such.

That much sugar will spike your glucose through the roof. So, unless you’re eating this during a marathon, it doesn't really make any sense to have this much sugar. 

Plus, if you’re trying to lose weight with exercise and calorie restriction, then you should go for low carb, high protein snacks.

The most interesting choice here is the inclusion of stevia.

Why is it there?

Stevia is a non caloric sweetener and a lot of brands use it. But what’s the point of adding stevia when you’ve already added literal sugar with calories? Does the stevia add more sweetness to all this sugar? 

Maybe the point is to present the appearance of being a healthy option with the assumption that customers will overlook the other ingredients, not knowing that these are all just sugar.

Canola Oil

Throughout our reviews, you’ll notice that we bash palm oil a lot for being a cheap unsustainable source of fat.

But is canola oil any better?

IMO it’s not. Because canola oil is an industrial seed oil. According to the Canola Council of Canada, canola oil requires the use of solvent extraction and then desolventizing to remove the hexane (solvent).

That doesn’t sound appealing to me.

Plus most canola oil is GMO. 

And then there are the downsides of too much omega 6 — not good for maintaining your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio — and increased inflammation.

Using ultra-processed seed and vegetable oils is a hallmark of the food industry. It’s one of the most problematic ingredients used in packaged food because they devastate your metabolism.

Final Verdict

Dive Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bar is packed with cheap ingredients. Even though whey protein and canola oil are NOT the cheapest sources of protein and fat on the market — that goes to soy protein and palm oil — they’re still not the best choice.

But at least Dive Bar don’t use any artificial ingredients… just industrial ones.

Plus, they have way too much sugar to be considered as a healthy source of protein and good nutrition, which is why they didn’t make my list for the cleanest or healthiest protein bars on the market.

And it’s exactly for these reasons I can’t recommend it to you. 

But if you’re looking for a real protein bar with real ingredients, see below.

Tejesh Reddy

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