Battle Of The Bars!

In this article I will be reviewing specific protein bars from each of the companies listed, and will be evaluating them based on the criterion presented above. So, without delay, get ready for the battle of the bars!
Have you ever walked into a health food store, looking for a low-cost, quality meal, but have found that as you gaze upon row after row of product an overwhelming sense of confusion and panic sets over you? Did you find yourself standing there, as catabolism creeps upon you, confused, unsure about what to buy? Have you ever tried to make a sound purchase, but have had no idea what was a good value, what was edible, and what would meet your needs?

What Does Catabolic Mean?
Catabolic refers to the metabolic process that is characterized by molecular breakdown and energy release, such as the decrease of muscle mass. Thus, it means "muscle loss" in many common bodybuilding contexts.

If you are like most people, your answer is yes. With new products debuting on the supplement market almost daily choosing between the latest "best-tasting" bar, the bar with the best looking package, or the newest "cutting edge protein delivery" bar can become a challenge.

When asked for advice by people seeking to purchase supplements, my very first recommendation is always: buy from a manufacturer and company with a reputation for making quality products. Most of the time this advice is sufficient for overcoming virtually all of the uncertainty that is associated with purchasing a quality supplement. However, things become less certain when it's a choice between several of the industries most trusted companies. What then?

When the above situation presents itself, six major criterion are used to distinguish between protein bar brands. These criterion are:

    1. Macronutrient Profile
    2. Texture
    3. Freshness
    4. Flavor
    5. Serving size
    6. Price

RELATED ARTICLE
Protein Bar True Taste Test!
A panel of tasters gathered to help give you, the consumer, some input to help you make a decision as to which protein bars don't leave you with that chalk-like aftertaste!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

One thing that I want my readers to understand is that, as my monthly column shows, I "tell it like it is." The readers of Bodybuilding.com DESERVE the truth, and I value my integrity. Too many supplement companies out there today try to "pull the wool" over the consumers eyes. I DON'T! Therefore, when I do a product review, if I think something is not a good value, or worse, a bad value, I will say as much.

In this article I will be reviewing specific protein bars from each of the companies listed, and will be evaluating them based on the criterion presented above. So, without delay, get ready for the battle of the bars!



Macronutrient Profile:

Total Fat: 6
Saturated Fat: 3.5
Cholesterol: <5mg
Total Carbohydrates: 3g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 2g
Sodium: 160mg
Potassium: 75mg
Protein: 30g

Macronutrient Analysis:

The macronutrient profile in these bars is excellent. The low carbohydrate content is ideal for those looking to minimize sugars in their diet, as well as those looking to lose bodyfat. The fat content is in the mid-range, but is still acceptable for those on low-fat diets.

Most surprisingly, this bar packs a whopping 30 grams of protein. This is a very high amount of protein considering the relative absence of fat and carbohydrates. The protein sources include whey, caseinate, and soy. Thus, all the bases are covered when it comes to protein sources. A good amount of potassium [necessary for athletic performance] is also provided.

Micronutrient Profile:

Biotin: 30%
Vitamin A: 30%
Vitamin D: 30%
Thiamin: 30%
Niacin: 30%
Phosphorus: 20%
Pantothenic Acid: 30%
Riboflavin: 30%
Vitamin B12: 40%
Vitamin E: 30%
Iodine: 30%
Copper: 30%
Magnesium: 8%
Manganese: 30%
Vitamin B6: 30%
Vitamin C: 30%
Calcium: 30%
Zinc: 30%
Folate: 30%

Micronutrient Analysis:

A vital factor that contributes to anabolism is the timed delivery of nutrients to the body. With every meal it is important to ensure that you obtain certain amounts of nutrients toward your daily total requirements. The EAS bars provide good amounts of B-Vitamins, Phosphorus and Zinc.

These vitamins are needed by the body to increase blood cell counts, improve athletic performance, and increase testosterone production, respectively. Other nutrients are present in sufficient quantities so as to ensure that, as one meal, the bar provides minerals and vitamins in sufficient quantities so as to meet the needs of hard-training athletes.

Serving size: 2.5oz
Cost per bar: $1.99 USD
Flavor Variety:

  • Apple Cinnamon - Buy
  • Blueberry Cheesecake - Buy
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberry - Buy
  • Cookies and Cream - Buy
  • Lemon Cheesecake - Buy
  • Peanut Butter - Buy

Flavor Review:

1. Apple Cinnamon

The texture on this bar is ok, but it is somewhat dry. It mixes easily with saliva and tastes very pleasant. This bar, unlike others I have tried in time previous, has a full-bodied flavor. For the small amount of carbohydrates and fat present in this bar, this is surprising. While this bar tastes good it tastes somewhat artificial, but not so much that it detracts from its overall flavor. The bar was very fresh, was not stale, and was very edible.

2. Blueberry Cheesecake

The texture on this bar was really nice. It was not as dry as the apple cinnamon, but could have been a bit moister. I really liked that there were real blueberries mixed into the bar, which I noticed when I bit into it. Unlike some companies who resort to artificial flavorings to give you that "blueberry flavor" when EAS says "blueberries" you can be sure they are really in the bar!

When I first took a bite into this bar I was taken aback at how good it tasted. The inclusion of real blueberries went a long way in giving it a fresh-taste. It was full flavored and there was not even a hint of sugar. This is a bar I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone! See what others thought about this products, click here!

3. Chocolate Dipped Strawberry

This bar was somewhat more difficult to consume simply because of the chocolate coating on the outside. The chocolate, however, had the effect of trapping moisture into the bar and as a result this bar was very fresh and pliable in the mouth. I really liked the contrasting flavors of chocolate and strawberry. See what others thought about this products, click here!

I seldom enjoy eating a protein bar coated in chocolate because with some brands they can become too much like candy bars, but EAS did a fine job of handling the issue, and this bar comes off as a winner overall in my books.

4. Cookies & Cream

The texture on this bar was somewhat tough. I found myself having difficulty chewing through this bar, but I liked the taste so overall it was worth the effort. This bar was also somewhat dry, which contributed to the need to chew it extensively before swallowing it. I could not tell if the toughness was due to a freshness issue or whether it was just how the bar was supposed to be, but the bar did not taste expired or contaminated.

Relative to the other companies cookies and cream bars being reviewed here I would rate the EAS rendition in the middle. It is not the best, but it is also not the worst either. I did, however, find myself eating several at one time, so I do recommend this bar to anyone looking to add a solid purchase to his or her supplement regimen. See what others thought about this products, click here!

5. Lemon Cheesecake

This bar had a very nice texture and was very pliable in the mouth. In fact, this flavor melted in my mouth when I ate it! I have yet to see a better rendition of lemon cheesecake out on the market. Other lemon bars I have tasted were terrible, but this one was really nice.

Like the blueberry bar it was clear that EAS went the extra mile to use real lemons in their product. The taste was not one of synthetic sugar; it was of real lemons and this very natural flavor enhanced the bar-eating experience by leaps and bounds.

I found that with this flavor, like the cookies and cream, I wanted more than one bar. Overall this bar was very fresh and I liked it. See what others thought about this products, click here!

6. Peanut Butter

Peanut ButterThis bar tasted really good, but it is not one that I found myself craving to eat over and over like the other flavors already mentioned. I found the peanut butter flavor to be somewhat dry, as expected. I did not find myself disliking the texture or taste, but I was not very enthusiastic about it either. In the whole series of EAS Myoplex Low Carbohydrate bars I would say that this is the most mediocre of the six. See what others thought about this products, click here!

How To Best Use This Product [product recommendation]:

It is recommended that these bars be used in the very last weeks of a bodyfat reduction program. The low carbohydrate content makes them ideal for this purpose, and the high protein content will ensure that 30 grams of high quality protein is available to offset the catabolism associated with extreme calorie deprivation from dieting.

Overall Evaluation Of Product:

EAS makes a great bar series with flavors that tantalize the taste buds and satisfy the appetite. Regardless of training phase consumers want food that tastes good while meeting their macronutrient requirements.

The relatively high protein content, augmented by the low fat and carbohydrate content, make these bars ideal for people looking for a nutritious, waist friendly snack or meal, and the taste that these bars offer, when considering the lack of carbohydrates and fat, is excellent.

The variety of flavors offered allows consumers a chance to mix things up and not be forced to eat the same flavor day in and day out. This is definitely a 4-star product and an excellent purchase for the consumer!


Muscle-Tech Meso-Tech
Protein Bars

Macronutrient Profile:

Calories: 340
Total Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Sodium: 135mg
Potassium: 75mg
Total Carbohydrates: 44g
Sugars: 29g
Protein: 25g

Macronutrient Analysis:

This product packs a whopping 44 grams of carbohydrates, 310 calories, 7 grams of fat and 29 grams of insulin-spiking sugar. The ratio of protein to carbohydrates is not ideal, as these bars offer only 25 grams of protein for the high amount of carbohydrates provided. The protein sources include whey, caseinate, and soy. Thus, all the bases are covered when it comes to protein sources.

The carbohydrates present in this bar come from simple sources exclusively and therefore offer no benefits associated with complex time-released, carbohydrates. A good amount of potassium [necessary for athletic performance] is also provided.

Micronutrient Profile:

Biotin: 50%
Vitamin A: 50%
Vitamin D: 50%
Thiamin: 50%
Niacin: 50%
Phosphorus: 15%
Pantothenic Acid: 50%
Riboflavin: 50%
Vitamin B12: 50%
Vitamin E: 50%
Iodine: 50%
Copper: 60%
Magnesium: 8%
Manganese: 0%
Vitamin B6: 50%
Vitamin C: 50%
Calcium: 25%
Zinc: 50%
Folate: 50%

Micronutrient Analysis:

A vital factor that contributes to anabolism is the timed delivery of nutrients to the body. With every meal it is important to ensure that you obtain certain amounts of nutrients toward your daily total requirements. The MuscleTech bars provide good amounts of B-Vitamins, Phosphorus and Zinc.

These vitamins are needed by the body to increase blood cell counts, improve athletic performance, and increase testosterone production, respectively. Other nutrients are present in sufficient quantities so as to ensure that, as one meal, the bar provides minerals and vitamins in sufficient quantities so as to meet the needs of hard-training athletes.

Serving size: 3.11oz
Cost per bar: $1.91 USD
Flavor Variety:

  • Chocolate Chip
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Peanut Butter

Flavor Review

1. Chocolate Chip

This bar was OK. It had a very dry texture and was somewhat difficult to chew due to its thickness. Despite the name of "chunky chocolate chip" there were no visible chocolate chips distributed throughout the bar, although they are listed in the ingredients. This bar had a pleasant chocolate chip flavor, but due to its dry texture this was not immediately apparent.

I recommend that if you are going to eat this bar, have some water handy; you will need it. Although it was at first difficult to tell, this bar was fresh. It was relatively tough to consume and chew, as already mentioned, and therefore it took some time to determine the freshness of this product. One benefit of this flavor is that it was not overly sweet, as would be expected of carbohydrate-loaded products.

I did not crave more than one of these bars, nor did I find myself not wanting to eat it. There was nothing outstanding about this particular flavor, but my overall evaluation of it is that it tasted good. See what others thought about this products, click here!

2. Chocolate Mint

The chocolate mint bar has a very pleasant taste. Chocolate and mint are very good combinations. The concerns I have with this bar are that it's a bit dry, it is really "heavy", and again it tastes far too sweet and its really tough to chew. Its texture is almost like Tar. It becomes very sticky and sweet when introduced to saliva.

Because this bar was very heavy I was unable to eat a complete one. I had to eat some, and then wait about 10 minutes before I could finish it totally. Also, I recommend having some water handy with this bar. See what others thought about this products, click here!

This bar was fresh and although the high amount of sugar made it difficult to eat, it served its purpose well.

3. Cookies & Cream

I found this bar to be too sweet for my liking. It has chunks of cookie in the bar and tastes really good after the first couple of bites, but due to its over sweet taste, the good initial taste of the bar is lost as you eat more and more of it.

Also, when compared to the Labrada cookies-and cream bar, it is not nearly as good, in my opinion. After I ate it I found myself feeling ill because of the amount of sugar. When I buy a protein bar I want protein, not sugar. It seems to me that this is something my nephew would find in his treat bag after going out for a sugar-filled, teeth rotting, night of Halloween trick-or-treating. To see if my reaction to this bar was strange or biased, I gave some to my mother to try and told her I thought it was "really good." After eating only ¼ of it she could continue no longer, and accused me of trying to give her "sugar poisoning." She then reported an ill feeling, almost as if she had "eaten too much candy."

However, the bar was very fresh at time of testing and, unlike other bars in the meso-tech line, had a soft texture. See what others thought about this products, click here!

4. Peanut Butter Chocolate

This flavor is a muscle-tech classic and is my favorite in the meso-tech line. This bar has a taste that is so close to peanut butter cups that thinking about eating it makes my mouth water! The texture on this bar is really good and the bar was very fresh. The flavor of this bar was immediately apparent, even without water, and it literally dissolves in your mouth with ease. The only concern that bodybuilders should have about this bar is its high sugar content, as indicated by its slightly over-sweet nature. The fat that comes from this bar is mostly derived from the peanuts used to flavor it.

Given its almost identical taste to peanut butter cups, I found myself craving this bar and would not hesitate to eat it again, given the chance. See what others thought about this products, click here!

How To Best Use This Product [product recommendation]:

It is recommended that these bars be used, if at all, in the very beginning weeks of a bodyfat reduction program. At this phase of the dieting program it is presumed that your eating habits are terrible from "bulking", so the inclusion of these bars will not harm you any. The high carbohydrate and fat content makes them suitable for the first several weeks of a bodyfat reduction program. However, the low protein content is a concern and therefore one should supplement this "meal replacement energy bar" with a protein shake, to make up where this bar falls short.

Overall Evaluation Of Product:

MuscleTech makes a great creatine product that works very well. However, their bars fall very short of what is expected by today's informed consumer. I was totally unimpressed by the bars and Muscletechs' "new flavors" which were, in my view, glorified candy bars, were far too sweet and something I could have lived without trying.

A hallmark of post-modern Western society is the excess consumption of simple carbohydrates. These bars tailor to that phenomenon and thus provide the bodybuilder looking to stay lean little of anything of substance.

In my view it is laughable that a protein bar has only 25 grams of protein while having 44 grams of carbohydrates, 29 of which are sugar. Especially sad is that these bars also have a very high fat content. As I mentioned, the ONLY bar that I really liked was the Peanut Butter Chocolate, and even that was really sweet and heavy on the carbohydrates and fat.

It is also laughable to suggest that any informed consumer would purchase these "candy bars with protein", when in fact one can obtain 30grams of protein per 1 scoop of Whey Protein Isolate from a good powder, without the detrimental effects associated with consuming 29 grams of waist-expanding sugar and 8 or so grams of fat. If this is not enough to get you thinking, do you really want to be eating something that is going to make your insulin levels spike and crash, and make you feel sick to your stomach?

In my opinion this product needs to be "de-sugared", revamped and revised. For some this is a good product. For the informed, health-conscious athlete, however, it is my view that hard earned supplement dollars are best spent elsewhere. For my money, this is not a product I would purchase. I give this product an unimpressive 1 star.



Macronutrient Profile:

Calories: 290
Protein: 30g
Fat: 6g
Carbohydrates: 17g

Macronutrient Analysis:

The macronutrient profile in these bars is excellent. The low carbohydrate content is ideal for those looking to minimize sugars in their diet, as well as those looking to lose bodyfat. The fat content is in the mid-low range, and is acceptable for those on low-fat diets.

Most surprisingly, this bar packs a whopping 30 grams of protein. This is a very high amount of protein considering the relative absence of fat and carbohydrates. The protein sources include whey, caseinate, and soy. Thus, all the bases are covered when it comes to protein sources. A good amount of potassium [necessary for athletic performance] is also provided.

Micronutrient Profile:

Biotin: 50%
Vitamin A: 50%
Vitamin D: 50%
Thiamin: 50%
Niacin: 60%
Phosphorus: 25%
Pantothenic Acid: 50%
Riboflavin: 50%
Vitamin B12: 50%
Vitamin E: 50%
Iodine: 50%
Copper: 0%
Magnesium: 0%
Manganese: 0%
Vitamin B6: 50%
Vitamin C: 50%
Calcium: 35%
Zinc: 50%
Folate: 50%

Micronutrient Analysis:

A vital factor that contributes to anabolism is the timed delivery of nutrients to the body. With every meal it is important to ensure that you obtain certain amounts of nutrients toward your daily total requirements. The Labrada bars provide good amounts of B-Vitamins, Phosphorus and Zinc.

These vitamins are needed by the body to increase blood cell counts, improve athletic performance, and increase testosterone production, respectively. Other nutrients are present in sufficient quantities so as to ensure that, as one meal, the bar provides minerals and vitamins in sufficient quantities so as to meet the needs of hard-training athletes.

Serving size: 78 grams
Cost per bar: $2.08 USD
Flavor Variety:

  • Blueberry cheesecake - Buy
  • Pina colada - Buy
  • Cookies & Cream - Buy
  • Mint chocolate chip - Buy
  • Peanut butter - Buy
  • Double chocolate chunk - Buy

Flavor review:

1. Blueberry Cheesecake

This bar tasted very good. I noted the presence of real blueberries, and not just "blueberry flavor."

This bar was fresh and its texture was impressive. It was very easy to chew, and was not overly sweet. It tasted like real blueberry cheesecake and tasted very natural. This flavor is a winner in my book! See what others thought about this products, click here!

2. Pina Colada

This bar was simply amazing! When I bit into it the freshness was very apparent, it was very malleable and was easy to chew. Even better, there were pieces of cherry in the mixture. I am a big fan of pina colada and this tasted EXACTLY like it! I found myself wanting to eat three of these bars at one time, they were that good! So, I ate two of them and promised myself to not touch the other one so I could enjoy it later. It was difficult to resist, but I managed to leave it alone!

What I really liked about this particular flavor was the absence of sugars. Instead of sugar, like other bars, I noticed the very natural taste of this bar. Labrada was not trying to poison me with sugar, nor was he trying to use sugar to make up for a shoddy product. He endeavored, with this flavor, to replicate the taste of pina colada with exactness, and he did an amazing job. This bar was very good, and also received positive feedback from people [who are not bodybuilders] with whom I conducted miniature taste-tests.

Overall I love this flavor and will order this flavor again. See what others thought about this products, click here!

3. Cookies & Cream

Although the texture on this bar was chewy and somewhat difficult to chew, the flavor and freshness of this bar was AMAZING! As you bite into this bar the flavor hits you and is very strong, but natural. It tastes exactly like cookies and cream but does not overwhelm you with sugar. I could become an addict on these.

I kid you not when I say that this is the BEST tasting bar I have ever had! This bar was a privilege to eat and I have nothing but good things to say about it. This one is fantastic folks! When it says "award winning taste" on the wrapper, its award winning taste inside the wrapper! WOW is a summary of this bar! See what others thought about this products, click here!

4. Mint Chocolate Chip

The texture on this bar was good, but I found it to be very dry. Its flavor tasted artificial somewhat. If I could describe the flavor I would say that it tastes like a combination between milk powder and too much mint. It was, however, fresh and very easy to eat, despite the somewhat overpowering amount of mint present in the bar.

When eating this bar I found it melting in my mouth almost immediately. My overall impression of this flavor is favorable and I would eat it again. See what others thought about this products, click here!

5. Chocolate Peanut Butter

The texture on this bar was soft and chewy. It was very easy to bite into and dissolved in my mouth when introduced to saliva. I like this bar. The peanut flavor mixed with chocolate is Labrada's take on a classic treat. For those of us who are able to eat products containing nuts and chocolate, this bar is a great alternative for an otherwise unhealthy binging session with packages and packages of peanut butter cups.

I enjoyed the very clean and natural taste that this bar had to offer. Unlike the MuscleTech version, this bar was not loaded with sugar. It was just right. Anyone who has enjoyed the taste of natural peanut butter will have a high appreciation for the quality of this bar.

Although this bar was a little dry, it was fresh, very tasty and had an excellent texture that made it very easy to eat. See what others thought about this products, click here!

6. Double Chocolate Chunk

The texture on this bar was excellent, and despite my preconceptions that anything "double chocolate" would be dry and chunky, it was moist and fresh. It also had a very nice taste to it. I did not find anything to be artificial tasting about this bar, nor did it taste like a candy bar. It was very natural tasting, and like the other flavors in this product from Labrada, I wanted to eat more than one at a time!

How To Best Use This Product [product recommendation]:

It is recommended that these bars be used in the middle period of a bodyfat reduction program. Their mid-range carbohydrate levels and fat content and their high protein content make them ideal for this purpose.

Overall Evaluation Of Product:

Labrada has gone all-out with these bars. In fact, he has gone well beyond the call of duty, when considering against whom he is being compared. These bars do not have a lot of carbs, fat or sugar, and yet they their taste is outstanding. It is my view that there is no one on the market today that can even challenge these bars.

I found myself totally impressed by these bars from the start. This is, of course, totally contrasted by my distaste for the Meso-tech bars. I am not easily impressed, but Labrada has won me over with his quality products. There just is no one else out there right now that can beat the quality, taste and price of these bars. Labrada is first, BAR-none!

The only thing I would caution is that due to the incredible taste of these bars you WILL find yourself tempted to eat more than one. With 12 bars per box it is easy to see how a box can end up lasting only about three days, as did the boxes I purchased! These bars are so good that exercising self-restraint is necessary.

For my supplement dollar these bars represent THE best value for a supplement bar purchase. This product gets a VERY enthusiastic [almost fanatical] 5 stars.

Overall Review:

Now that my analysis is complete on the three products, here is a brief review of my thoughts and recommendations, as well as the ratings. You can use this chart as a quick reference guide when comparing these three products.

Company Product Line Value To Consumer Price Per Bar (USD) Star Rating Best Used During Fat Loss Program
Labrada Lean Body Great $2.08 ***** Middle
MuscleTech Meso-Tech Poor $1.91 * Beginning
EAS Low Carb Good $1.99 **** End

Battle Of The Bars:

Despite my enthusiastic rating for certain products over others, the battle of the bars war is not one in which an absolute victor can be declared. Yes, certain products are of a higher OVER ALL quality than others. However, how "good" a product is or is not will depend on YOUR needs as an individual, and will depend on the training phase you are currently in.

RELATED POLL
If You Have Tried A Labrada Bar, What Did You Think?

Very Good.
Not That Great.
Going To The Store Now!

GENERALLY, my choice from the three products listed here would be the Labrada bars. However, when speaking about SPECIFIC situations, which are dependant upon training phase, I would follow the chart provided above. So, in the battle of the bars the ultimate victor can be YOU, provided you choose the correct bar for the correct battle.

Summary / Conclusion

Attempting to choose the right product can be a difficult challenge. This challenge is often compounded by the myriad of choices available to the consumer. When purchasing a product from reputable companies it is important to choose one that suits your particular needs. To achieve this, it is important to keep in mind your training habits, as well as the macro and micronutrient profiles on the products available to you.

Being an informed consumer involves more than selecting the bar with the fanciest wrapping, or the one that receives the most propaganda in contemporary bodybuilding literature. It involves intelligent and analytical thought, and it involves identifying the crucial elements worthy of consideration when making a purchase.

By following the advice and recommendations found in this publication you can take comfort in knowing that the battle of the bars will have a winner: YOU.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this publication is for educational and informational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement to care provided by your own personal health care team or physician. The author does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources. Readers and consumers should review the information in this publication carefully with their professional health care provider. The information in this or other publications authored by the writer is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Reliance on any information provided by the author is solely at your own risk. The author does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, medication, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be presented in the publication. The author does not control information, advertisements, content, and articles provided by discussed third-party information suppliers. Further, the author does not warrant or guarantee that the information contained in written publications, from him or any source is accurate or error-free. The author accepts no responsibility for materials contained in the publication that you may find offensive. You are solely responsible for viewing and/or using the material contained in the authored publications in compliance with the laws of your country of residence, and your personal conscience. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising from the use of information contained in this or other publications.

Copyright © Clayton South, 2003 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright holder and author of this publication.