Product Review: CocoaVia Chocolate Bars

There is no doubt that chocolate, dark chocolate in particular, gives us a boost and provides other health benefits. The premise behind dark chocolate as ‘healthy’ is the benefit of a high level of antioxidants and flavanoids. The CocoaVia brand recently launched by Mars, Inc. offers a slew of these benefits by incorporating specific ingredients to create its CocoaVia bar and products.

Antioxidants work in the cells to eliminate waste and reduce toxic buildup; diets low in antioxidants will eventually lower your immune system and increase aging of cells. This makes your body less efficient, and your cells likely to age rapidly. Other high-antioxidant foods include blueberries, red wine, and green tea. Flavanoids have recently received press for their Natural occurring flavanols in plants are used in a variety of foods and as an additive that help health all around. CocoaVia’s website reports that: “There have been numerous studies conducted with cocoa flavanol containing foods that have shown positive effects on blood pressure, enhanced flexibility of blood vessels, insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, as well as platelet function.”

CocoaVia is a new line of ‘science-based’ chocolate that promotes the health and supreme benefits of chocolate. Reportedly very high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, the Cocoa Via line is a top choice for the health-conscious consumer. A taste test rightfully ensued after I came across this brand of chocolate at the grocery store. With my chocolate ‘antennae’ always on high alert, it didn’t take me long to discover this nicely packaged brand amongst the dark chocolate and energy bar aisles.

CocoaVia offers chocolate bars, snack bars, and chocolate-covered almonds. The heart healthy approach is promoted right on the enticing box, and each bar is a little different in structure than the average candy bar. With a long, finger-like piece of chocolate satisfaction each bar only comes in at 90-100 calories per serving depending on the type. Flavors available include Original Chocolate, Crispy Chocolate, and Blueberry & Almond Chocolate. The CocoaVia website also reports that the “Heart Healthy Snacks are an excellent source of calcium and a good source of folic acid, vitamins, B6, B12, and antioxidant vitamins C and E.”

Sounds like a healthy adventure to me; the addition of blueberries and almonds is an effort to further prolong ht effects of antioxidants, as these are both highly nutritious additions. Soy protein is the standard for the Crispy Chocolate flavor, and helps to provide a little extra protein.

As far as taste, these bars are very tasty and can offer extra benefits on top of taking care of you chocolate craving of the day. I enjoyed the Original Chocolate the most, as it had a full flavor. I’m not a huge fan of additions to pure and classic food, so the Original Chocolate was my top choice. However, the Crispy Chocolate came in second as it offered a little crunch and variety. The Blueberry & Almond wasn’t too exciting; I prefer not to mix chocolate and fruit (except strawberries; that’s an entirely different review!).

Recently, the FDA has been investigating the brand as it questions whether the healthy claims are in fact, valid enough to justify the high saturated fat content. Even if they are, the FDA is questioning whether the CocoaVia brand should be marketed as a drug, and will need to go through the required pre-market approval process. This would turn it into a health-food/vitamin item, and not necessarily available in the chocolate aisle. Since the debate is in progress, it will be interesting to see what the results bring forward.

Overall, CocoaVia chocolate is a great choice for an alternative route to the chocolate-induced endorphin rush. The flavor is strong, tasty, and satisfying; the mere 100 calorie average per bar makes it an effective choice for your diet, and the high levels of antioxidants and flavanols only further promote its goodness!

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