A delicious post-workout snack, if you like peanut butter or spicy chocolate
I’ll say it up front, this it the first time I have ever been asked to do a product review rather than just yelling about something because the mood struck me.
Probably because I’ve been covering some health related items recently, the Mezcla folks reached out and asked if I could review their plan protein bars. Here’s a little secret about me: I love protein bars; I could eat them with every meal, and for that matter instead of a meal many times.
Because of this fact, I was happy to review a sample of 3 of their plant protein bars. I am always looking for as close to 0 net carbs but don’t want to sacrifice the taste of my food, so I was excited to give these bars a try!
Nutrition (and my personal net carbs calculation)
Up front I’ll say I am a type-2 diabetic, so I take an interest in the carb info of my snacks probably a little more than most.
Anyway, as the Atinks site says, the official formula for net carbs is defined as Total Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols (if applicable). According to this formula, the Mezcla bars are 16g of net carbs for a 1.4 oz (40g) bar. My personal formula is Total Carbs – Protein because I’m a bit lazy at the math and derived this from my dietician, so by that metric the bars are a very reasonable 8g.
Anyway, I’m generally not into those completely 0-net-carb protein bars, because if you’ve ever tasted many of them, they taste….let’s say unpleasant. I am happy to have a few net carbs in my food as long as it has some good flavor, then I can check my blood sugar after the fact, and if need be grab a hard boiled egg or do some work on the spin bike to balance it.
Here is a shot of the back of the packaging for your perusal:
Blood sugar impact
For testing purposes, I tried one of the bars and checked my blood sugar a little over 90 minutes later to find that it was already returning to near its previous level. So let’s say (based on the graph below) that there was around a 10 mg/dL increase from eating the Mezcla bar.
Had I not needed to eat breakfast due to schedule reasons I would have waited the full 2 hours. This would give a better idea of the total impact, but I hope this imperfect info will help some other diabetics out there decide if they want to try the bar based on this info.
I use the amazing Freestyle Libre wearable sensor to constantly monitor my blood sugar, and I highly recommend this unit to anyone with diabetes. Please talk to your doctor about this device, especially if like me you hate finger sticks. Again I’m not being sponsored here, this is just a great product that you can use with Android or iOS to get accurate blood sugar readings on the spot.
Ingredients & Allergen Info
According to their front packaging, the bars claims to be: Vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Soy Free and Dairy Free on the front of the package.
The back of the packaging includes the following disclaimer: “Manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts tree nuts, eggs, milk, and soy.” Obviously, the peanut bar also contains peanuts and is properly disclaimed.
Look, Taste & Smell
So how do the Mezcla bars taste (and smell upon opening)? Here’s a breakdown by each bar, but a general comment: these bars actually have a bit of a Rice Krispie Treat-style consistency to them, both in appearance and taste-wise, which I liked quite a bit. So think of them as a healthier Rice Krispie treat with more interesting flavors and you have the basic idea.
Now onto the specific flavors themselves!
Mexican Chipotle Hot Chocolate
Not familiar with Mexican Hot Chocolate, so this was an enjoyable learning experience. Opening the package you’re greeted with a strong aroma that smells like ground coffee which is something I do enjoy. It wasn’t mouth-watering-ly delicious, but very good.
Tasting it, at first I didn’t get much ‘zing’ as I expected from something with chipotle in the name. But it came on around the second bite and there was a pleasant amount of heat. Nothing so much as to make my nose run or anything, just a nice amount of spicy, which mixed surprisingly nicely with the cocoa flavor.
A warning here is that I love not dishes like camarones a la diabla, and I completely cover my dumpling dishes in Buffalo Sauce. If you’re not big on spice I think this bar won’t be to your liking. But if you like chocolate and spiciness this could be a very nice post-workout treat.
Peruvian Cocoa Peanut Butter
Now this is the stuff! A rich peanut butter smell opening the package, nothing chemically like you get with some protein bars. Yum, let’s move right to the tasting!
I didn’t get quite as much peanut butter flavor as I was expecting given how good the bar smelled on opening the package (also it was the first thing in the morning and I could have eaten a rubber tire I was so hungry), but there is some solid PB flavor in this bar. The cocoa compliments it well, and I was surprised by there not being much aftertaste upon finishing. This is actually a good thing but I don’t mind the remnants of sweetness after a little snack.
Japanese Matcha Vanilla Crunch
I am going to pass on this one. I haven’t tried any trendy matcha drinks at the local Starbucks yet, and as someone who caffeine seems to be poisonous to biologically I probably never will. As soon as I opened the package I knew this one was going to be a pass for me, so I’ll just say that to my nose it smells like paint and leave it at that, and the taste did not redeem it.
Price & Verdict
Overall these bars (well two of them) are quite satisfying, and they seem to have a lower impact on my blood sugar compared to other snacks. As for taste, I was expecting the Peanut Butter to be my favorite flavor, but I think I like the Mexican Chipotle Hot Chocolate the best as a nice spicy treat!
But the overall verdict is always something I view through the lens of how much you’re paying for it, no matter if I like something or am obsessed with it. So bear that in mind here.
I was somewhat disheartened when I found I could not order the Mezcla bars from Amazon, which offers both repeat purchase options and the ability to quickly get more when I run out. What is nice though is you can order a sample set of the plant protein bars from Mezcla’s web site and just pay for shipping, then decide how much the taste is worth to you. They do auto-sign you up for refills which I’d really prefer they not do, but they go give 3 day’s notice before the refills are going to ship. Win some lose some here.
Anyway, at time of writing, the bars are $20 for an 8-pack, but with shipping we’re up to $25 or about 3 bucks a piece (unless you’re paying over $50 which qualifies for free shipping). That’s a tad pricey, but I have no problem spending 2 or 3 bucks on a single protein bar at the mini mart after a brisk walk, so to each their own. Their website does support checkout by Paypal (as I hate giving out my credit card info to every random website) so this gets a few bonus points for me.
So would I spend my own money on the Mezcla bar? I’d say probably, especially the Hot Cocoa flavor as I really like the spicyness and they don’t seem to significantly impact my blood sugar.
This review is based on a sample provided by Mezcla. They didn’t provide any monetary compensation or anything other than the sample items I reviewed, and I provided no advanced review or approval for them. You may well read this review before they do.
The information presented is my own good faith calculations and estimates, but I am not performing these experiments in a lab, they are my own real world findings based on my environment and biology. Your mileage may vary.