SiS have been one of the key names in sports nutrition for over a decade, regularly producing functional supplements to boost performance or recovery. Then along came their Protein 20 bar with shiny new packaging and a range of flavours to delight even the pickiest of protein bar connoisseur. With a pretty impressive macronutrient breakdown too, what’s not to love about the SiS Protein 20 bar?
The eating experience
Double Chocolate Brownie
The first flavour I tried was, of course, Double Chocolate Brownie (I’m a chocoholic, don’t forget). I was charmed right from the very first bite, which is impressive because my standards have been elevated to their highest ever level after discovering the PHD Smart Bar.
Slightly flatter than the Smart Bar, but no less imposing, the Protein 20 bar is a sight to behold once you peel back the stylishly branded wrapper. It’s a bobbly mess of dark chocolate that’s just waiting to be bitten into and devoured. I did so and was blown away. The intense, bitterness of the dark chocolate coating blends with a delicious chocolate nougat core, surrounded by a gooey strip. Then the crispies kick in. Oh, you couldn’t make a bar to compete with the Smart Bar and not include crispies right? Well they didn’t, and it really does make a difference. It’s a chewy bar that sticks to your teeth ever-so-slightly, but no more so than peanut butter on toast (which, if you’re interested in protein bars, I’m assuming you’ve probably eaten at some point). All in all, the Double Chocolate Brownie Protein 20 bar couldn’t have been much better from a taste and texture perspective.
Chocolate Peanut Crunch
Delighted with the product, I bought the rest of the flavours in the range and set about reviewing them. Next up was Chocolate Peanut Crunch, which was equally as delicious. Surrounded by a jacket of milk chocolate, this one is like a protein-loaded, peanut-packed Toffee Crisp bar—which is no bad thing. Like it’s darker, chocolatier brother—it’s a chewy experience with a yummy nougat type core that sticks to your teeth. It’s slightly too sweet though, which is something I find in common with the Salted Fudge Brownie PHD Smart Bar—but it doesn’t go so far that it’s sickly. Enjoyed with a strong, black coffee, this was a formidable mid-morning snack that saw me through until lunchtime (before my days as an intermittent faster).
Last, but my no means the least enjoyable was Vanilla Cheesecake. Vanilla, quite unfairly, has become associated with being plain, or a little bland—not so in the Protein 20 bar. The creamy flavours of vanilla stab through the chewy, gooeyness of the bar and are an absolute delight. It’s a little lighter and fresher snack than the other two, but no less delicious. The format is still the same with a creamy, nougat core wrapped in tasty milk chocolate over tantalising crispy pieces. As with so many bars I’ve recently reviewed, I didn’t expect to like the vanilla flavour as much as I did—and ended up buying more of them!
It’s really hard to pick a favourite between all three flavours. I’d happily eat any one of them, but I guess I’d have to lean towards the Double Chocolate Brownie as my standout flavour. As a partially cured chocoholic I have impeccably high standards when it comes to anything chocolate flavoured—this bar loved up to them and was a delight to eat.
Nutritionally these bars are pretty damn good for what they are, an on-the-go protein snack. They have around the same split between the macros as their immediate competitors such as the PHD Smart Bar and Grenade’s Carb Killa. Some people might think they are a little heavy on the carb side with 20g, but that’s pretty normal for a bar like this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, snacks like this are a ‘healthier’ version of a treat or naughty snack. Something less unhealthy than buying a full-fat/sugar bar such as a Mars bar or Dairy Milk etc. If you really want high-protein and low-carb—buy a tin of tuna or some roast chicken!
Sadly, the label says that the Protein 20 bar isn’t suitable for vegetarians, vegans or people with lactose intolerance. The bars are tested by Informed Sport to certify that they don’t contain and banned substances. So, on the off-chance you’re a professional athlete of fortunate enough to be competing at a high-enough level to be drug tested—these bars are good to go for you!
Nutrition (Double Chocolate Brownie 55g)
What I loved
There’s a lot to love about the SiS Protein 20 bar, in my opinion they taste great and have a decent set of nutritional figures to justify biting into one. The eating experience is as good as any other protein bar readily available on the high street.
What I didn’t love
There’s very little I disliked. It’s a real shame SiS couldn’t have sourced ingredients which made these bars suitable for vegetarians. Understandably, they aren’t vegan friendly due to the dairy-sourced protein content, but I’d be interested to know which ingredient they used that prevents vegetarians from enjoying this delicious bar. Aside from that, my only criticism would be that there are currently just three flavours. However, considering they’re a new addition to SiS’s portfolio of sports nutrition, I’d expect to see that increased soon.
The last word
The protein bar market is becoming quite a crowded one and was previously dominated by Grenade’s highly regarded Carb Killa bar. The introduction of PHD’s Smart Bar gave consumers another high-quality, great tasting on-the-go protein snack to choose. Whilst there are other delicious bars available, I spent most of my time flipping between these two. SiS have blown that market wide open with their new protein bar. Having used their energy gels and hydration tablets for years, I was quite optimistic but didn’t really think they could hit such highs. They can, and they have. Kudos to SiS for creating a product which is both a pleasure to eat and nutritionally sound. I cannot wait to see if and when they release new flavours.