Jan 11 2014

Review: Atkins Chocolate Bars

Atkins Chocolate Bars

Atkins, the company, produces many low-carb products and one of their most known product line is the low-carb chocolate bars. In this review I will tell you do they taste anything like the real thing and are they really as low-carb as they claim.

 

What are Polyols?

Polyols are known as sugar alcohols in food science. They are organic, white, water-soluble and sweet compounds that chemistry-wise belong to the group of alcohols. What makes them special and why they are used in Atkins chocolate bars is that they affect blood sugar significantly less than regular sugar (sucrose). However most of them cannot be totally neglected. What they do have is that they don’t contribute to tooth decay because they are not broken down and converted into acids by the mouth bacteria. There are several known sugar alcohols that are commonly used in the food industry, such as maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol and isomalt. According to several studies, xylitol is beneficial to dental care as it reduces caries when used regularly (e.g. using xylitol-sweetened chewing gum after meals). All sugar alcohols – with the exception of erythritol – cause flatulence and diarrhea if consumed excessive amounts. Erythritol has exceptional digestive path as 90% of it exits the human body in urine and thus it does not cause laxative effect.

Atkins Advantage Chocolate Brownie

chocolate-brownie

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 363 kcal
Protein 30 g
Carbohydrates 26.2 g
Sugars 1.8 g
Polyols 21 g
Fat 16 g
Fiber 16 g

The smell is delicious, it reminds me of Finnish candy bar Kismet. The core has four layers: a caramel topping, a generic “cocoa” mass, crispy layer and another generic cocoa mass layer at the bottom. The core is covered with a thin layer of dark chocolate. This one tastes most like normal chocolate candy bar as it does not have the polyol bitterness that almost all the other Atkins bars have in common. The Chocolate Brownie is sweetened with glycerol and mannitol, so it can have laxative effect if consumed large amounts. With one bar at a time, I have not noticed any digestive effects. This is definitely my favorite, even my kids love it! A perfect treat if you crave for something sweet.

One bar of 60 g has 218 kcal of energy, 9.3 g of fat (5 g of which saturates), 15.7 g of carbs (1.1 g of which sugars), 9.4 g of fiber and 18 g of protein.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Atkins Advantage Chocolate Caramel Crunch Bar

chocolate-caramel-crunch

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 358 kcal
Protein 35 g
Carbohydrates 22.5 g
Sugars 1.5 g
Polyols 17.8 g
Fat 14 g
Fiber 17 g

The smell is delicious, chocolaty and sweet. The bar looks like rice chocolate. When I took the first bite, the texture resembled Lion chocolate bar, but actually it does not taste nor feel like Lion. This one is sweet but you can also sense the subtle bitterness of polyols. It is not as crunchy as expected. The thick core has round “grains” in a sticky medium. An over-all pleasant experience, I like it.

One bar of 60 g has 215 kcal of energy, 8.1 g of fat (4.4 g of which saturates), 13.5 g of carbs (0.9 g of which sugars), 10 g of fiber and 21 g of protein. 0.9 g of real sugars is rather low for a 60 g candy bar.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Atkins Advantage Chocolate Decadence Bar

chocolate-decadence

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 388 kcal
Protein 30 g
Carbohydrates 27.4 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Polyols 24.8 g
Fat 20 g
Fiber 9.9 g

The smell has a strong dark chocolate flavor. This is much softer than the crunch series. The core reminds me of chocolate fudge. The taste is not so sweet as I expected, it even has a bitter aftertaste. It feels somewhat sticky in mouth. If you crave dark chocolate, this could work. It is not one of my personal favorites.

One bar of 60 g has 233 kcal of energy, 12 g of fat (6.6 g of which saturates), 16.4 g of carbs (0.8 g of which sugars), 5.9 g of fiber and 18 g of protein. 0.8 g of real sugars is rather low for a 60 g candy bar.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Atkins Advantage Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Bar

chocolate-hazelnut-crunch

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 433 kcal
Protein 26 g
Carbohydrates 29.4 g
Sugars 3.2 g
Polyols 24.2 g
Fat 25 g
Fiber 10.1 g

The smell is nutty, chocolaty and stingy. The nutty core is covered with a thin layer of chocolate. The texture is somewhat crunchy but the taste reminds me of marzipan. There are crushed hazelnuts in the core and you can easily see the structures of whole nuts there. This like other bars has also that stingy and slightly bitter aftertaste of polyols. The sweetness depends on the core (nuttier parts are not that sweet) but overall sensation is sweet.

One bar of 60 g has 260 kcal of energy, 15 g of fat (5.1 g of which saturates), 17.7 g of carbs (1.9 g of which sugars), 6.1 g of fiber and 16 g of protein. 1.9 g of real sugars is rather low for a 60 g candy bar.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Atkins Advantage Chocolate Peanut Caramel Bar

chocolate-peanut-caramel

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 386 kcal
Protein 29.4 g
Carbohydrates 24.8 g
Sugars 2.4 g
Polyols 20.1 g
Fat 19 g
Fiber 16.1 g

The smell is delicious and it is an instant mouth-waterer. The smell resembles a classic Finnish candy bar Kismet which is crisp waffle and nougat covered in milk chocolate. The taste however is not similar at all. It is not as sweet as the Endulge series. There is a thick layer of crushed peanut in the middle and the subtle sweetness can be even sensed as bitterness. A thin cover of chocolate does not contribute to the taste much. I would have expected more Snickers type of taste but it does not resemble Snickers. Peanut dominates the overall experience and the texture takes some time to chew. Not bad at all, just not as candy-like as I would have expected.

One bar of 60 g has 232 kcal of energy, 11 g of fat (5.1 g of which saturates), 14.9 g of carbs (1.5 g of which sugars), 9.7 g of fiber and 17.7 g of protein. 1.5 g of real sugars is rather low for a 60 g candy bar.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Atkins Advantage Chocolate & Orange

chocolate-orange

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 413 kcal
Protein 31 g
Carbohydrates 28.7 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Polyols 25.5 g
Fat 22 g
Fiber 9.7 g

Orange flavor can easily be sensed in the smell. The brown core of some generic mass is covered by a thin layer of dark chocolate. The generic mass is polydextrose. The stringy orange taste is closer to zest than the inner fruit flesh. The bar is sweet but has the polyol bitter aftertaste like almost all the other Atkins bars. The core is somewhat sticky and gives your jaws something to chew on.

One bar of 60 g has 248 kcal of energy, 13 g of fat (7.6 g of which saturates), 17.2 g of carbs (0,8 g of which sugars), 5.8 g of fiber and 18 g of protein.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Atkins Endulge Chocolate-Coconut

chocolate-coconut

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 443 kcal
Protein 8.8 g
Carbohydrates 34.8 g
Sugars 5.5 g
Polyols 28.9 g
Fat 32 g
Fiber 13 g

I can definitely smell the coconut, so it resembles other chocolate-coconut bars such as Bounty. First bite reveals the contents of the chocolate bar: it is almost all coconut flake mass inside – only a thin layer of chocolate around it. The bar is really sweet and the sweetness is “stingy”. In other words, the sweeteners (maltitol syrap, maltitol and sucralose) can be tasted. Polydextrose is used as a filling substance. Because of the overwhelming sweetness, I could not even think about eating anything sweet for a while after. Probably that is exactly its purpose.

One bar of 35 g has 155 kcal of energy, 11 g of fat, 12.2 g of carbs (1.9 g of which sugars), 4.7 g of fiber and 3.1 g of protein.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Atkins Endulge Crispy Milk Chocolate

crispy-milk

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 469 kcal
Protein 13 g
Carbohydrates 48 g
Sugars 5 g
Polyols 42 g
Fat 32 g
Fiber 2 g

The smell is like of milk chocolate. The bar is really hard and the core is made of a mixed mass of crispy material. The ingredient listing tells that it is in fact cocoa butter, milk powder, cocoa mass and soy chips. The sweetness comes from maltitol. It does not have the bitter aftertaste of polyols like most other Atkins bars. Crispy Milk Chocolate taste is very close to normal sugar chocolate bars, however it has granules that really feel in the mouth. This is so good that I was left craving for more.

One bar of 30 g has 141 kcal of energy, 10 g of fat (5.7 g of which saturates), 14.4 g of carbs (1.5 g of which sugars), 0.6 g of fiber and 3.9 g of protein.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Atkins Endulge Peanut-Caramel

peanut-caramel

Nutrition Facts Amount/100 g
Energy 385 kcal
Protein 9.4 g
Carbohydrates 30.2 g
Sugars 4.3 g
Polyols 24.3 g
Fat 24 g
Fiber 13 g

This one really smells peanutty and it reminds me of Snickers. A light beige-colored core has a thin top layer of crushed peanuts and a thick bottom layer what looks like some generic “candy mass”. The ingredients tell me the filling is made out of polydextrose, which is a non-dietary fiber, a synthetic polymer of glucose. On top of the crushed peanut layer there is a thin layer of caramel and the whole three-layer core is wrapped inside a thin chocolate cover. The taste is not as sweet as I would’ve expected, however it does not have distinctive polyol bitter aftertaste either. Very smooth, nutty and pleasant, I like it.

One bar of 35 g has 135 kcal of energy, 8 g of fat (3.7 g of which saturates), 10.6 g of carbs (1.5 g of which sugars), 4.7 g of fiber and 3.3 g of protein.

Quality Score
Low in Carbs
Smell
Taste

Conclusion

If I was to pick one favorite, it would be the Chocolate Brownie. If you are just beginning and calculate carbs strictly, an Atkins chocolate bar could be the candy to choose for the day off. But beware that the polyols (sugar alcohols), except erythritol, cannot be totally neglected in the nutrition facts – unlike they claim.

Atkins Chocolate Bars

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