So one of Edward’s and my favorite things to do is hit up the local supplement shops and see what’s new. Edward was in the supplement biz for years before switching to the real estate biz so he’s just as interested in supplements and protein bars as I am. In fact, he’s the one that originally introduced me to that world. So I guess you could say he’s the one that created the foodie monster I am today. So a lot of companies have been coming out with these protein cake bites and, I admit, the packaging totally drew me in.
So today I will be reviewing the ThinkThin protein cakes in chocolate cake and birthday cake flavors as well as the Optimum Nutrition protein cake bites in chocolate frosted donut, birthday cake, and chocolate cherry dipped flavor. So let’s start with the Optimum Nutrition cake bites first, shall we?
Chocolate dipped cherry: did have a nice chocolate cherry flavor but the texture was….chewy. Had a strong “protein” aftertaste. Was decent but would not purchase again.
Nutrition (for entire package): 240 cal, 7g total fat (4g saturated), 150mg sodium, 25g total carbs (0g fiber, 4g sugar – 1g natural, 3G added sugar), 20g protein
Birthday cake: unfortunately I don’t have pics of this one since my fiance elected to eat it at night which = poor lighting = bad pics. As for the taste, very sweet and artificial tasting. Chewy texture. The fiance and I agreed it did not taste like birthday cake. Edward thought it tasted more like, and I quote, “vanilla cardboard”. Would not buy again.
Nutrition (for entire package): 240 cal, 7g total fat (4g saturated), 170mg sodium, 25g total carbs (0g fiber, 5g sugars – 2g natural, 3G added), 20g protein
Chocolate Frosted donut: was most excited about this one. Sadly, it was a huge letdown. Did not taste like much of anything other than “protein”. Like the other flavors, was chewy. Also had a strong “protein” aftertaste. Would not purchase again.
Nutrition (for entire package): 250cal, 8g total fat (4.5g saturated), 170mg sodium, 25g total carbs (0g fiber, 4g sugar – 1g natural, 3G added), 20g protein
Overall: Would not purchase these again. I admit I’ve kind of stayed away from these in the past because they do all contain artificial colors and dyes and, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, those substances should be avoided completely because they have been linked to causing various reactions. The reactions have ranged from allergic reactions to cancer. For example, yellow 6 (one of the dyes used in the Optimum Nutrition cake bites) has been linked to causing tumors of the adrenal gland and kidneys. Red 40, another dye used in these cake bites, has been known to cause allergy-like reactions. And then there’s caramel color (another ingredient in these cake bites) which has been listed as a carcinogen under the State of California’s Environmental Protection Agency. And since dyes are typically added to foods with low nutritive value, they are typically something I avoid all together. I would rather just be safe than sorry, especially since we don’t know the full effect of food dyes yet. But having said all of that, I still wanted to review these bars for you.
So moving right along to the ThinkThin cake bites:
Chocolate cake flavor: excellent chocolate flavor and not overpoweringly sweet. A little bit of a “protein” aftertaste but nothing too extreme. slightly chewy texture. Overall, loved! Would definitely purchase again.
Nutrition (for entire package): 179 cal, 6g total fat (2.5g saturated), 90mg sodium, 17g total carbs (0g fiber, 1g sugar, 9g sugar alcohols), 12g protein
Birthday cake flavor: immediately gives off a strong bday cake scent. The flavor is a little too overpowering for me. Really sweet. This one has 11g from sugar alcohols which explains the sweetness. Same slightly chewy texture as the chocolate cake flavor. I like the texture but not a fan of this flavor. Would not purchase again.
Nutrition (for entire package): 170 cal, 5g total fat (2.5g saturated), 95mg sodium, 19g total carbs (0g fiber, 1g sugar, 11g sugar alcohols), 12g protein
Red velvet flavor: insanely sweet, artificial flavor. I do like the texture despite it being more of a fudgy texture than what I would consider a cake-y texture. I was only able to eat 1 at a time. The more I ate them the more the flavor grew on me but would likely not purchase again unless I shared them with somebody.
Nutrition (for entire package): 170 cal, 5g total fat (2.5g saturated), 85mg sodium, 20g total carbs (0g fiber, 1g sugar – 0g added, 12g sugar alcohol), 12g protein
Overall thoughts: Would not purchase the birthday cake flavor again but would definitely purchase the chocolate cake flavor. Think Thin also makes a red velvet cake bite flavor and after trying the other flavors, would definitely try the red velvet flavor. These cake bites try to go the more “natural route” with their colorings by using spirulina extract, red cabbage extract, turmeric extract, and radish extract which I appreciate. My bigger concern with these cake bites are 2 ingredients; chicory root fiber (i.e. inulin) and isomalto-oligosaccharide syrup. The latter is typically used as a bulking agent and substitute sweetener in protein bars and is also characterized as a soluble fiber and prebiotic for bacteria in the colon. Chicory root fiber is also considered a prebiotic that is often found in fiber supplements. I don’t necessarily have any beef with them separately and the Center for Science in the Public Interest has listed both of these ingredients as “safe”. But one thing to note is that they can both have a laxative effect if consumed in excess. There doesn’t seem to be a range to watch for with chicory root fiber but the FDA has issued a safety guideline of less than 30g per day for isomalto-oligosaccharides. Over time, however, your body can adjust to this ingredient. Although it isn’t listed in quantities on food wrappers, just be aware of its presence in the foods you are eating and keep those types of foods to a minimum so as not to cause yourself any GI upset.