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Torq bars

  • Torq Bars
  • £1 each, £22 for 24, £40 for 48
  • Torq
  • 0845 125 9081

Ah, energy bars. Thick slabs of rubbery unpleasantness that require more energy to chew than they actually deliver? Not any more, thanks to Torq. These new energy bars, developed by top fitness consultant Matt Hart, promise all the usual energy bar benefits – carbohydrate (over 45g per bar), low fat (just over a gram per bar). Plus they’re intended to be easy to eat, which sounds obvious but is a hurdle over which many competing products trip. And there’s the Torq bar’s “secret” ingredient – ribose.

So what’s that then? We’ll apologise in advance to any experts in human physiology in case we get this all horribly wrong, but ribose is a simple sugar that the body uses to manufacture ATP. ATP is the fuel of your body – it gets broken down into other compounds (ADP and Pi) which releases energy that allows you to do stuff. Stuff you eat (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) is metabolised to reform the ADP and Pi into ATP. But it needs ribose to do it. Cells can make ribose out of glucose, but it takes time and if you’re exercising hard you can start to run low – you use it up quicker than your body can make it. A ribose supplement bypasses that step so your body can continue to do something useful with the fuel you feed it.

Research shows some pretty significant benefits for ribose supplements (cellular recovery improved by up to 430%…), and you don’t need to take much of it – each Torq Bar is just 0.77% ribose and the recommended dose is 5g a day. Apparently without any supplements it can take up to four days for ATP levels to return to normal after strenuous exercise. With supplements that can be cut to under a day. Being a naturally-occurring substance you can’t do any harm by taking it, although as with all things you don’t want to have too much – apparently there have been some instances of diarrhoea amongst people who’ve taken 20 times the recommended amount…

That’s the main innovation in Torq bars. The other one is that, remarkably, they do taste pretty good. Two flavours are available – Tangy Apricot (Torq bar 1) and Sun-dried Banana (Torq bar 2) – both of which manage to taste like what they’re supposed to. They’re quite chewy, but in a soft way, so eating them doesn’t feel like trying to chow down a bit of old pipe lagging as is so often the way. In fact, we’ve even found ourselves making a cuppa and thinking, “Ooh, one of those Torq bars’d be nice now” which isn’t something we remember doing with any other energy bars. We’re not talking fruit flapjack levels of tasty here, but they’re perilously close to, dare we say it, moreish.

But do they work? Without an impressive battery of laboratory tests, it’s hard to say for sure. But we’ve been eating these things on big rides for a little while now, and subjectively we certainly feel less drained towards the end. The research certainly backs up the claims for ribose supplements. When it comes down to it, though, an energy bar you can bear to eat is always going to be more effective than one you can’t…

At the moment the best way to get hold of Torq bars is direct from Torq (contact details above) although they’ll be in shops soon once the distribution’s sorted out.

Verdict: Torq has come up with a winner here. These bars taste good, do good stuff once they’re in there and the price is very reasonable.


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