Sure, food makers profess all sorts of things about the wonders and magical powers of their foods. This is especially true when it comes to fitness-related products like protein powders, supplements and protein bars and snacks.
Build muscle! More protein! Low-fat! Boost your metabolism! Gain energy with one serving!
Mmmmm hmmmmm, suuuuure.
So when the folks at Lenny & Larry's, a California-based company, offered to send me samples of their "Muscle Brownie" and "The Complete Cookie," I said sure, I'll check it out and let the Badass Army know what I think.
They sent me a box with three Muscle Brownies - Triple Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Cookies & Cream - and one sample of "The Complete Cookie," a large chocolate chip cookie with a label that boasts "All Natural."
The Muscle Brownies immediately gave me pause because of the tagline: "Eat Brownies, Get Muscles!" As much as I - and my sweet tooth - wish that were the case, it simply isn't. Certainly not with a brownie that, when eaten in its package entirety, is 340 calories with 12 grams of sugar. Yes, a brownie has 20 gram of protein. But they also have that sugar and a list of ingredients including "natural butter flavor" (I have no idea...), brown sugar, corn syrup (hello, more sugar!), and "marshmallow flavored pieces."
My verdict: A 6 out of 10 on the Badass scale. Here's why:
- The brownies and the cookie are free of trans fats.
- The cookie is vegan, a good option for those who don't eat animal products or their dairy byproducts.
- The cookie has a healthy 5 grams of fiber per serving, or 10 grams per cookie.
- The cookie is free of preservatives.
- It's chocolate! And when you're craving a brownie, you ARE better off eating one of these than a regular brownie, which probably will have even more sugar and certainly less protein. So having a Muscle Brownie on hand for cravings emergencies isn't the worst strategy.
- They taste good! The Muscle Brownies beat the Cookie for taste. And I will admit I really really liked the brownie after warming it for a few seconds in the microwave. Like I said, it's a decent dessert option!
- Misleading labels: The brownie and cookie labels boast of their protein ("20 grams" for the brownie," "15 grams" for the cookie), but that count is based on eating the entire package. Yet they are...
- High in caloriers: For the brownies and the cookie, when you read carefully you see that there are actually two servings per container. And those servings, added up, equal a hefty 340 calories for the brownie and a whopping 408 for the cookie. You could eat one chicken breast for about 250 calories and 46 grams of protein.
- Long shelf life = processed: The Muscle Brownies' product information includes, in fine print, the fact that they have a shelf life of 12 months. Unprocessed foods, real foods, like fruit and vegetables and meat and dairy, go bad or rotten before long. Our bodies like these things for fuel, because they recognize them. Yep, just as they have since the days of cavemen. But all of these made-in-a-factory, processed Frankenfoods? Our bodies don't process them so well.
So there you have it, a product review. And now you know what I might just turn to when I really want a brownie but REALLY don't want it to land on my Badass.
Coming this weekend: Pics from the SCW Mania fitness conference in Atlanta, where I'll be spending three days learning all sorts of new fitness tips and hanging with the Real Ryder crew. And Monday, I'll kick off a week of post-conference blogs to share what I learned!