Thursday, May 30, 2013

REVIEW: PowerBar ProteinPlus Bar 20g Cookies N Cream

Cookies and cream is one awesome combination with humble beginnings, only faintly aware of how loved it would become. It started off just being the taste of a simple sandwich cookie, better known as the Oreo. But the taste quickly found its spot in ice creams, pies, cheesecakes, and plenty of other sweet desserts. And for good reason! Who doesn't like cookies and cream? It's one of my favorite sweet flavors, that's for sure. I even named my two cats- you guessed it- Cookie and Cream!
But, sadly, cookies and cream can't find its spot in everything you buy. I think we'd have a much easier time losing weight and eating healthier if apples had the crunchy, chocolately taste and the sweet, thick cream that Oreos possess. But, until science makes this physically possible, I guess us healthy eaters out there will just have to yearn for the taste of high-calorie, nutrient-belittled, yet totally addictive sandwich cookies... Sigh...
That's what I thought, however, until one day when I was walking around the supermarket and came across this in the protein bar aisle:

Dadadada! PowerBar's ProteinPlus Bar, now available in Cookies N Cream! I couldn't believe my eyes! I knew that new protein bar flavors were being released left and right, but now this?! Could I possibly enjoy the divine wonder that is a sandwich cookie and still eat healthily? 20g of protein and 4g of fiber in a bar that tastes like heaven above? How can this be??? Well, no time to ask questions- Time to rip this baby open!!!

Oh... WAIT... According to the instructions on this PowerBar, I should wait until after exercising to eat this... Hmm...

Well, that won't do. During the weekend, I exercise every morning right after I wake up, and then I follow up with my breakfast as soon as I'm done. Unless I eat my PowerBar for breakfast, or exercise some other time of the day, I won't be able to follow the rules. But thing is, I don't really want to do either...
Wellllll, what if I just eat this bar as part of my lunch? Technically  I'd still be eating the bar AFTER I exercised, riiiiight? That way, I could work out at the usual time and eat the breakfast I want to eat. Everyone wins! Happy, happy, happy!
So, enough deliberating- It's time to give this crumbly cookie-infused bar its proper review.

First, let's take a look at the PowerBar's stats. Nutritionally speaking, it doesn't seem like too bad a pick. It delivers a whopping 20g of protein and 4g of fiber for only 210 calories. From all the protein bars I've seen so far, this is an impressive protein-to-calorie ratio. However, PowerBar's ProteinPlus seems to focus solely on protein- it only delivers 8% of your needed calcium, 6% of iron, and no significant amounts of any other vitamins. But that's forgivable  You can't have everything... Just take a multivitamin in the morning and you should be good. Like the name on the wrapper says, this is ProteinPlus, not VitaminAPlus... But anyway, I digress.

How about we take a look at the ingredients while we're at it? The first one listed is "TriSource Protein Blend", made from soy protein isolate, calcium caseinate, and whey protein isolate. There's also maltitol syrup, oligofructose, cane invert syrup, rice starch, and partially defatted peanut flour. Mmm... sounds delectable... But I'm not surprised. Many, many protein bar ingredient lists read out like a science lab spreadsheet. Then again, so do many McDonald's products. I suppose if you're going to eat the chemically, processed crap, go with the ones with lots of protein!
Well, hopefully this PowerBar will taste better than it sounds... Time to unwrap!

Hmm... this is a pretty decent-sized bar! Unlike last time with my LUNA bar, I wasn't duped into thinking the actual protein bar was as big as the package, when it reality it really, really wasn't. The Cookies N Cream PowerBar has a nice, slight bumpy chocolate covering around the exterior, and it carries a strong cocoa aroma. It actually reminds me of coffee- like a chocolate espresso or something. Very intense.

Ripping the bar in two, we can already see some faint dots of cookie bits hiding inside the PowerBar's chewy center. I expected the insides to be more of a white cream color, but it's looking a bit yellow even. We can see that the chocolate covering is rather thin from this perspective.
Taking a bite, I notice that the yellowish filling of the protein bar has a very soft, fluffy texture. Chewy too. The taste is slightly bitter from the start, but thankfully, the bitterness level stays constant throughout. It doesn't get stronger as your chews grow in number. And really, as far as bitterness goes, this isn't so bad.
Going along, I notice that the black cookie bits are very small. There is a good amount of them placed throughout the bar. But while they add some crunch, they don't add much in terms of flavor. They don't taste like the delicious chocolaty cookie component of the Oreo. In fact, they don't taste like much of anything. It's as if they're just there to enhance the crunch factor.
The chocolate coating doesn't aid the cookie bites in their quest to add a chocolaty flavor to the PowerBar. In fact, the coating is rather unmemorable. It doesn't do anything to stand out- It might as well have been added just to give the bar a more appealing outward appearance. I missed the flavor of the coating altogether. It looks nice, and it's clearly there, I just couldn't taste it.
So... so far, the cookie bits don't taste like cookies, and the chocolate coating doesn't taste like chocolate. And despite all this, despite all the average, "meh"-ness of the PowerBar's Cookies N Cream Bar thus far, I would still be willing to forgive them if their filling brought to me the taste of cookies and cream like they promised. Sadly, it does not. From the get-go, I was thinking to myself, "Gee, this tastes a lot like cookie dough." It really does. I was expecting to find myself biting into a blissful bar with a taste at least slightly equivalent to an Oreo, AT LEAST, but I was waaaaay off the mark. This PowerBar doesn't taste like cookies and cream at all! Sure, it tastes like cookie dough, but there is a big difference between the two, I'll tell you what. If you asked an ice cream parlor for a scoop of Cookies & Cream and they end up giving you Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough instead, you wouldn't just shrug and say, "Oh well. Same thing," would you? I was really, REALLY, reeeeeally excited to get tons of protein under the guise of one of my all-time favorite flavors ever, but I was let down. Big time!
Overall, PowerBar's ProteinPlus Cookies N Cream is a very healthy protein bar, and a good choice for bodybuilders after a big workout. It'll deliver the protein your muscles need to rebuild and repair themselves for a reasonable calorie count, along with some fiber, which is also a plus. Nutrition-wise, this is one of the better bars I have seen so far.
Taste-wise, however, this bar is rather unremarkable. I mean, it doesn't even taste like the flavor it says it is. It's bitter all around, and the bitterness isn't strong, but I would think that for that constant bitterness, I could at least get a more decent cookies and cream flavor to offset it. At least a little, you know? But no, this bar taste like cookie dough, if anything. The chocolate coating and cookie bits were rather sad too. It's like they weren't even there.
Not to say that PowerBar's Cookies N Cream is a bad-tasting, nasty bar... It's good. It's just not GREAT. And it's especially not what I expected. And while this bar has a decent cookie dough, not cookies and cream, flavor, with only a small tinge of bitterness, there are so many other cookie dough protein bars with a more exceptionable flavor and taste than this. Okay, well, I've only tried ONE Cookie Dough flavored bar so far, but even that one had a better flavor. And at least those taste like how they're SUPPOSED to. Stop trying to be Cookie Dough when you're meant to be Cookies N Cream, PowerBar!!!
Honestly, I don't think I'll buy PowerBar's ProteinPlus Cookies N Cream Bar again. I'd love to try PowerBar's other ProteinPlus flavors, but this one just isn't doing it for me. I wanted cookies and cream, but I was given cookie dough instead. And it's not even the BEST cookie dough flavor I've tasted in a protein bar yet. It's, you know, AVERAGE. I'm going to keep on searching for a protein bar that delivers a good amount of protein AND a true cookies and cream flavor. Until then, I'm going to avoid this bar and spend my two bucks on ones that are more worth the cost.

3/10...

PowerBar ProteinPlus Bar 20g Cookies N Cream
  • Pros: Good taste, edible, intense chocolate-coffee aroma , 20g of protein, 4g of fiber, big size, soft, chewy, crunch cookie bits, bitterness isn't terrible
  • Cons: Doesn't taste like cookies and cream, cookie bits and chocolate covering have no taste, bitter throughout, thin covering, tastes like cookie dough when it should taste like something else, average taste, not spectacular
Well, what do you think? Are there any protein bars you'd guys like me to review? Have you ever tried any of PowerBar's other products? Post your thoughts down below in the comments section! I'd love to hear from you!

Till' then, this has been RiRi Ri-porting!
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