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I tried to follow the Atkins diet around about this time last year. I am not vastly overweight but I am very tall and if I carry any extra weight at all it makes me feel very clumsy and bulky. Any weight I do put on goes immediately to my tummy which can look really distended and swollen. Over the years I've watched my weight steadily creep up and I fid I always keep saying that I'll started the diet tomorrow. I am full of good intentions but it just doesn't seem to happen for some reason. Whilst on the Atkins diet (and it wasn't for very long) I was eating a few of their 'recommended' snack and meal replacement bars. I bought the Advantage Choc decadence on a few occasions as it was one of the better tasting bars and it also filled me up the longest. I used these bars simply as a meal replacement whilst I was at work and they also satisfied my (daily) craving for something really sweet and chocolately. The bars were 60g in size and cost about £1.55 when I used to get them from my local Boots. I love dark chocolate and so as these bars were actually dipped in the stuff, it was the perfect sweet treat for me. Atkins actually managed to make these bars so that they tasted just like a real chocolate tasty treat but they were exceptionally low in carbs at the same time (only 2.1g net) and each bar contained 232 calories. Some days I ate two of these and yes, I did lose weight. The bar was sweet, but not too sweet. It tasted rich and luxurious and underneath the thick chocolate coating there was a delicious fudge centre which melted in the mouth. On the top of the chocolate they drizzled a scrumptious caramel drizzle. I used to really enjoy one of these with a black coffee and they filled me up really well. They worked brilliantly as a meal replacement and that used to really surprise me as they actually didn't look very big once they were out of the wrapper. The ingredients of these bars are: Chocolate With Sweetner (20%) (Cocoa Mass, Sweetener (Maltitol), Cocoa Butter, Emulsifier (Lecithin), Vanilla), Glycerine, Gelatin Hydrolysate, Polydextrose, Soy Protein (10%), Non-hydrogenated Vegetable Fat, Coco Mass, Whey Protein, Low Fat Cocoa, Vitamin and Mineral Blend, Emulsifier (Lecithin), Flavourings, Sweetener (Sucralose), Colour (Carmine). I've eaten a lot of meal replacement bars in my lifetime and most of them are not very filling or satisfying and clearly taste like a 'diet' bar. The Atkins Advantage Choc decadence bars were very different in that they actually tasted like 'real' chocolate bars, and as such, it didn't feel like I was depriving myself. They were so tasty and moreish and I definitely recommend them whether you are actually on the Atkins diet or not. I still have the occasional bar now even though I'm not strictly on the Atkins diet and just use the odd one as a meal replacement when I feel like I need to lose a few pounds. I highly recommend them. Also posted on Ciao! as basketofbuttons
They say man cannot live by bread alone, and maybe man can't, but I certainly could. Imagine - some yummy crumpets smothered in peanut butter for breakfast, a cheese toastie for lunch, maybe a garlic baguette with your dinner. My food fetishes may come and go but one thing that is a constant wherever I am in the world and whatever mood I am in is bread, closely followed by pasta. And cake. I have been called the Anti-Atkins, such is my love for all things carb related, so it may seem odd that I am reviewing this product, but bear with me. I had some Boots vouchers from doing a survey, and decided to spend them on a treat. Browsing the food section, I came across their 'diet aids' shelf and noticed all Atkins products were on 3-for-2. What's better than something free? Three free things, of course. I stocked up and was pleased to see they had 3 different varieties available, so got one of each. Atkins Advantage bars are "suitable for all phases of the Atkins diet", but equally, you don't have to be a fan of the Doc to have one. I was more interested in them for their high protein than low net card claims, which is just as well, really: having read the back I see this bar has 16g protein but 19g carbs too. Huh? Were I watching my carbs, I would be somewhat miffed. They get around this by working on net carbs (the ones that allegedly affect your blood sugar least) and have calculated a bar has only 2.1g net carbs. They fail to mention the fat - a whopping 13g per bar - but then it is 20% chocolate. That's only 4/5 less chocolate than I like my chocolate to be. To call this flavour Chocolate Decadence is stretching it a bit. If I'm thinking of decadent, luxurious chocolate I'm thinking Lindt, Thorntons, even Galaxy. I am not, as Arthur Dent might have put it, imagining something almost, but not entirely, unlike chocolate. I should be fair, though. This bar has a few things going for it. It is weighty - 60g of solid lump, in fact - and since it doesn't really resemble chocolate, and doesn't melt in the way the good stuff does, can be dragged out to last a decent length of time. My record is an hour, but that is about 58 minutes longer than any other chocolate concoction, so it's pretty significant. They are not so much "melt in your mouth" as they are "generally go a bit sticky and tar-like" but if you suck on little bits the stickiness is lessened and you get a deeper flavour for a longer time. The bar really doesn't taste bad - it is nice and chewy and has a sort of burnt toffee flavour to it. It looks like a solid dark chocolate bar, but the texture is softer, almost rubbery. The bar is not at all powdery - unless you're a big fan of protein bars you might think this is a strange statement to make, but trust me, it isn't a given. At the same time, it tastes faker than some alternatives on the market. This is surprising given the relatively short list of ingredients in it, and the fact that they're not all entirely unrecognisable chemical concoctions (cocoa butter and cocoa powder both feature, as does cocoa mass). It's also a bit bland - I don't finish one of these and immediately think I need to restock my cupboard, but it's not altogether unpleasant, and I have had this one flavour several times now. Something about it just makes me want to drink glasses of water while I'm chewing my way through one of these bars. There's no suggestion to do this on the packet, but it's probably a good thing as you need to be well hydrated when upping your protein. The packet does tell me that excessive consumption may cause a laxative effect but I wonder who ever ate enough of these in one go for them to work this out. This bar is a bit of a strange one in terms of its nutrition. The masses of protein is good (almost a third of your daily requirements - so enough for one meal if you split the target up evenly through the day), and it also contains a whopping 13g fibre which takes you some way towards you minimum recommended 18g per day in just one bar. The two combined really help to fill me up - I recently paired one of these bars with yogurt and fruit for breakfast, and though the calories were lower than I normally go for, I lasted right through until lunch without getting hungry. However, unlike some brands, these Atkins bars are not fortified with vitamins or minerals, and they're pretty high in fat too. At just under £2 a bar, they're not cheap, but when on offer they're not too bad a deal as you can use them as a meal replacement. I've often seen them in Tesco being sold off when just a few are left and they seem to want the space for something else. It's not a date thing as these last a suspiciously long length of time (nearly 18 months in some cases), but when they do go down to half price of less, I sometimes stock up. I like these bars, but prefer the Orange and Brownie ones in the range, though they can be harder to find. I wouldn't want to have one of these every day or even every week, but for a now-and-then change to porridge, they do let me feel less guilty about having 'chocolate' for breakfast. Plus points for the nutrition, minus points for the price, and a bit in the middle for flavour. If these were on a school report, they'd get a C for average, with a 'could do better', but it's still a passing grade.