Everyone and their sister is getting on the protein bandwagon these days. Snack bars are leading the crusade to bulk up our protein intake. Nature Valley, a General Mills subsidiary, is no exception. Today we’ll analyze the company’s Protein Chewy Bar, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate.
The bar has 190 calories and boasts an impressive 10 grams of protein for a serving of 1-1/3 ounces. On the carbohydrate end of things, the bar has 5 grams of fiber with just 6 grams of sugar.
Here is the ingredient list:
Roasted Peanuts, Soy Protein Isolate, Chicory Root Extract, Sugar, Vegetable Oils (palm kernel, palm, canola, peanut), Whey Protein Concentrate, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Cocoa, Fructose, Peanut Butter (peanuts, salt), Vegetable Glycerin, Rice Starch, Honey, Rice Maltodextrin, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor.
The first ingredient is peanut. That’s great. Peanuts are a wonderful source of healthy fats and protein as well.
The second ingredient is less impressive: Soy protein isolate is a highly processed byproduct of soybeans. Soybeans are treated with alcohols and other solvents to remove fats and carbs. The process also removes most of their nutrients. If it were up to us, we would add more peanuts. Note that most soybeans in the US are also genetically modified.
The third ingredient is chicory root extract, a fiber booster that we are not fond of. You can read more about it here. It is also known as inulin, and without it, there would be substantially less fiber in this bar.
Sugar appears only as the fourth ingredient, which is actually quite impressive. The total sugars count for this bar is just 1.5 teaspoons, much lower than the industry average.
The rest of the ingredient list is neither benign nor evil, but not the types of foodstuff one would find at home. There are worse bars out there, but you could do better. To find out what bars are rated the highest on Fooducate, use the BROWSE function in your Fooducate app (free for iPhone and Android).