In my quest for ‘marginal gains’ that don’t include spending thousands on the latest “teflon coated, ceramic bearing”, this year I have made a concerted effort to ensure that what I eat is far more optimal for my body.
I hope the results of this fairly small and relatively cheap change in my life will bear fruit in a number of key ways: Firstly I hope it will help me get to and then maintain my weight at my optimal race level, secondly it will fuel me for my training and racing and then lastly and probably most importantly I hope it will allow my body and muscles to recover quicker, which in turn will help me train harder and more effectively.
This is where protein really comes into it’s own as it basically supplies your body with what it needs to repair and rebuild your muscles and thus hopefully with my improved and more structured training regime, it will make them and thus me more efficient and stronger over this season and on into the next. So it stands to reason that as a cyclist and indeed any endurance athlete, we require more protein than the average person in the street.
One area where I know I can really improve on is my ‘bad’ habit of snacking on the couch after dinner.Yes, I could try and completely stop it. But to be honest it is something that I really look forward to and I have tried this method before and whilst it lasts a short time, I eventually slip back into snacking on whatever I can find in the fridge or cupboard.
So instead instead of trying to completely stop it, I have decided to try and restrict my self with a sensible level of “portion control” and then instead of ice cream, crisps and sweets, I will be snaking on food that not only tastes good, but offers a benefit to my body.
High Protein Snacking
The first two high protein snacks that I have reviewed in this quest have been meat based savoury ones (Biltong & Fori Bars), both of which I really do like and which I honestly believe that offer substantial helth benefits when eaten in moderation and combined with a healthy overal diet.
However, I do have a sweet tooth and I still crave the sweets, ice cream and chocolate and so this is where my search led me to high protein chocolate:
Cocoa+ High Protein Chocolate Review
- Great tasting Chocolate: Fuel the body and satisfy your sweet tooth/chocolate cravings
- Contains 55% Cocoa that contains flavonoids & antioxidants, which lower the risk of heart disease, reduces the levels of bad cholesterol, improves blood vessel flexibility and increases blood flow
- High-quality Whey Protein Isolate from grass fed cows that is fast absorbing
- Quality natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners or nasty hidden surprises
- >Contains essential BCAAs (Branched-chain amino acids) that is said to increase lean muscle mass and performance and reduce body fat
Comparisons: Cocoa+ vs Other Chocolates
All in the name of testing you understand, but I went out and bought myself a number of high quality chocolate bars, not only to compare the taste with, but also to take a close look at what differences that Cocoa+ Enriched Protein Chocolate offers us and the results I feel are quite interesting:
|Cal (kcal)||Energy (kj)||Carbs (g)||Fat (g)||Protein (g)|
|Cocoa+ Chocolate Crisp 50%||100||528||2183||26||32.5||30.1|
|Cocoa+ Chocolate 55%||100||525||2190||24.8||35.5||27.1|
|Lindt Excellence 99% Cacao||100||567||2337||8||49||13|
|Ivoria L’Intense 85%||100||596||2465||24||47.7||11.2|
As you can see Cocoa+ has more than double the amount of protein than standard high cocoa content chocolate (also remember that the protein is a high quality Whey Protein Isolate), less fat and calories. In fact the only area that you seem to be able to improve in when eating chocolate is to get 99% that has far less carbohydrates & sugar than sweeter (and much nicer tasting) chocolates.
Comparisons: Other High Protein Foods & Products
You will notice from the table below that displays the main nutritional details of a number of high protein foods and drinks that I incorporate into my diet, in terms of protein, Cocoa Plus chocolate does pretty well. But as you can also see, it is fairly high in calories, carbohydrates and fat than many others:
|Cal (kcal)||Energy (kj)||Carbs (g)||Fat (g)||Protein (g)|
|Biltong (Lean Beef)||100||294||1239||0||4.5||57|
|Myprotein Total Protein Powder||100||350||1482||4.4||3.9||74|
|Aptonia Whey 3 Protein Powder||100||368||1634||11.7||6.3||69.8|
|Mozzarella Cheese – Nonfat||100||141||590||3.5||0||32|
|Cocoa+ Chocolate Crisp||100||528||2183||26||32.5||30.1|
|Fori Thai Turkey Bar||100||231||967||4.6||9.2||29.6|
|Fori Chilli Beef Bar||100||211||888||8||6.3||29.3|
|Fori Piri Piri Chicken Bar||100||246||1029||7.7||9.5||29.3|
|Fori Moroccan Lamb Bar||100||211||888||6.3||7||29.3|
|Cocoa+ Plain Chocolate||100||525||2190||24.8||35.5||27.1|
|Sardines a la Tomate||100||179||748||0.4||11.1||19.4|
|Lindt Excellence 99% Chocolate||100||567||2337||8||49||13|
|Ivoria L’Intense 85% Chocolate||100||596||2465||24||47.7||11.2|
|Milk – low fat (100ml)||100||46||195||4.8||1.6||3.2|
Looks, Taste & Smell
Unless you knew that it was protein enriched, I doubt that you would ever guess that a Cocoa+ bar was different to a standard bar of chocolate. It looks, tastes and smells like “normal” high quality chocolate, which is a really good thing, because I was wondering if by adding the protein, it would somehow compromise the great taste of chocolate that I love.
I think with the 55% cocoa (in the plein chocolate version), they have gone with a balance that most people will like as to regarding the a sweet taste versus the amount of sugar involved. However I would also like to see them make higher percentage of cocoa versions as well as I usually eat chocolate with between 70% and 85% cocoa.
Still having said that, the taste and the smell is still divine and one that I believe any chocolate lover should really appreciate.
As for some of the other flavours, I also got to try the chocolate crisp and orange crisp. These have a very satisfying texture and feel in your mouth that you get from the “crisp” particles that have been added. Of these, my favourite was the Chocolate crisp.
Whilst it still contains a few more calories than what I would prefer, consumed in moderation, the delicious taste of Cocoa+ Chocolate offers a form of reward that I can use to motivate me. So for example if I complete particularly hard interval training session or ride and do it well, I will allow myself to enjoy a real treat to look forward to.
So for me there is no doubting that from time to time I am going to snack on sweet things, but from now on when I do, I am going to make sure that it not only tastes great, but is at least half good for me and so this will most certainly include Cocoa+ Chocolate.
Varieties, Prices & Where to Buy
My advice is to choose the smaller 40g mini pack bars that offer an easy way to keep your portions down, otherwise, their great makes it almost impossible to stop at half a bar if you get the big ones!
In my research I found them available for purchase on their website or on Amazon.co.uk and prices vary depending on the size of bar and how much you buy: