CocoaVia Original Chocolate Bars

CocoaVia Original Chocolate Bars

CocoaVia is a line of heart-healthy chocolate snacks produced by Mars, Inc. – a company best known for its other candy products: M & Ms, Snickers, Three Musketeers and Twix, to name but a few. To make CocoaVia, Mars uses a patented proprietary process, “Cocoapro®,” to preserve naturally-occurring cocoa flavanols, then adds soy sterols, vitamins and calcium to produce value-added treats that help “reduce bad cholesterol” and “promote healthy circulation.”

Manufacturer’s Description: CocoaVia® Brand Heart Healthy Original Chocolate Bars contain natural plant extracts that have been proven to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL). CocoaVia® is made using the Cocoapro® process. This guarantees the retention of high levels of naturally occurring cocoa flavanols which help promote healthy circulation. These cocoa flavanols are similar to those flavanols found in red wine and green tea. Each 22-gram bar of CocoaVia® Original Chocolate contains 100 mg flavanols and 1.1 grams of natural plant extracts. CocoaVia® Original Chocolate Bars are an excellent source of calcium and a good source of folic acid, vitamins B6, B12 and antioxidant vitamins C and E and are a nutritionally responsible 100 calories per serving.

Product Label:

Serving Size: 1 Bar 22g
Calories 100
Calories from Fat 60
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 3.5 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 9 g
Protein: 1g
Vitamin A < 2%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 25%
Iron 4%
Vitamin E 20%
Vitamin B6 15%
Folic Acid 15%
Vitamin B12 15%
Ingredients: SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE (CHOCOLATE, SUGAR, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL FLAVOR), SOY STEROL ESTERS, VITAMINS AND MINERALS (CALCIUM CARBONATE, ASCORBIC ACID, VITAMIN E ACETATE, CYANOCOBALAMIN, FOLIC ACID, PYRIDOXINE HCL).

Comments: Unlike many functional foods, CocoaVia has some specific scientific backing – not just for individual ingredients, but for the finished consumer products. Study subjects consuming 2 CocoaVia bars/day in conjunction with an American Heart Association-style diet, experienced modest reductions in total and LDL cholesterol, as well as blood pressure. The results weren’t earth-shattering, but every little bit helps.

They’re rather tasty too…although very dark, high cocoa chocolate may be an acquired taste for some, it has a rich, intense flavor that’s far more interesting than milk chocolate. CocoaVia is only moderately sweet, and has a smooth texture and slightly smoky, deep cocoa flavor that’s rather intriguing. It may not be quite in the “gourmet” category, but pretty good, nonetheless.

Each bar contains only 6 g of fat and 9 g of sugar, so as “guilty pleasures” go, at 100 calories per bar, this one isn’t too bad. Unfortunately, the study subjects consumed two per day: an amount that’s probably a luxury many dieters can’t afford to indulge in on a regular basis. Let’s not kid ourselves here: if you’re on restricted cals, there are better things to eat for “health” reasons. CocoaVia bars may be “value added” candy, but they’re still candy.

Likewise, the price may also keep them in the “luxury” category…a box of 5 small bars (approximately 3 – 5 bites, depending on how you eat your chocolate) cost $5.49 at my local Albertson’s. They’re a bit cheaper online ($4.99), but not by much. Even if you’re not restricting calories, eating the recommended two bars per day would add approx. $15.00 US to your weekly grocery bill.

There are, of course, less expensive/more nutritious ways to consume plant sterols if you’re trying to reduce your cholesterol (such as fortified non-fat milk), but CocoaVia is a pleasant way to go about it, at least now and again – especially as the bars are also a decent source of flavanols, similar to red wine and green tea. If you’re gonna eat sweets on occasion, they might as well have something to offer besides fat and sugar.

Taste: (5.0 / 5)
Quality: (5.0 / 5)
Efficacy: (3.5 / 5)
Value: (3.0 / 5)
Average: (4.1 / 5)

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

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