Product Snapshot: Well Naturally, No Sugar Added, Cereal Bars

Written by Guest reviewer on Wednesday, 06 January 2016.
Tagged: fibre, healthy eating, healthy snacks, Product snapshot, review, snacks, sugar

Product Snapshot: Well Naturally, No Sugar Added, Cereal Bars

There’s a sugar-free craze sweeping the diet world at the moment, and while most of it is just faddish there have been some new, and hopefully better, products to come out of it! Let’s take a look at these No Sugar Added bars to see how they stack up and also find out what they are sweetened with instead.

Three varieties

There are three varieties of the No Sugar Added Cereal Bars: one based on nuts and seeds (Almond, Sesame Seed, Linseed), one based on just nuts (Peanut, Puffed Quinoa, Almond) and one based on fruit and seeds (Currant, Pepita Seed, Sunflower). I tried all three and was pleased with the amount of actual nuts, seeds and dried fruit in these bars. They were a good size, nice and chewy and with a great nutritional profile.

Well Naturally No Sugar Added Bars Open closeup

The taste

I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of these bars as they weren’t overly sweet. You would think that’s something you’d expect from ‘No Sugar Added’ bars but the truth is many products claiming to be sugar-free are so full of sugar alternatives they end up being just as sweet, if not sweeter! These bars are moderately sweetened with Stevia, a natural kilojoule (Calorie) free sweetener, which Catherine has written about here.

Two uncommon ingredients

Two other main ingredients are polydextrose and chicory extract. What are these you might ask? Polydextrose is a humectant and type of fibre used to prevent the bars from drying out as well as adding the bulk and texture of sugar without the sweetness. It’s perfectly safe for consumption but provides no nutritive benefits besides adding fibre (and you might note that it’s the first ingredient in the Currant bars). Chicory extract is a natural starchy carbohydrate, which also helps to invisibly boost the fibre content.

Pros

  • Nice and chewy
  • The peanut bar was my favourite as you could really taste the peanuts and it had a nice overall flavour
  • Convenient to transport like all cereal bars
  • The almond and peanut bars are not overly sweet, which is a refreshing change from many other bars out there, but thanks to the dried fruit in the currant bar it has a more recognisably sweet taste
  • Excellent source of fibre with each bar containing approximately 10g (30-40% of your recommended daily fibre intake)
  • There is no added sugar in the bars and negligible natural sugars, instead sweetened with Stevia
  • All 3 bars contain less than 600kJ (143Cal) which makes them the ideal snack size
  • Wheat and gluten free so great news for anyone with an intolerance to either of these

Well Naturally No Sugar Added Bars Open

Cons

  • The Stevia gives a slight liquorice aftertaste which isn’t overly pleasant
  • Most of the fibre is coming from the polydextrose and chicory extract, which if consumed in large quantities can cause gastrointestinal upsets
  • The almond bar is a little plain, especially as it is the least sweet of the three, and these bars probably wouldn’t pass a kid test, being that they’re nowhere near as sweet as most other bars
  • As all three of the bars contain nuts (even the currant one has cashews) they’re probably off limits for school lunch boxes.
  • Not for those with nut allergies

Ingredients:

(From Ingredient List on back)

Almond, Sesame Seed, Linseed: Nuts 28% (almonds 9.3%, peanuts, cashews), polydextrose, seeds 23% (sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds 2%, linseeds 2%), chicory extract, brown rice crisps (rice flour, rice bran), sunflower oil, puffed quinoa, natural flavour, cinnamon, rosemary extract, stevia (natural sweetener).
Peanut, Puffed Quinoa, Almond: Nuts 50% (peanuts 19%, cashews, almonds 12%), polydextrose, brown rice crisps (rice flour, rice bran), chicory extract, puffed quinoa 2.3%, sunflower oil, natural flavour, rosemary extract, stevia (natural sweetener).
Currant, Pepita Seed, Sunflower: Polydextrose, seeds 20% (sunflower kernels 9%, pumpkin seeds 9%, linseeds), fruits 15% (currants 7.5%, sultanas), chicory extract, cashews, brown rice crisps (rice flour, rice bran), sunflower oil, puffed quinoa, natural flavour, cinnamon, rosemary extract, stevia (natural sweetener).

My verdict?

I like the premise of these bars, they don’t have any added sugar, are very high in fibre and the perfect size for a snack (plus not too sweet!). Instead of sugar they contain stevia, which gives a bit of an unpleasant aftertaste, and polydextrose, to replace the bulk. I would have loved to have seen these bars have no added sugars OR sweeteners, but I don’t think that taste would sell!

Thanks to Guest Reviewer - Megan Cameron-Lee, APD