Friday, December 2, 2011

Favorite things: Protein Bars (sugar free) *links fixed Sale

Many thanks for all the emails I received alerting me to the broken links. They are all fixed, and should work now! ENJOY!

I encounter many people asking of healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth while getting your protein in, and not sacrificing your macros/diet. Since it is Christmas time-- meaning fantastic sales, and therefore time to try and stock up while the deals last-- I decided to list some of my favorite protein bars. These are perfect for a snack/dessert, or make a great gift. I will be doing a top holiday gift guide for the fitness inspired person in your life; from the hard to buy for bodybuilding teen son/nephew, boyfriend, mother, to the yoga enthusiast and outdoor hiker. For now, I 100% recommend giving these bars a try. Non of them contain sugar, and are high in fiber and protein. ENJOY
Protein Bars:

These bars are low carb--NO added sugar, low fat, contain 20g of protein and come in a variety of flavors:

Size: 56grams
Calorie counts vary between 190 kcal-200kcal, and the fat from 3.5-7 depending on the flavor. My personal favorites are Banana Nut, S'mores, Chocolate Brownie, Cinnamon Bun, Raspberry, Blueberry, Cookie Dough, and Choc Mint. They are chewy and fantastic. The only downside is that they are not very filling.

I absolutely love these bars. The texture/crunch is fantastic, and the 2 flavors they have are wonderful. They so far only have a Chocolate Black Cherry, and a Peanut Butter.   These bars, although low in calories and fat (160-170 kcals a bar, and only 4-5g fat), are actually satisfying and have a great "chew" to them.

The stats on these bars are also impressive, although they are much more of a snack bar, and are small. They come in 4 flavors, and are also sugar free!
They come in:
Fudge Truffle
Chocolate Mint
Toasted Coconut
Peanut Butter


Although these don't count as "protein bars" per se, I do love anything CHOCOLITE! I love the bars, the bites, the taste, and the stats! Ranging from 30-40 kcal a "bite" (60-80kcal for the entire 2 bite package), and 95-150 kcal for the bars, these high fiber, sugar free, DELICIOUS chocolate treats and incredible, and highly recommended!
My personal favorites for the BITES are Peanut Butter Patty, which is a whipped airy-Reese type dessert, the Cookies and Cream bites, the  Chocolate Coconut, and the Chocolate Almond Coconut-- although I LOVE them all; the Almond nougat chew is fantastic as well! They additionally come in a Chocolate Crispy Caramel, Peanut Caramel Nougat, Pecan Caramel Chew, Caramel Chocolate Nougat etc

My favorite bars are definitely the S'MORES bar (100 calories, 4 grams of fiber!)--note that has the wrong picture for the product and I included the correct picture below--these bars are fantastic; the cookies and cream bar (95 calories, 9g of fiber!), and the triple fudge chocolate bar (95 cal, 10g of fiber!). They have Turtle, Peanut Butter, and Cashew caramel as well.

Something's not adding up....

Readers of the blog know that I get quite upset with misrepresentations on nutrition labels, lies, inaccurate stats, and purposeful "rounding down" to make their product look more appealing.
I have seen so many, and it always varies by country/region. Different countries adhere to different labeling requirements--thus the varying calorie and carbohydrate counts on so many products sold internationally. Fiber and sugar alcohols will skew calories/carb counts a lot.
In the States, manufactures are allowed to subtract insoluble fiber, sometimes soluble as well, and round to the nearest 10th if it is over 50kcal per serving. This means that if the calorie count is 58kcal, they can round down to 50 calories a serving.

As many of us know, each gram of carbohydrate and protein (using the Atwater method) contain 4kcal (technically it is 4.2kcal protein, and 3.8kcal carbohydrate), and 9kcal for fat (7kcal for alcohol).
 This is perhaps the easiest way to check if the labels are pretty accurate. Often time, you will find these errors on diet/no sugar added/low carbohydrate products, since they tend to be higher in fiber and sugar alcohols.
Recently, I was reading the nutrition label on one of my favorite protein bars, when something struck me as being quite off.

Can you spot the problem?
If there are 4kcal per gram of Carbohydrate/Protein and 9 per gram of fat, then:
Carbs= 22g*4kcal/gram= 88 kcal
Protein= 21g * 4kcal/gram=84 kcal
Fat= 4g* 9kcal/gram= 36 kcal

TOTAL: 208 kcal; NOT 190.

This may seem like a small amount in the grand scheme of things, but it is the principle of the fact that the labels lie and are inaccurate. These add up.
Furthermore, there is no fiber in this product that could be subtracted from the carbohydrate total. You may think that they are compensating for the sugar alcohols, which are often calculated as 2.4kcal/gram.... in that case, the bar would be:
19g*2.4 kcal/g=45.6 calories and the remaining 3 carbs (22-19 sugar alcohols=3) would be 12 calories (3g of carb* 4 kcal/gram=12). Thus, the total calories using this method would be only 132 kcal.... something is clearly not adding up. When companies pull stunts like this, it really makes one wonder and hesitate on buying from this company. There are many fantastic bars that do label correctly, but it always serves as a reminder to be a conscious consumer and not trust all labeling and everything you see/read. Marketing is deceptive.

Here is another one:
Fat= 5grams * 9calories/gram= 45 kcal
Carbohydrates: 19g * 4kcal/gram= 76 kcal
Protein= 20g * 4kcal/gram = 80 calories
With subtracting the fiber, the total is 172, however we all metabolize fiber differently.

Servings (per container):1
Nutrition DataAmount per
Fat (g):5
Carbs (g):19
-- Sugar (g):0
-- Fiber (g):5
Protein (g):20
Sodium (mg):260

Have you had any bad nutritional label experiences?