It's been far too long since we've reviewed a protein product! This time we got to test some protein bars, cookies, and mousse from our comrades across the pond - Bodybuilding Warehouse in Manchester, UK. BBW carries over 50 well-known brands including some of our favorites like Quest Nutrition and Nuts N More, but they also produce their own brand of products. They offered to send us some samples to try and share with you, so let's get to it!
First up is a chocolate pecan flapjack, or protein bar as they are known in this neck of the woods. The bar is made up of a chewy chocolate bar sprinkled with little pecan bits and the bottom is dipped in a chocolate-flavored coating. The aroma is a mixture of subtle cocoa powder and that ubiquitous "protein powder" scent that all bars seem to possess, regardless of brand and flavor. A vegan lifestyle doesn't mean missing essential protein and there are some amazing vegan protein bars available.
Per www.bodybuildingwarehouse.co.uk, here are some nutritional facts and and the ingredients list for one bar:
Energy (Kcal) - 282
Protein - 18.7g
Carbohydrates - 35.6g
of which Sugars - 1.9g
of which Polyols - 12.4g
Fat - 8.5g
of which Saturates - 3g
Fibre - 3.7g
Sodium - 0.043g
Oat Blend (Rolled Oats, Malted Oats [contains Malt Extract, Vegetable Oil], Oat Flour), Protein Blend (Milk Protein Isolate*, Hydrolysed Gelatine, Whey Protein Concentrate*, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin), Humectant (Glycerine), Milk Chocolate Flavoured Coating (8%) (Sweeteners: Isomalt, Sucralose; Non-Hydrogenated Palm and Palm Kernel Oil, Whey Powder*, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Wheat Flour, Emulsifiers: Soya Lecithin, E476; Flavouring), Dried Glucose Syrup, Sweeteners (Maltitol, Sucralose), Reduced Fat Cocoa Powder, Nibbed Pecans (3%), Flaxseed, Vegetable Oil, Flavouring, Antioxidant (Mixed Tocopherols).
Contains Gluten, Soya, Milk and Nuts. May contain Eggs, Peanuts.
Matt and I had opposite opinions of the chocolate pecan flapjack. He enjoyed the thick, dense, and chewy texture and appreciated that the overall flavor was mild. His reasoning is that he likes to eat a protein bar in the morning, typically soon after he brushes his teeth, and a milder flavor doesn't clash with his toothpaste as much. Gotta love his logic! As for me, I didn't like it. I thought it was too chewy/hard to bite for my tastes and I would have preferred a much stronger chocolate flavor. I did appreciate that there is not an overwhelming flavor from the sweetener nor is there a lingering aftertaste.
Next we tried a toffee apple flapjack which had a pleasant smell of apples and caramel as soon as I ripped open the package. The bar was sticky to hold in my hands and was much softer and more bendy than the chocolate pecan.
I couldn't find the exact nutritional facts for the Toffee Apple flavor on the website, so I apologize for that lack of information. I did find an entry on Myfitnesspal with some information but I can't verify that it is 100% correct, so I recommend using those numbers as a guideline.
Once again, Matt and I disagreed in our opinions of the toffee apple flapjack. I really enjoyed this one! There's a sharp, tart bite from the apple which was a nice surprise as I was expecting it to be more of a candied sweet apple flavor. The toffee is subtle but is a nice background complement to the apple. The best component of this bar is the texture - it's really soft, easy to bite, and doesn't suffer from being overly dense despite the high protein content.
Moving on from the
bars flapjacks, next up we tried a big ole protein cookie in "rich chocolate". Hands down, this cookie claims the top spot as both Matt's and my favorite product that we tried. The texture is not as tough as a protein bar and reminds me more of a really dense cake. The chocolate flavor is bold and the sucralose is subtle and doesn't leave an aftertaste. This is a treat that I wouldn't mind having again (and Matt agreed!).
Here's all the nutrition and ingredients details:
Nutritional Infomation per 75g Cookie:
Milk Protein, Hydrolysed Gelatine, Glycerine, Vegetable Oil, Dark Chocolate Chips (10% - Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Emulsifier, Soya Lecithin, Flavouring), Soya Protein, Granulated Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Oat Flour, Raising Agents (Sodium Bicarbonate, Cream of Tartar), Dietary Fibre (Gum Acacia), Flavouring, Salt, Sweetener (Sucralose)
Contains Milk, Soy and Oats. May contain nuts. Not Suitable for Vegetarians.
The Protein Mousse is a brand new product to me - I'd never heard of such a thing. Protein powder, sure, we use a lot of that in our house, but this is a bit different. When mixed with water (or I suppose milk would work as well) and chilled in the refrigerator, the mixture thickens up into a light mousse. It can be eaten as a dessert, snack, or any time you need to inject some extra protein into your day.
The flavor we tried was "S'mores" and it smelled amazing in the bag - the toasty marshmallow aroma was front and center.
Per www.bodybuildingwarehouse.co.uk, here are the nutritional deets for Protein Mousse for each serving (50g or two rounded scoops)
Nutritional Information Per 50g Serving:
Kcal - 180
KJ - 753
Protein (Dry Basis) - 33.50g
Protein (As Is) - 32.12g
Carbohydrates - 9.38g
of which Sugars - 4.44g
Fibre - 1.15g
Fats - 1.57g
of which Saturates - 0.88g
Salt - 0.21g
The instructions say to mix the powder and water together in a shaker bottle and then transfer to a container before refrigerating. Because I was too lazy to dirty up a shaker bottle and a bowl, I broke the rules and whisked everything together directly into a bowl and then popped it into the fridge for about 40 minutes.
As is, we weren't the biggest fans of the s'mores protein mousse. The texture is good - I was impressed by how readily it firmed up in the refrigerator and it was light and airy. I detected a very slight grain to the texture, but perhaps it could be made more creamy if prepared with milk instead of water? The mousse did have a convincing flavor of s'mores, mostly marshmallow and chocolate with very slight graham in the background. The biggest complaint that both of us had was the presence of the sweetener that left a strong aftertaste. I feel like this could be serviceable as a more macro-friendly topping to some protein pancakes or something similar, but I wouldn't eat this on its own as a standalone dessert.
Overall, I think the Bodybuilding Warehouse brand has some interesting offerings and that there are some superstars within their product line. You can check 'em out at www.bodybuildingwarehouse.co.uk!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
We were sent some samples from Bodybuilding Warehouse to try and share our opinions with all of you. We do not accept free product or compensation in return for a fully positive review. Remember our motto – if it sucks, we’ll tell ya!
Thank you for all the great ideas..