Anyone whom has been in or around the fitness industry for any length of time has probably seen these bars around. The brand has been in production since 1996 and the reviews around the ‘net are pretty favorable. No crazy claims have been made by the manufacturer relating to these bars, just the usual claims of great taste, possible increased energy and natural ingredients.
The packaging is professional and somewhat informative. It clearly states the bar contains 20g of protein, no trans fats and has 18 vitamins and minerals. The packaging does also state that it is a “Great Tasting Energy Bar” in a prominent manner. The marketing on this product appears to rely heavily on taste, micronutrient and protein content. One blurb on the packaging did catch my eye though which I think needs to be stated in this section for later reflection:
PROMAX. LIFE IS GO.
The alarm clock is our starter’s pistol. The new day our stadium. We have no time-outs and we don’t want any. Running, biking, lifting, working, dating, mom-ing, dad-ing, studying, shopping, blogging, 24 hours buzzer to buzzer. Which is why Promax packs its energy bars with 20g of replenishing protein, 18 vitamins & minerals, all natural ingredients and great tasting flavors. No artificial sweeteners, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, maltitol or gelatin. Gluten-free and vegetarian. Since 1996 Promax is the fuel for doing.
USE PROMAX AS A: WORKOUT AID. MEAL REPLACEMENT. ON-THE-GO SNACK.
So I wasn’t totally accurate in my opening statement, there are a few more claims made than I noticed at first glance.
Though first sight this bar does appear rather large compared to most. Weighing in at 2.64 OZ. I would, in reality consider it a mid-sized protein bar.
This is what makes or breaks a convenience food for many people. If it tastes bad chances of a repeat purchase are pretty low. In the case of Promax’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar the taste is tolerable but not what I would call great. It does taste somewhat like cookie dough but the texture is kind of gritty and chalk-like. I’m not sure what it is but the cookie dough flavor isn’t really authentic, something is missing in this products flavor profile to make it taste the way it should.
PROMAX® Protein Blend [Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Cocoa Protein Crisps (Soy Protein Isolate, Cocoa [Dutched], Tapioca Starch), Whey Protein Concentrate], Corn Syrup, Fructose, Chocolate Flavored Coating (Sugar, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa, Whey, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor), Water, Peanut Butter (Peanuts), Canola Oil, Chocolate Chips [Sugar, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa (Dutched), Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin], Guar Gum, Brown Sugar, Natural Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Salt.
The protein mix as you can see is soy, casein and whey based (in that order). The Tapioca starch used in this blend is a gluten free thickening agent common to vegetarian/gluten free/soy items.
Corn syrup is most likely used as a sweetener here and also has thickening properties, not to be confused with HFCS. Fractionated palm kernel oil is another ingredient many may not know about. In short it is palm kernel oil that has been heated and then cooled to then allow the removal of a specific part of the oil. The health of this is debatable depending on which part of the oil was used as although it contains high levels of saturated fat, some fractions are actually high in MCTs which are “good” saturated fats. Its use is to keep the chocolate coating from melting in these bars.
Soy lecithin is also used in the coating as an emulsifier to keep everything together. Beyond that the only other questionable ingredient I can see might raise questions is Guar gum, which is used either as a thickener or as in this case to improve texture and shelf life. It’s common and nothing to be concerned over.
As expected though many preservatives are used in this bar. This is not uncommon with convenience foods and health industry versions of these foods are no exception. The upside is that good choices were made when selecting which ones to use in this bar, the down side is of course that they used so many. Though I would prefer to see fewer additives, realistically given the need for mass production and shelf life concerns they have done a decent job.
The Nutrition Facts label tells us that the bar comes in at 290 calories, 20g of protein, 37g of carbs and 7g of fat with 4g of that being saturated. That’s pretty good for an energy bar which I expect to be higher in carbohydrates than a product aiming to just supplement protein. As only 1g of dietary fiber is in these bars though it is important to remember it leaves 26g of sugar and some unknown carbs for energy purposes.
Some men may be concerned about consuming a primarily soy based bar due to fears of raising estrogen levels however, this is a supplement, to be used in a supplemental manner to your diet. If used infrequently such a concern should not worry anyone. True, it isn’t my main protein of choice nor one I would like to see used as a primary source by anyone, it is fine as a infrequent supplement (and protein bars should all be used infrequently as less processed foods are better choices).
Does it Meet the Claims?
In a word, Yes. It is gluten-free and vegetarian. It does not contain HFCS, maltitol or gelatin, artificial sweeteners or preservatives however it does contain plenty of additives. The “all natural ingredients” claim is questionable given the possible processes used to extract some of the ingredients (chemical vs. mechanical) but nutritionally it stands up to the label.
The other claims are too subjective to judge.
Taste of this bar is “ok” but not great and the nutritional profile is acceptable yet does contain many additives. If in need of an energy kick with a little protein but not quite a meal replacement (snack) this bar could fit the requirements. Sure, it could be better but it could also be a whole lot worse.