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IQ Bars, made in Spokane Valley, are meant to boost brain health

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 16, 2018

Will Nitze isn’t promising they’ll make you smarter.

But each ingredient in his new trio of IQ Bars serves the same nutritional purpose: to boost brain health.

And the concept is proving popular.

The recent Kickstarter campaign to bring his IQ Bars to life was fully funded within less than two weeks. Nitze had been hoping to raise $10,000 for his first batches of bars. Instead, he managed to pull in more than $60,000 from more than 1,100 backers.

He’s also made a couple of trips to the Inland Northwest. And more visits are in the works.

Although Nitze is based in Boston – that’s where he came up with his concept and tested recipes – his new snack bars are manufactured in Spokane Valley. Nitze contracts with the makers of BumbleBars to produce his IQ Bars, which he developed nights and weekends while working in sales at a software company.

“I hated it,” he said. “I started experiencing brain fog and had trouble focusing. What I learned pretty quickly was that it was mostly related to diet.”

Back then, Nitze ate a lot of take-out and things “like big sandwiches and standard carbs: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes – a lot of that. I would eat the occasional salad, but it would have croutons in it. I didn’t have time to cook.”

When he wanted to make a change, he couldn’t find what he was looking for on grocery store shelves. “I looked, as a consumer,” Nitze said. “I wanted to buy something, but what I found was there was nothing out there. There was no ready-to-eat brain-food product.”

So he decided to create one.

Or, rather, three.

Nitze, a 27-year-old Harvard University grad who grew up in New Jersey and has lived in Boston for the past 10 years, developed three flavors of snack bars aimed at supporting brain health and combating cognitive decline in tandem. They are all vegan.

And they were all decidedly “terrible” at first.

“I started with the nutritional profile and how do I make that work and then figured out how to make it taste good,” Nitze said. “There were many iterations that were not palatable for every reason you can imagine. It took me a year and a half to figure it out.”

Today, IQ Bars are available in almond cacao, blueberry walnut, and matcha hazelnut.

The matcha flavor has been “a surprise hit,” Nitze said, but his favorite is almond cacao.

Each bar has nine or 10 ingredients, such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, coconut flakes, dates and chicory root fiber.

“It’s a short, readable list,” Nitze said. “It’s simple. It’s pronounceable.”

And each ingredient serves a nutritional purpose; there aren’t any “filler” ingredients, he said.

There’s no added sugar, for example. Plus, IQ Bars are dairy free, grain free and soy free. They’re compatible with paleo, ketogenic, Whole 30, low-carb, vegan and kosher diets. And they’re chock full of fiber, vitamin E, Omega 3s and flavanoids.

“They protect against free radicals,” Nitze said. “They support healthy brain volume. They fortify the brain structure so it doesn’t shrink or degrade. They also support the generation of new neurons; they literally help you grow your brain.”

IQ Bars aren’t meant to be meal replacements, Nitze said. They’re meant to be healthful snacks, meant to supplement a lifestyle that includes getting enough sleep and exercise.

“I created the product for myself because I needed something ready to go that adheres to all of my nutritional goals,” Nitze said. “This is just one piece of a broader lifestyle choice that you have to make.”

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