Pros: Good taste, several varieties, portion controlled, healthy
All my life, my father ate chocolate every night before bed. All my grown up years, I told him how bad that was for him and how he was clogging his arteries. All his life his heart was in perfect condition and, at 80, he had the heart of a 40 year old man with not even a hint of high cholesterol or clogged arteries. He died of complications from pneumonia last year and tests proved that his heart was as strong as a young man's. (I miss you, Dad!)
But all that chocolate! Every night! How could that be?
Well, it turns out my dad was actually doing something healthy for himself long before anyone realized it. Studies now show that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is good for your heart, cholesterol, and circulation.
However, that isnt a ticket to go out and gorge yourself on junky candy bars unless you want to gain a lot of weight.
The answer is here. The answer is called CocoaVia.
These snack bars and bags of snacks promote a healthy heart, improve circulation, and are low in calories and fat. And the taste? Just like decadent, deep chocolate, which is exactly what they are made out of.
All CocoaVia Brand Heart Healthy Snacks:
Help lower bad cholesterol. The natural plant extracts in CocoaVia Heart Healthy Snacks 1.1 to 1.5 grams per serving have been proven to help significantly reduce "bad" (LDL) cholesterol. For maximum cholesterol benefit, eat CocoaVia Heart Healthy Snacks regularly as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Help promote healthy circulation. Like green tea and red wine, cocoa beans contain naturally occurring compounds called flavanols that scientists believe help promote blood flow, circulation and a healthy heart. But traditional cocoa processing often destroys these natural compounds. After years of research, the makers of Dove Brand Chocolates have perfected a breakthrough Cocoapro process, the only patented process that retains high levels of the flavanols found naturally in cocoa. With each serving of CocoaVia, you're guaranteed to get at least 100 mg of cocoa flavanols. The result is real, premium chocolate that's indulgently delicious and heart healthy.
Are designed with portion size and calories in mind delivering 80 to 150 calories per serving.
Are an excellent source of calcium and a good source of folic acid and vitamins C, E, B6 and B12.
CocoaVia Chocolate Snack Bars Packaging
This review is on the snack bars. They also have individual bags of snacks, like chocolate covered almonds and raisins, as well as a chocolate beverage.
The bars come in a box of five apiece. There are several varieties to choose from including milk and dark chocolate, chocolate and almonds, blueberry and almonds in dark chocolate, and crispy chocolate bars.
The boxes are all the same, with a picture of the bar on them to differentiate them. A quick look on the back of the box will give you a clear calorie count for each bar. The number of calories is displayed in a large circle that stands out from the rest of the box. Mine vary from 80 to 110 calories.
Inside, each bar is individually wrapped in deep brown and orange foil. The size of the bars vary but none are remotely huge. These are, as stated, snack bars, and hover under an ounce per bar which is what is the recommended amount of chocolate to have per serving.
These bars are available in the following flavors: Original Chocolate, Crispy Chocolate, Blueberry & Almond Chocolate, Chocolate Snack Bars, Chocolate Almond Snack Bars, Chocolate Blueberry Snack Bars, Milk Chocolate Bars, and Milk Chocolate Almond Bars. They also sell single serve bags of chocolate covered almonds or raisins and a chocolate milk beverage.
The bars, whether they are called "snack bars" or just bars are all within the same calorie and size range and I have no idea what constitutes a snack bar and what doesnt but suffice to say none of the bars will feel like you are gorging on a big candy bar. They will, however, satisfy your craving for chocolate without piling on the pounds.
Believe it of not, I have never been a fan of chocolate. I got sick once on a Three Musketeers Bar and just never forgot that. I havent had chocolate in years except on rare occasions and only if there were nuts, raisins, or some other goody within the chocolate.
Then I started reading about the benefits of chocolate and realized that I should add an ounce a day to help my cholesterol. We have a family history on my mother's side of astronomically high cholesterol and my sisters and brother all are on medication for it. I have avoided high cholesterol so far but I know the fight is an uphill battle.
But I wasn't fond of milk chocolate for the most part and the fat and calories! Yikes.
Then I happened to stumble upon CocoaVia Snack Bars at Wal-Mart. I was saddened when I saw them because they were something I would have bought for my dad but I picked up a box for myself to see whether these bars would taste good enough to spend the hefty price tag on (I paid $4.14 for a box of five bars.).
My first box was the plain dark chocolate bars.
One night, I was feeling hungry so I decided that was the time to check out the taste of the bars. Going into this without a chocolate lover's palate, I expected to hate them.
Instead, I found them very good. The taste was true chocolate, not some sweet fake taste, but a full bodied, rich deep chocolate that was just enough to make me feel like I had been decadent but not too much to where I felt sick.
After reading more about flavonals and chocolate, I bought five more boxes - all different varieties. They're not cheap but, for me, they're worth it. With 80-110 calories per bar and less than four grams of fat per bar (Most have two or three at the most), these bars were perfect for me.
The flavors are great. I have now tried all the flavors and there is not one I dont like. I prefer the darker chocolate but they all have a very good, satisfying flavor with good-sized pieces of almonds, blueberries, or crunchies. The plain bars are smooth and go down easy.
But I am the type who will eat anything if I think it is good for me. The test would be on my sons who wont eat anything if they think it is good for them.
I offered each son a bar of their choice, omitting that they were "good for them". One chose the bar with almonds; the other chose plain milk chocolate.
The result of my testing backfired because now they eat my CocoaVias like they're plain ole candy bars and I am always running out. They love them. And I love my sons. But not at 83 cents for under an ounce of chocolate.
They can have Snickers! Ha.
These bars will satisfy any chocolate lover. The only thing that you may complain about is the size. But, to get maximum benefits from these bars (or any chocolate), only an ounce or two a day is needed.
It is recommended that you eat two snack bars a day. Wheee. I get to have two treats a day and justify it as a health booster.
Seriously, I cant recommend these bars enough. Not only do they taste great but they are low in calories and fat. And they really do help your health. Study after study has proven CocoaVia's claims about flavonals and chocolate. Now you can have real chocolate without all the added junk that makes you fat and clogs your arteries. My father never ate anything but Hershey bars - plain chocolate or, at times, with almonds and preferred dark chocolate if he could get it. He never touched the "lightweight" chocolate bars that weren't all chocolate which is why his cholesterol and weight didnt suffer, I suspect.
Sample of the Nutrition Label
Because each flavor of bar is slightly different, here is a sample of the label from the plain chocolate bars - the ones that I started with.
Amount per Serving
Calories Total... 80
from Fat ... 20
% Daily Value
% Daily Value
You get some vitamins and minerals in each bar and a bit of protein. These are not nutrition bars or meal replacement bars. They are snack bars, intended to be just that. Heart healthy snacks between meals or at night when the sweet craving hits.
Each flavor has its own set of nutritional values and only one is a bit higher in fat - at 6g. - than the others.
Bars vary in size but hover around .71 ounces each.
Ingredients also vary but here is the list for the Original Chocolate Bar as a reference:
Semisweet Chocolate (chocolate, Sugar, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor), Soy Sterol Esters, Vitamins & Minerals (Calcium Carbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Acetate, Cyanocobalamin, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine HCL)
Two servings a day are recommended for maximum benefits. Because the portions are so small, two servings wont wreck most people's diets - but it could make a dent in their wallets. These bars are not cheap!
Select Wal-Mart stores carry these bars (I was at one 20 miles from my home. The two a few miles from me do not carry these.) as do some grocery stores. On the net, Drugstore.com sells them individually and in a six box set (all one flavor) and a few other sites also sell them. They are not easy to get your hands on!
The price ranges from $4.00 - $5.00 a box which is steep. Each box has just five small bars and, at two a day, you do the math. However, it really has been proven that these bars can be quite beneficial to your health. Note though that regular dark chocolate (plain, no crazy stuff added) can also have benefits similar to CocoaVia Snack Bars. If you buy a large bar (with nothing added like caramel, nougat, or other fillers) and just have an ounce or two a day, you could save money and possibly gain the same benefits.
I like CocoaVia because the bars were specially formulated for health reasons an are portion controlled. Even a non-chocolate lover may go overboard if it is just sitting there.
I will continue to eat CocoaVia Snack Bars daily. The Blueberry and Almond ones manage to get in the benefits of nuts as well as the antioxidant effects of blueberries and they are my favorites. I am not a big fan of chocolate but I am a big fan of watching my cholesterol and staying as healthy as possible.
Now that I know that certain chocolates have health benefits, I will willingly eat a couple ounces a day. I am sure chocolate lovers will have NO problems remembering to eat their bars.
The big problem is the price of these bars. At over $4.00 for five small bars, that is around five and half boxes a week (two a day) or over $22.00 weekly for less than two ounces of these bars a day for a week.
As I said, I will eat these and enjoy them - probably at one a day rather than two though. I give these bars 4 stars for everything they are but take away a star for the price.
I would be much more inclined to buy these bars for my whole family if they were $2.50 a box or so. I am researching the benefits of chocolate and, if I find that a commercial brand is similar in benefits and costs much less, I will switch. I like these bars but I also like to have a few bucks in my pocket and these do make a dent in my beauty products shopping money!
Still, try the type you think you will like and enjoy chocolate without the guilt!
Read all about these snacks at www.cocoavia.com
Thanks to Bops_Mom for adding these to the database for me to review.