Wendyl Wants To Know

Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl Nissen: Quick fix protein bar hides sugar ambush

Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label says about its contents.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Horleys Protein 33 chocolate fudge flavour
$4.09 for 60g bar

Everyone knows that when you go to the gym and work out you need to refuel. Which is where products like this come into play. A handy bar you can stash in your gym bag or car for a quick protein hit.

The idea behind eating something protein-rich is that it will help rebuild muscles which have been broken down during exercise. Carbohydrates are also necessary to replace energy. This product is promoted as a protein energy bar which is "convenient nutrition for your active body".

Click here to read Wendyl's columns on other food products.


Protein blend

*Soy protein isolate: This is made from soy flour which is processed to remove most of the non-protein parts of it including fats and carbohydrates. So you are left with a very high protein content. Some people object to the processing of a real food to create something so protein-rich but this is a very common additive in many foods to increase protein levels.

*Calcium caseinate: This is another high protein food source taken from casein in milk.

*Whey protein isolate: Whey is a byproduct of cheese making and contains milk protein. This is similar to soy protein isolate as the protein is filtered out getting rid of lactose, carbohydrates, fats and cholesterol.


(contains preservative 220) This is essentially sugar, but unusually has the preservative sulphur dioxide in it. I haven't come across this before with glucose. Sulphur dioxide may cause allergic reactions in those sensitive to sulphur. It is more common in soft drinks, dried fruits, wine and vinegar.

Milk Chocolate

(sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, milk powder, emulisifers (soy lecithin, 492,476), flavour) These ingredients are standard for a chocolate product. Emulsifier 492 is sorbitan tristearate and 476 is polyglycerol polyricinoleate. Neither have any health issues attached. The flavour will be artificial.


This is a natural sugar syrup which is useful in bars like these as a humectant which helps keep products moist.


Nice to see honey used here as an alternative to sugar as it has some nutritional benefits.


This will be to add extra chocolate flavour.

Apple juice concentrate

This will be in here as a flavour but also to provide a sweet taste without having to use sugar.


This is another form of sugar.

Emulsifier (soy lecithin)

Soy lecithin is a natural substance often used to help with the texture of processed foods and help oil and water stay mixed together.


This will be an artificial flavour or flavours.


This product is quite high in salt with the sodium level coming in at 100mg per 60g serve. Ideal daily consumption is between 900mg and 1600mg per day.

My recommendations:

This bar is high in protein at 20g per serve and carbohydrate at 27.4 g per serve so this is providing fuel for someone after intense exercise. But there is also 23.1g of sugar or the equivalent of 5.5 teaspoons per bar even though sugar is never mentioned as an ingredient. Most of the sugar will be hidden in the apple juice concentrate, honey and glucose I suspect. It is also quite high in salt and uses artificial flavours.

I know that this bar is handy to have around for busy people who should be rewarded for finding time in their day to exercise but I'm a real food advocate and believe our bodies process real, unadulterated food items more efficiently.

For real food post-workout meals why not try:

*85g tinned tuna in a sandwich will give you 22g protein.

*Three boiled eggs will give you 19g protein but this is not a low-fat option.

*500ml low fat chocolate milk will give you about 17g protein. A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that chocolate milk may be the ideal post workout drink for building muscle.

*1.5 cups plain unsweetened yoghurt will give you 21g protein.


*High in protein and carb for after work out snack.

*Equivalent of 5.5 teaspoons of sugar per bar.

*Uses artificial flavours.

Do you have a food product you would like to feature?

Email wendylwantstoknow@gmail.com with suggestions. Unfortunately, Wendyl cannot correspond with readers.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2015, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 02 Dec 2015 16:46:26 Processing Time: 458ms