Chocolate Mint Protein Bar Review

March 24, 2017 01:00

A few days ago, while shopping with Michele at Sprouts Farmers Markets, I decided to get more protein bars.

Normally, my go-to bar has been several flavors of Clif Bars. They’re good, but I only chose those because of a recommendation from some nutrition program I’d started many years ago. I know I’d seen some recommendations on Men’s Health for other bars, although the last time I tried to use those recommendations to shop with, I’d not found anything like their higher recommendations actually on the shelves.

So I decided to do my own review.

I bought six different kinds of chocolate mint protein bars, because that’s my favorite flavor. I did not get a Clif Bar, but I’ll include both kinds on the review since I’m already familiar with them.

Raw Data

Here are the various physical and nutritional characteristics that I care about for all eight bars

Product Weight (g) per bar Calories Fat (g) Protein (g) Carbs (g) Sugar (g) Fiber (g) Amazon box of 12
Power Crunch Protein Bars—Chocolate Mint Original
40 205 13 13 10 5 1 $29.99
QuestBar Protein Bars, Mint Chocolate Chunk
60 190 9 20 21 1 15 $28.73
Amrita Protein Chocolate Maca Nutrition Bars
60 230 8 15 30 13 4 $25.64
NuGO Slim Gluten Free Vegan Protein Bar, Chocolate Mint
45 180 5 18 17 3 6 $20.89
Bounce Cacao Mint Protein Energy Ball
42 180 8 9 19 10 3 $22.79
Square Organics Organic Chocolate Coated Protein Bar, Mint
48 210 9 12 23 13 2 $27.99
CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Cool Mint Chocolate
68 250 5 9 43 22 5 $10.78
CLIF BUILDER'S - Protein Bar - Chocolate Mint
68 270 9 20 30 21 2 $15.98

Notes

I took some notes as I tasted each kind of bar. To be fair, I’m only going from memory for the Clif bars, but the others were compared against each other. I actually did the taste comparisons twice, on two separate days.

You might be able to tell that I sort of prefer the kinds of bars that remind me of a chocolate brownie.

I’ll fold these notes into the final scores at the bottom.

Power Crunch Protein Bars—Chocolate Mint Original

  • “Dry, light, light mint flavor, good balance of chocolate.”
  • “Not filling.”
  • “Wafer.”
  • “So light and wafery, it's not filling.”
  • “Great taste!”
  • “This should be just a light cookie.”

Flavor score: 10

QuestBar Protein Bars, Mint Chocolate Chunk

  • “Chewy, creamy fudge.”
  • “Good flavor.”
  • “Extremely dense, hard to chew.”
  • “Pretty good chocolate/mint taste.”

Flavor score: 8

Amrita Protein Chocolate Maca Nutrition Bars

  • “Weird flavor.”
  • “Oaty?”
  • “No mint, barely any chocolate.”
  • “Least favorite so far by wide margin.”
  • “Powdery, barely tastes like chocolate or mint.”
  • “Chewy.”
  • “Not a fan.”

Flavor score: 2

NuGO Slim Gluten Free Vegan Protein Bar, Chocolate Mint

  • “Another weird flavor.”
  • “Very artificial.”
  • “Not like chocolate.”
  • “Crunchy.”
  • “Chewy with a little crunch.”
  • “Light on chocolate flavor, weird aftertaste.”

Flavor score: 4

Bounce Cacao Mint Protein Energy Ball

  • “Tastes like sunflower seeds, carob, very very light mint”
  • “Seedy.”
  • “Lightly minty, very lightly chocolate.”

Flavor score: 3

Square Organics Organic Chocolate Coated Protein Bar, Mint

  • “Good flavor, very minty, needs a little more chocolate.”
  • “A little powdery.”
  • “Not bad, but still kind of powdery.”
  • “Not very chewy.”
  • “More minty than chocolate.”

Flavor score: 6

CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Cool Mint Chocolate

Flavor score: 8

CLIF BUILDER'S - Protein Bar - Chocolate Mint

Flavor score: 7


Scorecards

There are several ways to rank each bar. Each way prioritizes some aspect of the bar over other aspects. Which aspect matters to you is a personal choice. I don’t always use the same aspect.

A note: I believe the total mass of the bar is how your stomach assesses each bar. When you’re hungry, I think only a certain amount of mass will convince your brain and stomach that you’ve satisfied the hunger urge. A lighter bar won’t do it, so you’ll wind up eating more. Conversely, a denser bar should keep you feeling full longer than a lighter bar of the same size. I don’t think the number of bites matters as much, especially if you’re willing to wait a few minutes to see how you feel after finishing the bar. You can always chew longer, regardless of the bar you chose.

Product Weight (g) Calories Calories per g Calories per $ Fat (g) Fat per g % Calories from fat Protein (g) Protein per g Protein per $ Carbs (g) Carbs per g Sugar (g) Sugar per g Fiber (g) Fiber per g Amazon box of 12 Price ea Price per g
Power Crunch Protein Bars—Chocolate Mint Original 40 205 5.1 82.0 13 0.33 57% 13 0.33 5.20 10 0.25 5 0.13 1 0.03 $ 29.99 $ 2.50 $ 0.06
QuestBar Protein Bars, Mint Chocolate Chunk 60 190 3.2 79.4 9 0.15 43% 20 0.33 8.35 21 0.35 1 0.02 15 0.25 $ 28.73 $ 2.39 $ 0.04
Amrita Protein Chocolate Maca Nutrition Bars 60 230 3.8 107.6 8 0.13 31% 15 0.25 7.02 30 0.50 13 0.22 4 0.07 $ 25.64 $ 2.14 $ 0.04
NuGO Slim Gluten Free Vegan Protein Bar, Chocolate Mint 45 180 4.0 103.4 5 0.11 25% 18 0.40 10.34 17 0.38 3 0.07 6 0.13 $ 20.89 $ 1.74 $ 0.04
Bounce Cacao Mint Protein Energy Ball 42 180 4.3 94.8 8 0.19 40% 9 0.21 4.74 19 0.45 10 0.24 3 0.07 $ 22.79 $ 1.90 $ 0.05
Square Organics Organic Chocolate Coated Protein Bar, Mint 48 210 4.4 90.0 9 0.19 39% 12 0.25 5.14 23 0.48 13 0.27 2 0.04 $ 27.99 $ 2.33 $ 0.05
CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Cool Mint Chocolate 68 250 3.7 278.3 5 0.07 18% 9 0.13 10.02 43 0.63 22 0.32 5 0.07 $ 10.78 $ 0.90 $ 0.01
CLIF BUILDER'S - Protein Bar - Chocolate Mint 68 270 4.0 202.8 9 0.13 30% 20 0.29 15.02 30 0.44 21 0.31 2 0.03 $ 15.98 $ 1.33 $ 0.02

Weight

You want the heaviest bar.

Winner: either CLIF bar. Runner-up: QuestBar and Amrita. Loser: Power Crunch

Energy: Calories

You want the fewest calories per bar.

Winner: NuGO and Bounce. Runner-up: QuestBar. Loser: CLIF Builder’s

Energy density: Calories per gram of mass

You want the fewest calories for the most mass, because while you do want calories, you don’t want crazy-high calories while feeling like you didn’t get much to eat. (This is the opposite of a starvation-in-the-wilderness situation, where you want the lightest weight but the most calories.)

Winner: QuestBar. Runner-up: CLIF Energy Bar. Loser: Power Crunch

Energy economy: Calories per $

You want the most calories for the least price. I’m going the opposite way on this, since the only reason you’d care is if you want the most bang for the buck.

Winner: CLIF Energy Bar. Runner-up: CLIF Builder’s. Loser: Power Crunch

Fat

You want the least fat per bar.

Winner: NuGo and CLIF Energy Bar. Runner-up: Amrita and Bounce. Loser: Power Crunch

Fat density: Fat per gram of mass

You want the least fat for the most mass, because while you do want calories, you want it in the form of highly-usable carbs and sugars, and not as much in the form of fats and oils.

Winner: CLIF Energy Bar. Runner-up: NuGO. Loser: Power Crunch

% Calories from fat

You want to keep the percentage of calories you get from fat to be below some threshold (typically less than 30%).

Winner: CLIF Energy Bar. Runner-up: NuGO. Loser: Power Crunch

Protein

You want the most protein per bar.

Winner: QuestBar and CLIF Builder’s. Runner-up: NuGO. Loser: CLIF Energy Bar

Protein density: Protein per gram of mass

You want the most protein for the least mass, because you want to get as much protein as you can without feeling full too quickly.

Winner: NuGO. Runner-up: Power Crunch and QuestBar. Loser: CLIF Energy Bar

Protein economy: Protein per $

You want the most protein for the least price.

Winner: CLIF Builder’s. Runner-up: NuGO. Loser: Bounce

Carbs

You want the most carbs per bar. This might not be right for you. Some people want the fewest carbs, but since some carbs in your diet is essential, I’m assuming you are actually looking for carbs (like for endurance).

Winner: CLIF Energy Bar. Runner-up: Amrita and CLIF Builder’s. Loser: Power Crunch

Carb density: Carbs per gram of mass

You want the most carbs for the least mass, because you want to get as many carbs as you can without feeling full too quickly.

Winner: Clif Energy Bar. Runner-up: Amrita. Loser: Power Crunch

Sugar

You want the fewest simple carbohydrates (sugar) per bar.

Winner: QuestBar. Runner-up: NuGO. Loser: CLIF Energy Bar

Sugar density: Sugar per gram of mass

You want the least carbohydrates for the most mass, because you want the ratio of sugars to be low compared to how much food it feels like you’re eating.

Winner: QuestBar. Runner-up: NuGO. Loser: CLIF Energy Bar

Fiber

You want the most fiber per bar

Winner: QuestBar. Runner-up: NuGO. Loser: Power Crunch

Fiber density: Fiber per gram of mass

You want the most fiber for the least mass, because you want as much fiber to help you feel full longer without feeling full too quickly.

Winner: QuestBar. Runner-up: NuGO. Loser: Power Crunch and CLIF Builder’s

Price

You want to spend the least per bar.

Winner: CLIF Energy Bar. Runner-up: CLIF Builder’s. Loser: Power Crunch

Weight economy: Price per gram of mass

You want the most mass at the lowest price.

Winner: CLIF Energy Bar. Runner-up: CLIF Builder’s. Lower: Power Crunch


Conclusion

There are many reasons why you would want to choose one bar over the other, but in general, these are my priorities:

  1. Good taste
  2. High protein density
  3. High weight economy
  4. High carb density
  5. High fiber density
  6. Low fat density
  7. Low sugar density

I put taste at the top, because I’m just not the kind of person who can eat something I don’t enjoy. I’d rather do without it, and find other things to eat. I may have to reduce how much I eat the thing – that’s okay, I’ll do that, mostly by just paying attention to total calories, etc.

With that ranking of priorities, here’s how all the bars fared, from highest score to lowest:

  1. QuestBar Protein Bars, Mint Chocolate Chunk 11.77
  2. CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Cool Mint Chocolate 11.73
  3. Power Crunch Protein Bars—Chocolate Mint Original 10.69
  4. CLIF BUILDER'S - Protein Bar - Chocolate Mint 10.20
  5. Square Organics Organic Chocolate Coated Protein Bar, Mint 7.71
  6. NuGO Slim Gluten Free Vegan Protein Bar, Chocolate Mint 7.53
  7. Bounce Cacao Mint Protein Energy Ball 4.90
  8. Amrita Protein Chocolate Maca Nutrition Bars 4.72

Keep in mind, the QuestBar’s are middle-of-the-pack for price comparisons. The CLIF Energy bar is the clear price winner. #3 Power Crunch is the priciest, and feels like eating wafer cookies, so you might wish you’d eaten two (which costs even more!).


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