Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Product Review: Zone Perfect Toasted Coconut Bars

I was finally able to get my hands on the Zone Perfect Toasted Coconut Bars ( I previously reviewed the peanut butter and cranberry almond HERE -  ) and I liked them a lot. HOWEVER...

 The Toasted Coconut bars are tasty, and have a strong coconut flavor. You can see the coconut flakes in them, and the bars have that firm texture I enjoyed in the other flavors. They have a satisfying firm almost "crunch" to them that is missing from other fruit based bars  
( like Larabars ).

Ingredients: Invert Dried Cane Syrup, Date Paste, Soy Protein Isolate, Toasted Coconut, Roasted Almonds (Almonds, High Oleic Sunflower Oil), Whey Protein Isolate, and Natural Vanilla Flavor

Essentially - sugar, dates, whey, coconut, and almonds. 

Wait - what?

I always thought "invert dried cane syrup" is exactly what it sounds like: the dried juice from pressing sugar cane - a less processed form of sucrose. Then I started to do a little research, and discovered I was wrong. Dead wrong.

 Invert sugar is basically table sugar (sucrose) that has been broken down into glucose & fructose. It is sweet - far sweeter than regular sugar, so you can use less of it in a product. However, the end result is a product nearly identical to HFCS ( high fructose corn syrup ). It is a definite no go on the Clean Eating scale.

I published this post specifically to show my readers that research into the foods you eat does pay off. Don't make an assumption, like I did. You learn something new, and apply it to your diet so you are eating more healthily. Question your food choices. Investigate ingredients. Find out what you are eating. I made a mistake, and I think it is important to learn from them.

I had been willing to look past the point that the cranberry almond flavor had cranberries that were processed with sugar. In the US, it's almost impossible to find a cranberry that isn't processed with sugar ( think Craisins, for example ). But now that I'm more educated about invert dried cane syrup, it won't be something I will consciously eat again.

Did I like the Perfectly Simple bars? Yes, I did. Will I buy them again? No, I will not - not until they remove invert cane syrup from the ingredients.

So - in conclusion, I can't recommend Perfectly Simple Bars to you. They aren't Clean.

( As always, I was not given samples by Abbott Labs to try and review. Any products I post about are purchased with my own money, and if I like a product, I'll tell you. If I didn't like it - I'll tell you that, too. )