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For this product review, Foodies, I rode alone.
No LPD, no boyfriend, no random neighbor guy down the street. Just me. And 7 protein bars.
This was, of course, out of necessity. LPD has been attacked by some horrid strain of germs and is currently under quarantine. (Hey…it’s for the public good!) Random neighbor guy down the street…well I haven’t seen him and even if I had the only thing weirder than marching up to someone’s porch to ask to try their protein is asking someone to march up to your porch to try your protein. The boyfriend? He’s not into protein bars. Do you see the level of commitment I’m dealing with here?
Ok…so before we go any further, let’s recap. All the above players were present for the tasting of AmBari Protein Shakes (a debaucherous event wherein I learned that you can create a state very similar to drunkenness if you consume enough protein shake!). Then we went over the snacks. I feel like I was a little hard on the snacks, but…I speak my truth! So now we are at the protein bars. After this we have the meal replacements and then this four-part product review is done. It’s sad…this has been fun!
AmBari Protein Bar Flavors
So this variety pack came with seven flavors. I am listing the basic stats but you can get even more information about the bars by visiting their website. (And remember that if you start clicking around on there and see something you want to try, use the discount code FOODIE15 for 15% off your order!0
Here are the flavors I tasted:
- Chocolate Almond Wafer (160 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 5g fiber, 8g sugars, 3g sugar alcohols, 15g protein)
- Chocolate Caramel Wafer (160 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 5g fiber, 10g sugars, 2g sugar alcohols, 15g protein)
- Cinnamon Crisp (160 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 5g fiber, 8g sugars, 2g sugar alcohols, 15g protein)
- Fudge Graham Crisp (160 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 5g fiber, 8g sugars, 2g sugar alcohols, 15g protein)
- Mint Cocoa (160 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 5g fiber, 8g sugars, 4g sugar alcohols, 15g protein)
- Peanut Crisp (160 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 5g fiber, 7g sugars, 2g sugar alcohols, 15g protein)
- S’mores (160 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 5g fiber, 8g sugars, 3g sugar alcohols, 15g protein)
Other important information:
- Source(s) of protein: Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Isolate, Casein, Calcium Caseinate, Partially Hydrolyzed Milk Protein Isolate
- Sources of sugar(s): Sugar, Corn Syrup, and Dextrose (which is another kind of sugar made from corn)
- Sources of sugar alcohol(s): Maltitol, polydextrose
So…there’s a lot to talk about here in terms of nutrition information. If, after reading this, you feel like I’m speaking Greek, it may help to read my complete tutorials on sugar and carbs, because that’s mostly what there is to talk about. (Don’t worry they aren’t long reads!)
Now up until now I’ve held protein products to the 10:1 protein ratio (for every 10 calories, there needs to be 1g protein). Protein bars are kind of different because almost none live up to that standard (there are a few, but not many!). In these instances I personally revert to the ingredients because the ingredients can sometimes tell you things that stats just can’t.
On their website, AmBari has their bars marked “Bariatric Approved.” Nothing against the good folks at AmBari, but I need you guys to know that is a self-given distinction. It’s not like Fair Trade Certified, for example, or Kosher, both of which have governing bodies and a certification process before a food product could be called either. Like I said, that’s not throwing shade at AmBari but my job is to make sure you guys understand that. Now what does that – bariatric approved – mean? It probably means a registered dietician looked over these bars and deemed them acceptable for consumption by bariatric patients.
But I still have a few things I’d like to point out.
First, they contain sources of sugar. As you can see from the stats none of them has nearly as much sugar as a candy bar or even the really high sugar, energy-style protein bars. But some of you, I know, are extremely sensitive to any sugar (I was as a new post-op) so it’s important for me to point that out. Also important is that they contain sugar alcohols. None of them contains a lot (I would be concerned with a bar that has more than 5g personally and none of these do) but it’s still there and if you are sensitive to sugar alcohols you should note that.
It’s also note-worthy that when you calculate the net carbs of each bar (net carbs = total carbs – fiber – sugar alcohols), they all come out having more protein than net carbs. Which is the way protein bars should be!
Whew! I feel like we got through a lot there, don’t you? Ok so let’s talk about how these suckers taste.
But before I do…there was one little teeny problem I had with the variety pack. The names of the bars listed on the box didn’t match what the actual bar said. Mind you, it took only a little common sense to figure out what was what when I was tasting them, but in food blogger world things like matching labeling is extremely helpful. So AmBari? Friends? Please make the labeling match the box!
Here’s what I thought of the flavors:
- Chocolate Almond Wafer: This one was labeled “Chocolate Nutty Almond” (see above note). Meh. I liked it. The box said it was going to be a wafer though. I was expecting a wafer. But so far as chewy bars go this one was ok. Chocolate wasn’t fakey tasting, there was a hint of almond. The consistency was sort of a cross between a Twix and a Snicker bar.
- Chocolate Caramel Wafer: I’m actually not the biggest choco-caramel fan (don’t shoot me!). The flavors rarely contrast enough. So this one wasn’t my favorite but that’s not the bar’s fault! It did, in fact, taste like chocolate and caramel, as it was supposed to. Throw a little salt on that sucker and I’d probably be in love with it!
- Cinnamon Crisp: ZOMIGOSH! This thing smells like an oatmeal raisin cookie. Like seriously, legimately, like an oatmeal raisin cookie. And it sorta tasted like one too. Or maybe a bit like a Cinnabon, except crunchy. Either way, I liked it. Plus…it wasn’t chocolate!
- Fudge Graham Crisp: Yeah. So. I almost messed up the review on this bar. I bit it. Liked it. Bit it again. (Cuz…you know…I gotta confirm that I like it.) Before you knew it I had eaten half the bar. My rules for reviewing more than one protein bar at a time are clear: two bites per bar, max! But this was really good. You could taste both the fudge and the graham cracker and…nommmmm.
- Mint Cocoa: This one was interesting. Most mint-cocoa protein things have a Girl Scouts Thin Mint thing going on. Not this. This was more…Peppermint Patty. I definitely got the sensation. And I liked it!
- Peanut Crisp: Surprise, surprise…this by far was my favorite but not just because of the peanuts (new-Foodies: Nik loves peanuts!). It’s also because it had the exact combo I love. It was sweet, slightly salty and crunchy. Foodgasm!
- S’mores: This was another one where the name was different on the package (it was called Chocolate Marshmallow on the package). I am going to practice forgiveness! At any rate this one was good but it has the same problem I have with all bars called S’more flavored. I could taste the chocolate and maybe a whiff of graham flavoring but the marshmallow didn’t show up to the party for me. Meh.
And just because I know you want them, here are more pics of the bars:
Whether you get the variety pack or buy individual boxes of bar flavors, they all seem to be $11.95 for 7 bars. So here’s how the math shakes out:
7 bars x 15g protein per bar = 105g protein per box of bars (remember…this is all the bars so don’t pass out)
$11.95 divided by 105g protein = a cost of $0.11 per gram of protein that you get with this product.
Again, this is meant to be used as a sort of “unit price” for your protein that you can compare prices and see where you are getting the most value. I can tell you what I’d buy but here’s the deal: you aren’t me! You have your own likes, dislikes, and needs. So I want you to walk away with some way of deciding for yourself how you’ll proceed with new products you encounter.
My final verdict? Sigh. I loved the flavors in these bars. They were each tasty and rang true to what they were supposed to taste like. But I do get hung up on the sugar content. Mind you, for this review I ate small pieces of each bar, but I did so after having a little protein heavy snack. I did that because I read the stats and determined I didn’t want to risk a few of those bars (and, cumulatively, a bite of all of those bars) on an empty stomach. So I think if you know you are sensitive to sugars (as I know I can be) tread carefully, as you would with any food choice – read the labels and be informed!
So do with that assessment what you will. In the end, they were great bars and I did enjoy tasting them so I thank AmBari for the opportunity to review them for you!
Disclaimer: This was a sponsored review. All the opinions expressed are those of Bariatric Foodie, without input from AmBari Nutrition. If you have any questions about this product review please feel free to email Nik at [email protected].
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