At PressCamp last week, we passed Confuzzled’s question from our original post about the amount of protein in a Builder’s Max bar on to the folks from Clif:
Confuzzled – 03/29/13

It has always seemed a little ridiculous to me that they are packing 30g of protein into one bar… Please correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t the human body only process about 15g of protein at a time, anyway? The rest of it just causes floaters on the way out.

To our suprise, Clif jumped on the question and had one of their Registered Dietitians’ response within hours.  Apparently there’s no such hard & fast rule: see Clif’s response after the break…

The body will absorb 30g of protein over a period of time. Absorption isn’t really the limiting factor, it’s what the body does with the amino acids after it’s absorbed that changes based on the amount consumed.

Once amino acids are in the blood stream, the body will use as much as it can and needs for building muscles. However, it can only build muscle so fast, so a large influx of amino acids into the system can lead to some amino acids being used for muscle building and some being oxidized for energy.

This is why we use a blend of protein sources with variable digestion rates in our Builders Max. Whey digest quickly and therefore provides the first amino acids to into the blood stream, followed by soy and finally casein. This allows for a moderate and steady delivery of amino acids into the blood so that more of the amino acids are used for muscle building rather than oxidized for energy.

Additionally, protein needs are truly different for each person.  The greater the personal need, the more likely the amino acids will be used for muscle building, cell generation, and other aspects of recovery versus broken down to be used as energy.

No matter what your personal need daily need or workout entailed that day, most people’s muscle building potential will reach a plateau with around 25-30g of protein at once.

So there you have it!  By blending protein sources such that they’re utilized over a longer period of time, Clif feel that they are able to deliver large amounts of protein to maximize recovery and muscle building.


  1. DG on

    [edit: comment is in response to another that was deleted for violating Bikerumor’s commenting rules]
    a) you seem very angry about something?
    Do CLIF BARs contain GMOs or bioengineered ingredients?
    Clif Bar & Company is committed to sourcing ingredients that are not genetically engineered in all of our products. We have stringent protocols for GMOs which includes requiring affidavits from ingredient suppliers demonstrating they can meet our non GMO requirements
    c) [deleted]

  2. DG on

    I politely requested that EPO Pusher consider researching his comments prior to casting aspersions as to the quality and content of Cliff products.

  3. quickgeezer on

    I just go with the regular Clif Bars, being 60 and not really training, or racing anything other than old age — they’re great for the first break of a good, long ride. If I wanted the protein blast, I’d trust Clif Bars first.

  4. Devin on

    All I want from ClifBar is to make their PanForte bar more available. It’s awesome! Light, tasty flavor, NO SOY, different. But nobody carries them! I’d eat Clif for every ride if I could avoid the processed soy- it doesn’t agree with me in a big way.

  5. Bill on

    Bring back shot roks! Tasted great, but more importantly, they didn’t melt in your jersey pocket. They were great for that completely hosed just finished a race in the middle of nowhere period where you have to get some protein in but can’t stomach something huge right away.

  6. Wil on

    I had to quit eating reg Clif bars b/c they did a number on my GI system such that my significant other was ready to kick me out of the bedroom. Think it’s been singled out to the brown rice syrup as the Lunas don’t seem to have the same problem for me and don’t contain the amount of brown rice syrup. I have since started making my own bars sans brown rice syrup. I’d love to see Clif come put with a better concoction for me.

  7. MulletRacer on

    I thought whey was bad for use during endurance sport. I thought it caused buildup of hydrogen ions in the blood which leads to fatigue.

  8. vectorbug on

    Check out the big brain on Volsung. To be pedantic, Soy isoflavones activate your body’s estrogen receptors, proteins that detect the presence of estrogen and carry out effects such as changes in gene expression. However, isoflavones do so more weakly than your body’s natural estrogen. If estrogen is absent, isoflavones weakly activate the estrogen receptor, mitigating the effect of low estrogen. If estrogen is abundant, isoflavones interfere with the activity of natural estrogen, limiting the effect of high estrogen levels. Since the structure of isoflavones is similar to estrogen, isoflavones may decrease your body’s production of estrogen and increase the rate of estrogen degradation due to feedback mechanisms that control estrogen levels.


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