I was checking out at a local convenience store when, my eyes caught a glimpse of Chef Robert Irving's Fit Crunch Bar. While I didn't know who chef Robert Irving was (I live under a rock), the word “Fit” caught my attention as did the fact that this bar contained whey protein and was “baked.” So I became curious and purchased it for this review. Is the Fit Crunch bar healthy? Would it be good for someone who wants to stay fit and healthy? Let's look at the ingredients and see what we can discover. See the Gatorade Way Protein Bar review for more insights.
Fit Crunch Protein Bar Nutrition Information
According to the label of the product I purchased (Peanut Butter flavor), each Fit Crunch Bar (88 grams) has 388 calories. Of those, 140 calories come from fat. Here is a breakdown of the nutrition information in each bar:
|Nutrient||Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Total Fat||16 grams||25% DV|
|Saturated Fat||8 grams||40% DV|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||2 grams|
|Monounsaturated Fat||6 grams|
|Trans Fat||0 grams|
|Cholesterol||30 milligrams||10% DV|
|Sodium||490 milligrams||20% DV|
|Potassium||100 milligrams||2% DV|
|Total Carbohydrate||27 grams||9% DV|
|Dietary Fiber||2 grams||8% DV|
|Sugar Alcohols||16 grams|
|Vitamin A||8% DV|
|Vitamin C||2% DV|
In the table above, where you don't see a percent daily value (empty box), it means no percent DV has been established.
So what does this table tell us? Here is a quick summary of what I noticed:
1. The Fit Crunch bar has a lot of calories
The Fit Crunch protein bar has 388 calories in just 3 oz (88 grams). That is a lot. Mind you, that's not necessarily a bad thing. It just depends on who you are. For someone who works out a lot (more than 1 hour a day, every day), extra calories can make a positive difference in the gym or on the playing field.
For the person who is on the run occasionally, I could overlook this also. But, for those who sit at a desk 8 hours a day and do minimal exercise activities, there are much better options available.
2. The Fit Crunch bar is high in fat
We know this because each bar has 388 calories and of those, 140 calories come from fat. If we do a little bit of math (140 ÷ 388), we discover that the Fit bar gets 36% of its calories from fat.
The Nutrition Label also tells us it's high in fat too. If you look at the table above (or the bar itself if you have one with you) and look at “Total Fat,” you can see it has 16 grams of fat. Just to the right of that, you also see that those 16 grams, contribute 25% of your daily value for fat.
The Daily Value represents the amount of a nutrient you are are allowed to consume per day. According to the FDA, anything that is at least 20% is considered “high” in that nutrient. Since the Fit Crunch Bar comes in at 25%, it's also considered a “high fat” product.
3. The Fit Crunch Bar is high in saturated fat
From the nutrition label above, we see that each protein bar contains 8 grams of saturated fat. Remember that whenever you see “20% or more” in the Daily Value column, it means “high.” The Fit Crunch Bar provides a whopping 40% of our daily value for fat. This means it's high in saturated fat.
4. The Fit Crunch Bar is high in sodium
From the nutrition label, we see that this protein bar provides 490 mg of sodium and this represents 20% of the amount of sodium we should be aiming for per day. Anything that is 20% or more is “high” so the Fit Crunch Bar is high in sodium too.
While athletes might benefit from some extra sodium, the facts are clear that most people in the US (and likely other developed countries too) eat too much sodium already. As I pointed out in my review of how to lower blood pressure naturally, sodium is in a LOT of foods you probably already eat.
Sure, athletes might need more sodium (to offset what they lose in sweat) but if you are not working out for a few hours a day in the heat, odds are you already eat too much sodium.
Most people eat too much sodium and not enough foods that have potassium.
5. The Fit Crunch Bar is low in potassium
The nutrition label above tells us that each bar only has 100 mg of potassium. That gives us only 2% of what we should be getting per day. This lack of potassium in the diet is such a problem, that when the new Food Label rolls out in the US, potassium will be listed. It is that important to being healthy. Most people should aim for 4700 mg of potassium per day. Most people don't get this much.
A lot of fitness-people are concerned with nitric oxide (NO) which causes vasodilation (opening up) of blood vessels. Potassium causes vasodilation by increasing nitric oxide release. That is one way the potassium helps our blood vessels and blood pressure stay healthy.
To be fair, most fitness and protein bars I see don't have much potassium.
How Much Protein?
Each Fit Crunch bar provides 30 grams of protein. That's a good amount. The protein comes from a combination of whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. This forms what is called a “FortiFX” proprietary blend. The word “FortiFX” is a trademarked word that is owned by Perich Investments LLC. That means little to most people. I provide it for those who might be interested.
The Fit Crunch Bar also contains soy protein isolate as well although not as much as whey. See the ingredients list below.
Fit Crunch Protein Bar Ingredients
Here are the ingredients in order as they appeared on the product I purchased:
|Whey Protein Isolate||Whey Protein Concentrate||Soy Protein Isolate|
|Palm Oil||Vegetable Glycerin||Sugar|
|Brown Rice Flower||Maltitol||Water|
|Corn Syrup||Cocoa (processed with Alkali)||Salt|
|Sodium Caseinate||Propylene Glycol Monoesters||Soy Lecithin|
|Natural Flavors||Tapioca Stearch||Sucralose|
|Acetylated Monoglycerides||Mono and Diblycerides||Natural Tocopherols|
|Beta Carotene||Vitamin A Palmitate||Citric Acid|
|Whey||Potassium Sorbate||Silicon Dioxide|
Read the table from left to right. Ingredients listed first are present the most. Those at the bottom of the table are present the least. For example, since baking soda is the last ingredient, it's present in the least amount.
As can be seen, soy protein isolate is the 3rd ingredient in the list. While that means it's present prominently, how much soy makes up the 30 grams or protein in the bar, I can't say.
I don't mention soy to disparage it. While I know soy has its detractors, I'll point out that at least one study noted that while both soy and whey produced similar gains in muscle mass, soy appeared better at maintaining antioxidant levels.
What Are The Sweeteners?
From the ingredients list above, it looks like the sweeteners in the bar may come primarily from the following ingredients, which I list in order, as they appear on the label:
- Corn syrup
- Natural flavors (maybe. It depends on what these are)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
What About Allergies?
The ingredients list table above also tells us that the product “contains milk, soy, peanut and almond products and that it was “manufactured in a plant that processes milk, soy, whey, tree nut, peanut and egg products.
Fit Crunch vs. Fit Elite
Chef Robert Irving also has a “Fit Elite” protein bar too. From what I can see, the Fit Elite Bar tends to have fewer calories and fat than the Fit Crunch Bar. Here's a quick summary of how they compare to each other:
|Fit Crunch Bar. 1 Bar (88g) Peanut butter||Fit Elite Bar. 1 bar (60g) Birthday cake|
|Fat||16g (25%DV)||5g (8%DV)|
|Saturated Fat||8g (40%DV)||2g (10%DV)|
|Sodium||490mg (20%DV)||250mg (10%DV)|
|Fiber||2g (8%DV)||15g (60%DV)|
As can be seen the Fit Elite bar has significantly fewer calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium than the Fit Crunch bar. It's a better choice as I see it.
See the Protein Bar Comparison Review for more on many other protein bars.
Who Makes The Fit Crunch Bar?
The product label tells us that the protein bar is “carefully manufactured by Bakery Barn for Pervine Foods LLC.” Bakery Barn (Bakery-Barn.com) is located at 111 Terence Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15236 USA. The Bakery Barn website was registered in 2000 by Sean Perich. Chef Robert Irvine's name also is on the label. Therefore, it's possible the company name Per-vine is a combination of last names Mr. Perich and Mr. Irvine.
As a side note – basically trivia at this point – in 2015 Nestle, the maker of the Nestle Crunch Bar sued Pervine Foods because they said the labels of both items looked similar. Nestle alleged people would confuse the Fit Crunch Bar for the Nestle Crunch Bar. That sounds frivolous to me. I don't think the wrappers look anything like each other, but that's my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.
How Does It Taste?
The Fit Crunch protein bar is crunchy on the outside and had a dry taste on the inside. Overall, I really wasn't wow'd by the taste. It didn't taste bad, although I didn't think it tasted good either. Except for the crunch, I thought it tasted kind of bland. Taste is a personal thing and I respect those who feel differently.
Fit Crunch Bar Side Effects
I think the only people who might have immediate side effects would be those who have allergies to the ingredients mentioned above in the Allergies Section. For people watching their weight, eating too many Fit Crunch bars, without limiting other calories and/or exercise could lead to weight gain. Remember this bar is marked to people who are “fit” and that implies those who work out a lot. The fat content could temporarily raise cholesterol and triglyceride levels which may be an issue for some people.
Is The Fit Crunch Bar Healthy?
It's my opinion that most protein bars that make claims about how much protein they have, often contain higher amounts of fat and saturated fat. That is what I've seen before although I'm sure there are exceptions to that rule. While my guess is that most people probably get more than enough protein already, if you think you need more, then the Fit Crunch Bar might suite your needs – once in a while. I don't feel this is a good bar to eat on a regular basis because it's high in calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium, all of which are things most people already eat too much of. The Fit Bar Elite is probably a better choice for most people.
Here is the Fit Crunch Bar on Amazon if you want to see what others are saying about it.