Snack bars, especially ones marketed as healthy, are hard to resist. Super convenient, easy to bring anywhere and don’t go bad for months. Seems like a no-brainer. C’mon, every body’s doing it. So why shouldn’t you?
This post is not about why you should avoid all snack bar products. That is extreme and there are some decent ones on the market. This post is about one brand of bars, the Think Thin protein bars. With a great brand name and terrific marketing plastered on the bars’ wrappers exuding the health benefits of their protein bars, how could you not be tempted to try Think Thin? “Gluten-free, 0 sugar, low glycemic” – sounds good, right?
I became a loyal customer to their brownie crunch and chunky peanut butter bars years ago and I must say I fell hard for them. The bars became a daily staple in my diet. I may have had even more than 1 bar some days. They tasted good and had high protein without carb overload. But, these convenient protein snacks were not doing me any favors. It took months for me to figure out that the bars were actually causing my body harm as the ingredients were not healthful or beneficial for me. All I had to do was read the long list of ingredients to understand why I was not feeling as good as I usually did.
Let’s have a look at the Brownie Crunch Think Thin protein bar. To begin, Think Thin does not make it simple for you to locate the ingredients online. Go ahead – take a look at their product details page on their website. Can you find the list of ingredients? I found the nutrition panel, but no ingredients. Here’s a screenshot of what you will see on the company’s website.
And here is something I find very deceiving. I clicked on “Learn More” as I thought this is where I could locate the ingredient list of the brownie crunch bar. This is what I found:
Let’s go through their list. High protein – yes, there is 20 grams of protein per bar, but let’s look at the source. You can find the ingredients listed on a bar. The protein comes from soy. Overly processed, most likely genetically modified soy. You will actually find the word “soy” listed in the ingredients 4 times! Go ahead – count for yourself.
Let’s move on to the 2nd item listed under “Learn More” about the brownie crunch bar – No Refined Sugar. What you find in this bar is REFINED SUGAR ALCOHOLS, so technically not refined sugar. The maltitol, which is listed twice in the ingredients, and glycerin are both sugar alcohols that are known to cause digestive upset. Maltitol, which is a very common highly processed sugar alcohol used in sugar free foods, is mostly derived from corn. Another big genetically modified crop.
Next is Gluten-Free. Fine, the product is gluten-free, but that does not mean healthy. Please understand what gluten is and gluten-free foods can be very unhealthy. Potato chips and many ice creams are gluten-free.
Good Source of Fiber. The brownie crunch bar has 2 grams of fiber. That does not qualify as a good source of fiber for a 230 calorie snack.
Non-GMO Ingredients. Please read this closely because the brownie crunch bar does contain genetically modified ingredients. You will notice the company has listed they strive to source Non-GMO ingredients and only their Crunch Mixed Nut Bars do not contain genetically modified ingredients! Ha! They rely on us consumers being too busy and rushed to read the fine print.
Low Glycemic Index. These bars have 25 grams of carbohydrates and only 2 grams of fiber. It’s decent, but not great.
Dairy Free. Well, brownie crunch bars are not dairy free as they contain milk fat and casein. Here’s some information about casein: most allergic reactions to milk and cheese are because of casein. When casein is broken down by the body, the peptide that it is broken down into acts as a histamine releaser. This has been shown to aggravate autism symptoms.
Vegan. Same as above – the brownie crunch and all their protein bars contain several animal-based ingredients.
This business practice of trying to fool the consumer is something that truly gets to me. Think Thin did fool me once, but never again.
Let’s take another look at that ingredient list:
There are 3 ingredients listed above that I believe are healthy and can be within a “healthy” snack product. Those are water, almonds and sea salt. All the other ingredients demonstrate how overly processed and fake this product is. Natural flavors, which is listed twice, is a big no-no as it can be ANYTHING. No joke – here is the definition of natural flavors by the FDA:
So yes, it can be anything. Including monosodium glutamate (MSG).
I am not going to go through each ingredient and tell you my thoughts, as I know you are smart enough to see these Think Thin protein bars clearly for what they are. But, here is a former post about another brand of snack bars where I do go through each ingredient. Not surprisingly, you will see a ton of overlap in ingredients.
Read Your Ingredients!