You know what you are told whenever asking to purchase a protein bar: “Basically, most protein bars are fortified candy bars. Your ideal protein bar should contain at least X grams of protein and only X grams of sugar.” It is seriously annoying that many of the protein bars in the market do not contain the most optimal proportions and ratios of macronutrients. When it reaches that breaking point, you just choose the original candy bar that has the same amount of sugar. It has always been quite the endeavor for me to find the perfect match: low sugar, high protein, high quality, and vegan. Calorie-wise, shouldn’t be exorbitantly high, but the ingredients and macronutrient balance are more important to me.
However, take it from NuGo Nutrition. When my mother helped me grocery shop at Costco a few months ago, we brought home these boxes of vegan NuGo Nutrition “dark” bars. They are titled “Dark” because each variety is coated in dark chocolate. There are six flavors total, but this post will be focused on their Chocolate Pretzel and Chocolate Chocolate Chip bars. I ended up consuming them for about two weeks, if any. One of each flavor in a sitting. Don’t harp on me for eating that much sugar, I KNOW it’s not optimal, but f*ck yeah, I did.
Both bars clock in at the same nutrition facts: 200 calories, 6-7 grams of fat (3.5-4 saturated), 25 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 14 grams of ADDED sugar (wooooowhee), and 12 grams of protein. Already, this protein bar has a lot of added sugar and carbohydrates, many of which will turn into blood sugar. You can imagine I went on a blood sugar roller coaster after each meal (spoiler: I did, for the most part).
CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP
- Flavor: 8/10–there’s nothing super outstanding or exciting about the flavor, but it’s exactly what you’d expect it to be: a sweet protein bar with some chocolate chips inside! If it lives up to its label, that’s the most crucial part for me.
- Texture: 10/10–the crunch is FABULOUS. The crisps are well intact and firm with the chocolate coating not too sticky or melty. Nothing I’d change.
- Consistency: 10/10–no sense of gritty chalky protein here!
- Size: 9/10–pretty good size for its macronutrient profile. I don’t find it too thin and small or too bulky.
- Overall: 9.25/10 (would purchase again until I find a better flavor)
- Flavor: 8/10–I love sea salt dark chocolate with some crunchiness factors added! While I wish there were some pretzel chunks in there for more fun, you have to keep it gluten free, I guess. I don’t see it too much as a pretzel bar, but as a sea salt dark chocolate bar with a standard interior. But it’s tasty, so hats off to them!
- Texture: 10/10–like the chocolate chocolate chip bar, it’s pretty much A+.
- Consistency: 10/10–pretty much the same as chocolate chocolate chip!
- Size: 9/10–once more, the size is good!
- Overall: 9.25/10 (one note: it is VERY inconsistent. I have found some of the bars to contain no sea salt pieces at all, whereas others will be doused in them and it would taste too salty per bite. Quite annoying if you ask me, which is why I’d personally purchase the chocolate chocolate chip bar over the pretzel one again)
Both of these bars are pretty cheap for what you get, which is good news. They also taste pretty damn fabulous since they’re crunchy, flavorful, and various in their taste and texture attributes (sweet and salty, crunchy and smooth). Moreover, they are vegan friendly and gluten free friendly!
They don’t contain the highest protein content I’ve seen, which is 12 grams. It contains more carbohydrates (25 grams) and added sugar (14 grams) than protein, which wouldn’t be an optimal ratio for highest satiety. Additionally, if you don’t like bars that might be too sweet, neither of these flavors would be suitable for you (maybe chocolate pretzel’s saltiness will balance it out, but again, I have viewed it to be quite inconsistent).
Let’s be real, I would NOT tout this bar as a viable protein source. But its quality never lets me down! It’s just that stinkin’ tasty and I am D-T-Forego My Nutrition Stickler Cap every now and then to enjoy it. I absolutely love this bar as a healthier alternative to a bar of chocolate and would consume it supplementally like dessert after a meal rather than a snack or a viable protein source. I have consumed other lower sugar higher protein vegan bars that I do like, but they’re just not as palatable. Hence, massive props to NuGo Nutrition for acing the taste game, but let’s be real, it’s a de juro protein bar, not a de facto one.
What are other candy bar disguised as protein bars? Would you rather take a candy bar or the protein bar in that case?