JERF stands for Just Eat Real Food. It's an Internet acronym I wasn't aware of until I heard it mentioned on Sean Croxton's Quote Of The Day Show podcast. Sean coined the term JERF and since then has invented the JERF Bar, a whole food, meal replacement snack that is, as the name suggest, based on real food. So, maybe you want to buy JERF bars or want to know what's in them or if JERF Bars are healthy. Either way, you came to the right place. In this unbiased review, I not only show you the ingredients in Just Eat Real Food bars but, because I also bought them, I'll put them to the taste test. Keep reading and lets see if JERF Bars are right for you.
JERF Bar Nutrition Facts
Currently, there are 3 flavors of Just Eat Real Food Bars. Those flavors are:
- Chocolate Coconut
- Cherry and Seeds
- Cinnamon Raisin
Each JERF Bar weighs 50g and contains the following calories and nutrition facts:
|Chocolate Coconut (1 bar=50g)||Cherry & Seeds (1 bar=50g)||Cinnamon Raisin (1 Bar=50g)|
|Calories From Fat||100||100||90|
|Total Fat||11g (17%DV)||11g (17%DV)||10g (15%DV)|
|Saturated Fat||3g (15%DV)||1.5g (8%DV)||1g (5%DV)|
|Sodium||35mg (1%DV)||35mg (1%DV)||40mg (2%DV)|
|Total Carbohydrate||20g (7%DV)||20g (7%DV)||21g (7%DV)|
|Dietary Fiber||13g (52%DV)||11g (44%DV)||12g (48%DV)|
In the table above “%DV” stands for percent daily value. This is the percentage of a nutrient that a food provides. For example, Chocolate Coconut provides 17% of the amount of fat we should be eating per day. The Daily Values are based on us eating 2000 calories per day. Eating more or less than 2000 calories will skew these daily values up or down.
Understanding Daily Values
When reading Nutrition Facts labels, it's always handy to know what the percentages (Daily Value percentages) mean. According to the FDA, anything that is 5% or less means the food is “low” in an ingredient while anything that is 20% or more is “high” in an ingredient.
So, just remember:
- 5% or less = low
- 20% or more = high
Armed with this knowledge, we can quickly scan the table above to see that the Just Eat Real Food Bar is pretty low in the bad stuff and kind of high in some of the good stuff.
Let's now take a look at the Nutrition Facts label above and highlight a few things that might be interesting to people.
How Much Fat?
From the Nutrition Facts labels above, we can see that the JERF Bars provides between 15% and 17% of the daily value for fat that should be consumed per day. While that is not technically “high” it's approaching high.
But all fat is not the same. Just knowing total fat doesn't tell us what kind of fat we are talking about. Saturated fat is worse than monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. From the Nutrition Facts panels above, we see that each bar doesn't have much saturated fat (that's
good). Cinnamon raisin is the lowest in saturated fat (1g or 5% DV) while Coconut Chocolate flavor has the most saturated fat (3g or 15% the Daily Value).
Given that 20% is “high” (see “understanding daily values,” above), Coconut Chocolate flavor might be better called “almost high.” in saturated fat. Still, if this was the worst thing you ate all day, you'd still be eating a low saturated fat diet.
All this says to us that most of the fat in the JERF Bars are the healthier mono and poly unsaturated fats.
But what about omega 3 fats?
Omega 3 fats are generally regarded as more heart healthy than omega 6 fats. I believe there are some omega 3 fats in these bars because they contain seeds (flax, pumpkin, etc). Seeds tend to contain Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This is not the same as EPA and DHA, the primary omega 3s in fish.
A small amount (maybe 1%-2%) of ALA can be converted into EPA and DHA. Whether or not this makes a big difference in most people is debatable. Regardless, alpha-linolenic acid does appear to have health benefits. For example, at least one study has noted flaxseed lowers blood pressure. Is that due to the ALA in flax or something else?
Difficult to say.
How much omega 3 fats are in JERF Bars? I cannot say but I do believe some omega 3s are present in the these bars.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) might also be present in Chocolate Coconut flavor JERF Bars because coconut contains MCTs. Again, how much MCTs are present, I cannot say. If I ever have the opportunity to find out, I'll update this review.
How Much Fiber?
In my opinion, the fiber is where all of the Just Eat Real Food bars really shine. All of the JERF Bars are very high in fiber, providing between 11g and 13g of fiber per bar. To put things in perspective, according to the USDA, 1 cup of oatmeal has about 4 grams of fiber.
Depending on the bar you eat, it appears the fiber comes from a combination of organic inulin, organic vegetable fiber, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sesame seeds, organic chia seeds and maybe organic goji berries.
The fiber in JERF Bars is a combination of both soluble and insoluble fibers.
Fiber is very important and most Americans -and I suspect those in other 1st world countries – don't get enough of it. Fiber is one natural way to lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, as little as 10 g of fiber a day can reduce total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL).
The JERF bar label mentions “prebiotic vegetable fiber” as one of the ingredients. I'm glad they included the word fiber in that phrase. What are prebiotics? Prebiotics the food that probiotic bacteria eat. Prebiotics are a sexy name, but in reality, they are just fibers. While I generally don't feel people need to take prebiotic supplements, as long as it's made clear that it's fiber, I'm ok with it.
The prebiotic vegetable fiber comes from the root of the cassiva plant. Cassiva, whose scientific name is Manihot esculenta, is also called yuca in some areas. The cassiva plant is also the source of the tappioca in JERF Bars.
Inulin is a popular soluble fiber that is added to many processed foods to beef up the fiber content. In some fiber-rich foods, it's one of the first ingredients you see. But, with all 3 flavors of JERF bars, inulin is listed toward the bottom of the ingredients.
This is actually a good good thing.
This means there isn't much inulin in the product. It's not that inulin is bad, but rather that there is a greater diversity of other fibers in JERF bars. Greater diversity of fiber equals a heather gut (microbiome).
Sometimes inulin can cause gas and this can be a problem for those with Crohns. The product website says that the organic inulin in the product will not cause gas or bloating problems.
What Kind Of Protein?
JERF Bars contain 13 grams of protein per bar. Depending on the bar you choose, most of that protein will be provided by organic pea protein
or organic pumpkin seeds. To see how the JERF Bar stacks up against other bars, see the Protein Bar review.
What Are Sweeteners In JERF Bars?
All JERF Bars contain organic tapioca syrup and stevia as their main sweaters. The stevia, like all the other ingredients in the products, is organic. Each bar has other ingredients that provide flavor too (such as cacao in Chocolate Coconut).
JERF Bar Ingredients
For the whole food nutrition, health conscious person, the ingredients in the Just Eat Food Bar are pretty impressive in that they are:
- USDA Certified Organic (this is the best organic certification)
- Contain no GMO ingredients
- Gluten free
- Soy free
- Dairy free
- Kosher (certified by Natural Food Certifiers)
For those concerned with climate change, the website also mentions that JERF Bars are made at a facility that uses solar energy too.
Here's a list of all the ingredients in Just Eat Real Food Bars:
|Chocolate Coconut||Cherry & Seeds||Cinnamon Raisin|
|Organic almond butter||Organic almond butter||Organic almond butter|
|Organic prebiotic vegetable fiber||Organic prebiotic vegetable fiber||Organic prebiotic vegetable fiber|
|Organic pea protein||Organic pea protein||Organic pea protein|
|Organic tapioca syrup||Organic cherries||Organic tapioca syrup|
|Organic coconut||Organic pumpkins seeds||Organic raisins|
|Organic dates||Organic tapioca syrup||Organic sunflower seeds|
|Organic cacio nibs||Organic sunflower seeds||Organic cinnamon|
|Organic cocoa||Organic sesame seeds||Organic flax meal|
|Organic inulin||Organic chia||Organic inulin|
|Organic stevia||Organic inulin||Organic nutmeg|
|Organic goji berry extract||Organic stevia||Organic stevia|
|Organic goji berry extract||Organic goji berry extract|
In the ingredients table above, read the lists from top to bottom. This will tell you which ingredients are present the most and the least. For example, since organic almond butter is present first all 3 flavors, it's the most abundant ingredient.
What About The Vitamins?
At the bottom of the Nutrition Fact label we see low levels for vitamin A and C and the minerals calcium and iron. Don't worry about these too much. Most people are not deficient in these anyway so I would not lose sleep that you don't see much here.
Also, remember these are not the only vitamins in JERF Bars. Because the product is based on foods, there are thousands plant nutrients in JERF Bars in addition to vitamins and minerals. Because of the law, they can't list them on the label.
That said, I would be interested in knowing how much potassium is in JERF Bars. Potassium will be listed on the new Nutrition Facts label and when that's rolled out, I'll update this review.
Any Artificial Colors?
No. The product website (JERFBar.com) states there are no colorings or dyes in the product.
Can You Eat JERF Bars With Celiac?
Yes. JEFR Bars are certified gluten free so they should be no problem for those with celiac disorder.
What About Peanut Allergies?
JERF Bars contain no peanuts although the product website does say the kitchen that makes the bars also processes peanuts for other products. To be safe, those with peanut allergies may want to avoid JERF Bars.
Who Certified JERF Bar Organic?
Jerf Bars are USDA certified organic. ECOCERT ICO (EcoCertICO.com), is the USDA accredited company that tested the bars to ensure that they are indeed organic. The company has been in business since 1991. In the US, organic foods must meet strict manufacturing processes which ensure that 95% of a products ingredients are “organic.”
JERF Bars And Weight Loss?
The JERF Bar is a whole food meal replacement bar. In other words, one would eat a meal replacement bar in place of an actual meal. Meal replacement bars – in general -tend to have fewer calories than what people normally eat. This, along with curbing appetite, is how weight loss occurs. The JERF Bar is no different because it only has 220 calories per bar.
By substituting a 220 calorie meal for something of greater calories, it makes sense how this might work. This is the same logic for drinking meal replacement shakes too. When I taste tested JERF Bars (see below for the results), I did feel my hunger was less for a period of time after I ate them. My guess is this was probably due to the fiber and protein in the bars.
See the Meal Replacement Shake page for more on those products.
How Do JERF Bars Taste?
I purchased 2 variety packs of JERF Bars for this taste test. Each variety pack had 3 bars (1 of each flavor). This gave me the opportunity to taste 2 of each of the original flavors. I have to say they all tasted pretty good.
The Cinnamon Raisin flavor had a hint of cinnamon when I opened the package. Chocolate Coconut definitively smelled like coconut and I
could taste little bits of coconut too. The Cherry and Seeds flavor, while not having a “cherry aroma” did have quite a few seeds that I could taste.
Both Cherry and Seeds and Cinnamon Raisin flavors left a little greasy (for lack of a better word) residue on my fingers but it wasn't too bad. Chocolate Coconut was the exception to this and did not have a residue.
While I really enjoyed all 3 flavors, my favorite overall was Chocolate Coconut. It's hard to beat a coconut and chocolate combo. That said, I would not turn down any of them if they were offered to me.
Do The Bars Have An Expiration Date?
Yes, the Bars, I purchased came with an expiration date that was 8 months from the date of purchase. While that might not sound like a long time to some, I actually liked it. It speaks to the lack of preservatives in JEFR Bars.
Can You Put Them In The Freezer?
Just as an experiment, I wondered what would happen if I put JERF Bars in my freezer. Since the Bars have around 10 grams of fat (it's mostly the healthy kind of fat) I wondered if being cold would have an effect on the texture. It did. Putting the bars in the freezer makes them hard as a rock and too hard to chew. Thawing obviously, reverses this condition.
Removing the Bars from the freezer and placing them in the refrigerator, causes them to be less hard, but still too hard for my taste.
From my taste test, freezing or refrigerating JERF Bars and then thawing them does not effect taste in any way. This is good for those who buy a lot and want to extend their shelf life.
Who Makes JERF Bars?
The company is called JERF Nutrition LLC. The company website is JerfBar.com. The address listed on the bars is 5173 Warning Road #146 San Diego CA 92120. This address corresponds to a UPS Store so a hunch is the #146 is a company PO Box.
The company is partially owned by Sean Croxton, who is well known for his Underground Wellness podcast and the Quote Of the Day Show podcast.
How Much Do They Cost?
When this review was created, JerfBar.com had the following prices:
- Box of 12 bars is $33.95 ($2.83/bar)
- Variety Sample Pack (9 bars) is $26 ($2.89/bar)
At less than $3 per bar, this puts them in line with most other protein bars. That's not bad given all the food-based ingredients and healthy certifications.
- The product website accepts all major credit cards and Paypal too.
- There is also free shipping on all orders shipped within America.
- Free shipping internationally for all orders more than $99.
While the company says the bars should be showing up in stores soon, orders can can always be placed at JerfBar.com.
JERF Bar Guarantee
JERF Bars come with a 60 day money back guarantee. Just send back the boxes they came in for a refund. The company website says they will issue a refund even if all the JERF Bars are eaten. Just send back the empty boxes and you get your refund. Refunds can be issued by contacting the company via their website.
So, What's The Verdict?
I honestly liked JERF Bars. They reminded me of something homemade, like what one might make in their kitchen. You can taste the food when you chew them and that puts them ahead of most other protein and energy bars I've tasted. If you've been searching for a healthy food bar, that won't make you feel guilty when you eat it, then you may have just found the answer you've been looking for.