Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: GNC Pro Performance Deluxe Oatmeal Protein Bar Chocolate Chip

There are protein bars and then there are protein bricks. The Pro Performance Deluxe bars from GNC fall into the latter category. Seriously, you could build a house out of these things and no matter who huffed and puffed it wouldn’t blow down.

OK, that was a pretty stupid opening paragraph...but after so many reviews you start to run out of inspiration. And this Pro Performance Deluxe Chocolate Chip bar really it like a brick--it’s a rectangle, it’s tall, and it’s heavy.

It’s also very pretty with that nice chocolate drizzle on top!

You can see a couple of chocolate chips in inside, so all systems are go as far as containing the requisite parts.

Being an oatmeal-based bar with 30 grams of protein, I know it won’t actually taste like a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Still, it has a bit too much of a funky taste to make a passable imitation. You’ll definitely be acutely aware that you’re eating protein the whole time, there’s no way around it; it’s like like the Peanut Butter Caramel version. I think it’s a bland plain-oatmeal background taste, but I can’t be sure; the protein is probably also contributing. The icing and chocolate chips do add a chocolate component, but not quite enough to satisfy my chocolate cravings. :)

The texture is interesting--it’s solid to bite into, but softens up and kind of expands in your mouth and it really does feel like a chewy cookie after you start chewing. If you get past the initial resistance, the overall experience is pleasant, although it still has a subtle oatmeal texture. It’s not quite soft enough to pass for a real chocolate chip cookie, but it’s close. The chocolate chips add a crunch factor, which is a nice contrast.

As with anything microwaveable, I had to try heating this up. As the wrapper instructed, I stuck it in for 10 seconds (it was only about half the bar), and it did soften up a bit around the edges. The middle was still cool, although the chocolate drizzle was starting to melt and I ended up licking quite a bit of it off my fingers. The funky taste was not as obvious but still there; it was a little more like a cookie, but I’d say nuke it for longer and bear the drizzle-mess consequences. It even enhances the experience a bit for you just-out-of-the-oven aficionados. ;)

Overall, it wasn’t inedible, but I probably won’t try it again. I tend to eat these monster things as dessert-ish meals, and this just doesn’t pass the dessert-level threshold. I’d say stick with the Glazed Cinnamon Roll flavor.

Taste: 6--definitely a chocolate component, but the base it funky with a protein/bland oatmeal taste. Slightly better heated up.
Texture: 8--chewy with some  initial resistance and a slight oatmeal texture.
Health: 8--lots of protein...a little high-calorie for some people. I’d use it as a dessert replacement, but it doesn’t pass the taste criteria.
Eat Again? No.

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