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Monday, 29 June 2015

If it's a Protein Bar does that mean it's Healthy?

One of my Clients messaged me asking if I could tell her what of the 21 Day fix containers she could use for the Pure Protein bars she purchased (a Costco product).  She sent me a photo of the box and the ingredients list and unfortunately I had to tell her that the bars were not something I would approve of for the 21 day fix nor would I say are healthy in any regard. 

This is the second product I've reviewed lately for a client, with the same outcome.  Last time I reviewed the Premier Protein Drink and provided my advice this is another product which is sold at Costco. And no this isn't a reflection on Costco, because I can tell you I shop there weekly and find LOTS of healthy, organic and whole foods products there. But there is also a lot of junk sold there just as there is any store, so it's up to us to educate ourselves on what is truly healthy. 

My advice is to just really think twice about if the product your consuming contains ingredients you feel comfortable with when your eating clean and fueling your body!

Back to the Pure Protein Bars review however... here is the ingredients list which I was able to find online for your reference. 


Milk protein isolate, glycerin, gelatin, cocoa, water, whey protein concentrate, maltitol, whey protein isolate, maltitol syrup, modified palm oil, sugar, collagen, whole milk powder, chocolate liquor, flavour, peanut flour, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, sucralose (17 mg / 50 g bar), milk fat, cocoa extract, fructose, vanilla, almondButter
Contains milk, soy, sulfites, peanuts and almonds
May contain sesame seeds and cashews

* I also noted that the box reads 2 grams of Sugar however on the nutrition facts it states 3 grams in addition to Sugar Alcohols (4 grams). 

So what Ingredients made me determine that this is not a product that is healthy but rather it is a product that is quite unhealthy?

I won’t go into all the ingredients I found questionable but there are several which I really am not sure on like modified palm oil or glycerine. In general it’s the ingredients list as a whole  which contains mostly ingredients which I wouldn’t have in my own pantry, so for me that means they don’t belong in my food. If I wouldn’t use them to make something in my own kitchen they shouldn’t been in anything I purchase either. 

Below I will go into a few of the ingredients which made me determine this product was not Approved as being 21 Day fix friendly or being anywhere near healthy. I did a little research on some of the ingredients and this is what I found. 


Maltitol is an artificially produced sweetener that is a member of the sugar alcohol family. It is used in commercial products under trade names such as Lesys, Maltisweet and SweetPearl.

This Bar also contains Maltitol Syrup, the company has listed this ingredient it two different ways in order for it to be lower on the ingredients list (7th on the list is Maltitol and 9th on the list is Maltitol Syrup), tricky right!  If you add the Maltitol and Maltitol syrup together I’d bet Maltitol is close to the top of the ingredients list meaning this product likely contains mostly Artificial Sweetner, and probably just as much artificial sweetner as protein.


Sugar is also included in the ingredients list.  Usually, the term “sugar” refers to bleached table sugar, those fine-white granulated crystals that come from sugar cane or sugar beets. The bleaching is done with sulfur dioxide.

The terms “sugar,” “granulated sugar,” “cane sugar,” “pure cane sugar,” “beet sugar,” and “table sugar” all refer to the bleached stuff.  So if you just see any of those on the ingredient list, it’s probably that (though the only way to know for sure is to ask the company).

Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is one of the most ubiquitous additives in our food supply. It’s used primarily as an emulsifier, and you can find it in everything from salad dressing to tea bags. Clean eaters avoid the brunt of it by eliminating most processed foods, but it almost always pops up in chocolate and often appears in supplements. I won’t get into the WHOLE processing of Soy Lecithin, but lets just say the Lecithin is bleached using Hydrogen Peroxide and in one of the many steps it takes to process this product, the crude oil undergoes a multi-step process to remove the hexan in it.  Honestly if my food needs to undergoe multi-step processes in a lab to remove bad stuff and is then bleached I’m pretty sure it’s not going in my body.

In an excerpt from the book “The Whole Soy Story“, Dr. Kaayla T. Daniels explains:
“Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a ‘degumming’ process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides and has a consistency ranging from a gummy fluid to a plastic solid. Before being bleached to a more appealing light yellow, the color of lecithin ranges from a dirty tan to reddish brown. The hexane extraction process commonly used in soybean oil manufacture today yields less lecithin than the older ethanol-benzol process, but produces a more marketable lecithin with better color, reduced odor and less bitter flavor.
Not only is Soy Lecithin a concern for people with allergies to soy, but also the fact that most soy beans in the U.S. market are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is just as concerning. The only way to avoid GMOs is to purchase items that explicitly say “organic soy”; but even then, the organic soy still contains properties that can be harmful to your health like naturally occurring toxins, plant estrogens, and anti-nutrients.


Sucralose another artificial Sweetner.  Common brand names of sucralose-based sweeteners are Splenda, Zerocal, Sukrana, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren, and Nevella. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, stay away from artificial sweetners. 

As you can see Sugars can be listed under various names (since, strictly speaking, they’re different foods), so manufacturers will frequently use more than one type of sugar so they can move them further down the list. In this product we are seeing 3 Types of Artificial Sugar and the bleached table sugar.

Artificial Sweetners increase carb cravings and make you hungry so even if you think you’re doing good by avoiding sugar with these, you’re probably stuffing down more food anyways.

Is this product Healthy?

So with all that said, if your asking me if I would consider this product healthy the answer is NO.  

If you asking if it's unhealthy my answer is that because it contains artificial sweetners YES I believe this product is unhealthy for your body.  Even if it only contained a small amount of real sugar I wouldn't have considered it unhealthy but truly the biggest factor here for me is the Artificial sweetners.  

Always look for the 3 big No Nos: Soy or Soy lecithin, Artificial Sweetners and Artificial Flavours.  

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