REVIEW: Pro Supps MyBar Confetti Cake Crunch and Ice Cream Cookie Crunch

As a wise man once said, “you’ve gotta get your daily turd-shaped protein injection somehow…”. Okay, maybe no one ever really said that, but I love me a good protein bar and when a new one pops onto my radar I’m eager to get a taste – turd shaped or not. The Pro Supps MyBar came onto the scene within the last year but I had yet to see them in stores, and I’m not one to take a gamble on ordering a box of 12 blindly. As I strolled the selection of porta-gains at GNC I noticed two MyBar’s tucked away on the bottom shelf, and I knew the moment was mine for the taking.

The MyBar looks very much like a Combat Crunch or MuscleTech Nitro and texturally falls somewhere in between the two. The bar is noticeably smaller but has a pretty solid density to it that makes it feel hearty in my hands. It should be noted that while they have similar calories and protein to the CC and MT bars, they’re slightly higher fat (10 grams) and lower carb (17 grams), which could be a pro or con depending on what kind of macros you’re looking for in a protein pick-me-up.

Confetti Cake Crunch:

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Fortunately the flavor of the Confetti Crunch doesn’t have any of the weird lemony Froot Loops aura of the Combat Crunch and is much more in line with MuscleTech’s solid spin on cake. It starts off cake-y and channels frosting with some nice vanilla notes and definite party vibes. The taste fades quickly and ends pretty flat with a protein supplement finish that doesn’t live up to the sprinkle crunch texture of the bar. Eating this bar reminds me a lot of Zebra Stripe gum – it starts begins with a wonderful bold flavor that is gone almost as soon as it arrives.

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When all is said and done it simply isn’t sweet enough, and for a bar with 6 grams of sugar I would expect a bit more sugary push to round out the lovely frosting beginning. It isn’t disgusting, but doesn’t reach the high points of the MuscleTech or Oh Yeah! ONE, so I’m not sure why I would get this one again.

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Rating: 7/10

Quick Nutrition: 220 cals – 10g fat – 5g sat fat – 20mg cholesterol – 210mg sodium – 17g carb – 1g fiber – 6g sugar – 20g protein

Ice Cream Cookie Crunch:

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This bar has one of the more interesting names I’ve seen from a supplement company, and as good as an ice cream-y protein bar sounds I’m pretty skeptical of their ability to deliver. My suspicions are correct, as aside from a pretty notable creaminess in the outer chocolate coating of the bar, nothing translates ice cream here at all; not to mention ice cream doesn’t typically crunch, so the name is pretty confused overall.

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It’s a pretty standard chocolate coated chocolate protein that has a nice dense-yet-soft, almost truffle kind of texture, with only a bit of decent flavor to back it up. Much like the confetti, it begins pretty sweet with some crunchy bits and fades very quickly to finish on a protein-heavy note that leaves a slightly dry, almost chalky feeling on my tongue. It’s fine, but again, nothing at all remarkable, and doesn’t come close to any of the chocolate Combat Crunch bars, which in my opinion are the best in the game.

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Rating: 6/10

Quick Nutrition: Identical to above except 400mg sodium

REVIEW: Quest Bar Mocha Chocolate Chip

I tend to start my weekday mornings with a protein bar and a nice cup of strong hot coffee.  As big of a fan of the flavor and effects of the world’s favorite black beverage as I am I’m generally not the biggest fan of coffee flavored bars, ice creams, and other desserts (except Tiramisu), but  I get a feeling my taste buds might be evolving.  Just in time for my change of heart, Quest have unleashed their latest protein-on-the-go creation with Mocha Chocolate Chip.

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Like most newly released Quest bars, this one is extremely soft and fresh with very little signs of the harder taffy texture that used to define the brand. The light brown base that makes up most of the bar has a slightly salty almost toffee kind of flavor that gradually builds and blossoms into coffee that is very authentic and delicious. It isn’t bitter like straight black drip or espresso but it definitely has big coffee flavor and isn’t nearly as sweet as some of the froufy-er beverages you might find at Starbucks or Dunkin. It’s a very genuine taste that as an avid coffee consumer I am stoked on.

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The chocolate chips are dark and not too sweet, and add extra texture and flavor to the bar that accentuates the coffee notes. The bites where you get a good amount of chip and protein base leave the perfect mocha flavor lingering on the tongue.  Another huge win for this bar is the absence of Sucralose, which Quest notoriously uses way too much of and as a result many of their bars have a bad artificial aftertaste. There is no bad fake sweet flavor at all and they have somehow achieved a great balance with only one gram of sugar and some stevia. Impressive.  There is, however, a moderately astringent aftertaste from the use of baking soda that isn’t terribly offensive but does a little dance on my tongue after I’m done chewing.

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Any good baker knows that some black coffee in a chocolate cake makes it taste like richer deeper chocolate and some of that is at play here. The classic pairing of chocolate and coffee works wonderfully and is one of the most solid flavors Quest have come up with so far. Coffee isn’t one of my personal favorite flavors, like the cinnamon in oatmeal chocolate chip, but it is good enough that I will buy it again and make it part of my small Quest rotation.

Rating: 8.5/10
Found at: GNC

Quick Nutrition: 180 cals – 6g Fat – 240mg Sodium – 24g Carbs – 14g Fiber – <1g Sugar – 20g Protein

REVIEW: Vanilla Marshmallow BSN Syntha-6 Protein Crisp Bar

New year, new bars – let the fun begin.  Making my weekly trip to GNC I saw a big display of shiny red bars with an under market price and some interesting flavors.  For only $1.99 and the different angle of “protein crisp” as opposed to the usual dense style bar, I was intrigued.  BSN’s Syntha-6 line utilize both whey and soy protein as well as dried egg whites and rice crisps to compose their 20 gram Vanilla Marshmallow flavored protein injection.

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The first thing I notice is the very soft, moist, and crumbly texture of the bar. Unlike the NuGo bars, which are one of the other ones I’ve had in this Rice Krispies Treats style, there is nothing hard or dense about this bar, and the protein pieces are so loosely packed that they fall apart.  The crisp pieces are pushed together with a gooey marshmallow-y sticky base with a white drizzle on the top and bottom of the bar.  The bite is very soft and pleasant with a good crunch that leads to effortless chewing, which can sometimes be impossible with tough taffy-like protein bars.

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The flavor is vanilla-forward without being too sweet and some surprising subtle cinnamon undertones. There are no specific spices listed in the ingredients but I taste not only cinnamon but a hint of nutmeg as well. It isn’t aggressive but it compliments the vanilla and gives some depth to a flavor that had potential to be too sugary.  Marshmallow is a very specific kind of flavor that is easier to understand texturally than it is in its taste composition and they more or less got that down with the Rice Krispies feel.

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As far as emulating a marshmallow crispy treat it does a pretty good job texturally but is missing the rich butteriness you would expect when eating an actual treat. Although the packaged factory made ones by Kellogg’s don’t have a pronounced buttery flavor, my favorite part of a homemade marshmallow treat is the deep fatty butter playing off of the sweet ‘mallow. You don’t get that here, but it’s also a protein product and you can only expect so much.

Overall this is a really tasty bar with only two grams of sugar and zero artificial aftertaste.  The texture is a nice switch up from the usual offerings and is definitely one of the best vanilla flavored supplements I’ve tried.  I find it odd they chose to put in no fiber at all, since most bars will come with anywhere from 5-15 grams, but maybe that helped with the overall taste and texture that made it successful.

Rating: 8/10

Quick Nutrition: 230 cals – 6g fat – 15mg cholesterol – 180mg sodium – 23g carbs – 2g sugar – 20g protein

REVIEW: flapJACKed S’Mores Mighty Muffin

S’mores is one of the most popular flavors in snack foods the last couple of years, dominating everything from Oreo’s to breakfast cereal to ice cream to protein bars, so it’s no surprise that flapJACKed decided to try this flavor for their Mighty Muffin.  Although I’ve never had a regular s’mores muffin I like the idea and it should be relatively easy to pull off if you can get all three elements to come across – graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate.  Fortunately for flapJACKed they got all three into a magical microwavable protein bomb you make yourself in 35 seconds.

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In my mind the perfect s’mores muffin would be a golden honey graham base loaded with marshmallows, chocolate, and additional chunks of graham cracker.  This Mighty Muffin has all of those components except for the cracker pieces and I can accept that as a pretty solid attempt.  The first thing you will notice is the very strong graham cracker aroma that comes from the freshly zapped muffin.  Much like a good cup of tea the smell is a lot stronger than the actual taste but the honey undercurrent is there and ties the whole s’mores experience together.  The importance of the graham oftentimes gets overlooked when companies try to make a s’mores flavor and I commend flapJACKed for not ignoring this pivotal piece of the campfire puzzle.

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Freshly zapped and muffin-esque

Putting my fork in I find marshmallows and chocolate immediately.  Although small, they are ample, and I’m never left searching for them as I continue to eat.  The chocolate chips get a little bit melty, but oddly enough the marshmallows stay completely firm, so the texture lacks that ooey gooey goodness that make s’mores so fun.  This is a bit disappointing considering the muffin comes out hot, but the sweetness of the marshmallows helps elevate the graham cracker taste in the muffin base and genuinely adds to the s’mores experience despite their lack of meltiness.  Think of these ‘mallows as more like the ones you get on top of Swiss Miss packaged hot chocolate that disappear almost immediately rather than a fresh pack of Jet Puffed.

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Much like the Double Chocolate version I reviewed earlier, this muffin benefits greatly from a little additional moisture and sweetness, either from fruit or nut butter.  The obvious pairing here is D’s Naturals S’mores Fluffbutter, which was awesome, but I found Nuts ’N More’s Birthday Cake spread to really take the s’mores experience to the next level.  This little addition helped fill in the melty gaps I was missing from the marshmallows and created a wonderful protein-loaded eating experience.  This product is not perfect but good enough to keep me trying the rest of their flavors in search of the ultimate Mighty Muffin.

Rating: 7/10

Quick Nutrition: 210 calories – 6g fat – 350mg Sodium – 24g Carbs – 5g Fiber – 10g Sugar – 20g Protein

REVIEW: Fit Joy Iced Gingerbread Cookie

This summer Fit Joy burst onto the protein scene, pecs-a-boomin, and have been relentless in their attempt to dominant the market ever since. I’m not sure who their connect is but based on their prominent displays and promotions at GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, and others, they really truly have the plug. After launching with six flavors, Fit Joy followed up with a limited seasonal Homemade Pumpkin Pie bar (which was okay), and are now trying to tempt Kris Kringle with additional holiday offerings. The first of these winter collection bars is Iced Gingerbread Cookie.

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Visually the bar is the same as all other non-cookie dough and mint Fit Joy‘s – a whey protein rectangle dipped in yogurt and topped with a garnish. The topping on this bar looks like little pieces of gingerbread cookies with the mellow aroma of cinnamon. The overall smell of the bar isn’t much different from the pumpkin pie or cinnamon bun with a sweet and subdued spice.

Biting in, a slightly crunchy texture from little crispy balls hidden inside the protein base gives way to a yogurt-driven sweetness that turns into a wonderful sharp ginger flavor. The ginger tastes authentic and finishes with the perfect spicy tingle that leaves you wanting more. The sweetness is on par with other Fit Joy flavors – definitely a dominant role but not overpowering or fake tasting in any way. The cinnamon crisps on top of the bar do a good job of emulating some of the snap you would get from a ginger cookie while also adding more cinnamon flavor.
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What makes this bar successful is that “Organic Ginger” appears in the ingredient list ahead of Stevia, and the experience as a whole feels more like eating a gingerbread cookie and less like a stick of fake sugar, which can’t be said for all protein bars.  Other companies should take notice and try and use more real ingredients when emulating flavors – especially spices.  Fit Joy’s mission statement is to use no artificial preservatives or sweeteners and the resulting experience is clean and refreshing.

Overall this bar is more impressive than their Homemade Pumpkin Pie and ranks among the best of their initial launch line, in the same class as Chocolate Peanut Butter, French Vanilla Almond, and Chocolate Iced Brownie. Great to see a protein bar company tackle a slightly different flavor than what’s on the market and have lots of success.

Rating: 8/10

Quick Nutrition: 220 cals – 10mg Cholesterol – 190mg Sodium – 24g Carbs – 10g Fiber – 5g Sugar – 20g Protein