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Protein Bars Review: Pure Protein High Protein Bars

Stealing an idea from my cyber-buddy and gastric bypass surgery peer Melting Mama (visit her awesomely amazing and talented self here:   http://www.meltingmama.typepad.com/wls/  ), I am going to review these protein bars that I picked up at WalMart last week.

 Here’s the thing with protein.  Once you’ve had WLS, you spend your life trying to figure out ways to get enough in.  A lot of people feel that by now, you should be able to eat enough to get enough protein.  Other people think that you should be forever dependent upon the dreaded Protein shakes.  I have issues with the protein shakes.  Most of them are unpalatable, and those that I can choke down by doctoring them up with other stuff, I have to spend time doctoring up with other stuff and that discourages me from making them.  I need something fast and convenient, but the premade shakes that I’ve tried don’t cut it.  I can choke some of them down, but for the most part – NASTY.

So, I’ve been looking more and more often at protein bars as my go to source of instant and convenient sources of protein.  I like that I can grab one on my way out the door in the morning without worrying about it taking time away from making the kids’ breakfast or lunch, and I like the fact that if we go on a long car trip, I don’t have to pray we find a Wendy’s for chili or a Taco Bell for beans and cheese as my only sources of protein.  Neither are very good for me, very tasty, or reliably located. 

After struggling to like the Atkins bars – and yes, it has been a struggle – I took a recommendation from Melting Mama’s product reviews and picked up the Pure Protein bars.  She highly recommends the Chocolate Deluxe bars, but I’ve never been a huge fan of pure, unadulterated chocolate.  I picked up one of the Chocolate Deluxe bars, along with a Blueberry Crumb Cake bar and a Chewy Chocolate Chip bar.  I’ve now tasted all of them, and I’ll give you the run down.

Pure Protein High Protein Bar Chewy Chocolate Chip Flavor:   I opened this with skepticism.  Of course, it LOOKS good on the package.  The label pictures chocolate chip cookies and loose chocolate chips, surrounding this yummy looking candy bar appearing type protein bar.  I have come to expect pictures to be deceiving.  The first thing I noticed when I opened the wrapper is what was NOT there.  If you come to rely on protein bars, you will find that MOST bars, when you open them, have a yucky (for lack of a better word) smell.  The drinks, the shakes, and the bars all have a very distinct odor to them, and it’s not pleasant.  This bar did not have that odor when I opened it.  It completely smelled like chocolate.

When I bit into it, the first thing I noticed is that it is chewy – kind of nougaty (is that a word?).  It’s not creamy smooth like you would find in, say, a Snickers bar, but it is not as gritty as I have found in other protein bars.  There are chocolate chips – not a ton of them, but enough that you you get a good taste of them.  Usually, I don’t mind when Eilis or Granuaile takes my protein bars and finishes them, but I have to admit, I could have finished this one if Gracie hadn’t grabbed it.  It had a nice flavor – you won’t confuse this with a Take 5 candy bar or anything like that.  It definitely is good for you, but it doesn’t have that “oh my God, this is awful, it must be good for me” vibe to it.  I can definitely recommend this bar.  As for Nutritional Info, here’s the basics:

Calories:   190

Calories from Fat: 45

Trans Fat: 0

Sugars: 1 gram

Sugar Alcohols: 9 grams (if you’re super sensitive, this can cause GI upset, but I did okay with it)

Protein: 20 grams (WOOHOO!!)

There  is also about 20% of your RDA of quite a few vitamins – especially the Bs.

Pure Protein High Protein Bar Chocolate Deluxe Flavor:   Once the skepticism was erased by the good flavor of the chocolate chip bar, I had no trouble opening this one to give it a try.  Again, you will   notice when you open it that it does NOT have the protein smell.  I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I know it certainly helps me eat these bars.  Again, this looks like a chocolate candy bar.  When you bite into this one, you get exactly what the label suggests – Chocolate Deluxe.  For me, it’s chocolate overload.  The bar is kind of textured like a brownie, but the flavor is more of a chocolate fudge or chocolate truffle kind of flavor.  It’s definitely intense chocolate.  There is no way I could eat all of one of these bars – it’s just too much, too dense, too chocolate for my tastes, but I don’t want that to discourage you.  It’s GOOD, but not being a raging chocoholic, it’s just “too” chocolately for my particular tastes.  I would buy it again, but I would probably only use it to take a bite when I have a chocolate craving as opposed to relying on this one as a meal replacement.  There’s no way I could get the whole bar in.  Here’s the breakdown on the nutrition in this one:

Calories:   170

Calories from Fat: 40

Trans Fat: 0

Sugars: 0

Sugar Alcohols:  7 grams (if you’re super sensitive, this can cause GI upset, but I did okay with it)

Protein: 20 grams (WOOHOO!!)

There  is also about 20% of your RDA of quite a few vitamins – especially the Bs.

Pure Protein High Protein Double Layer Bar Blueberry Crumb Cake Flavor: I was drooling over this one in the store.  I’m getting ready to go on a weekend trip with a group of my girlfriends to Chicago.  We are coming from all parts of the country, so everyone agreed to bring something from their part of the country that everyone else would like to taste.  LisaJean is bringing Tastykakes, and one of my favorite is the blueberry pie, so I’ve had blueberry pie on my mind for weeks.  When I saw this bar, I snatched it right up.

Blueberry pie from Tastykake it is not.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s bad.  As with the other two Pure Protein bars, you notice immediately when you open it that it doesn’t have that protein stinkiness.  I smell blueberries and maybe a little cinnamon.  This bar is coated with a yogurt type of substance as opposed to chocolate, so it was a welcome change from the two chocolately bars I have already taste tested.  When you bite into this bar, the first thing you notice is the blueberry puree on top.  It’s smooth, non-gritty, sort of like what you might find in blueberry jelly.  It’s soft when you bite into the bar.  Then you hit the crumb cake layer.  The cake part is chewy, so not completely like a crumb cake, but you definitely can see the resemblance.  The cake part is where you taste the cinnamon, get a little of the crunch of the crumb cake topping you would find on a regular crumb cake, and it definitely has a texture.  I don’t want to say it’s gritty, because those of you familiar with protein bars will know gritty is a bad thing, but it doesn’t melt in your mouth like a normal cake does.  It’s good, I like it, and when you get a craving for something fruity, this definitely fills the craving.  As for the nutritional information on this one:

Calories:   200

Calories from Fat: 60

Trans Fat: 0

Sugars:  2 grams

Sugar Alcohols:  9 grams (if you’re super sensitive, this can cause GI upset, but I did okay with it)

Protein:  18 grams (WOOHOO!!)

There  is also about 15% of your RDA of quite a few vitamins – especially the Bs.

I taste tested the Chocolate Deluxe and the Blueberry Crumb Cake at the same meal, and with what I ate of both of them, I probably didn’t equal one whole bar.  Both are definitely dense and filling, so you might not actually get the whole amount of protein in one meal.  But I would HIGHLY recommend these bars over any of the others I have tried so far.  I will be looking to buy these in bulk so I always have them on hand.  There are several other flavors I plan to try, including a strawberry shortcake flavor and a peanut butter flavor. 

Go.  Right now.  Buy these protein bars.  Tell them I sent you and they should send me some for free for recommending them so highly 🙂