February 23, 2024

In my quest to find the best protein bar on the market, today I’m breaking down JiMMY! Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar.

But first things first…

Who is JiMMYBAR!?

According to their website:

JiMMYBAR!, is a family company with a female co-founder & creator of "Bars With Benefits" meaning high protein-low sugar great tasting bars with Functional ingredients like immune boosting fruit, Collagen, Turmeric, Guarana Caffeine, Keto friendly nuts. In a crowded and popular category, JiMMYBAR! has built a company that is on-trend, fun, innovative and meaningful.

This is something I believe in a lot. Great protein bars need to be high protein and low sugar. But I also believe they need to have high quality ingredients you can pronounce.

Based on this, JiMMYBAR! should be making high quality protein bars, right?

Well… only one way to find out.

JiMMYBAR! Ingredients

JiMMYBAR! says: 

“You never have to choose between super nutritious and totally delicious: JiMMYBAR! clean protein bars just beg to be devoured. With no preservatives or artificial crap, and a taste so good you’ll be left begging for more… It's time to JiMMY! your day.” 

But is that really the case?

Let’s ignore the Nutrition Facts for a moment and just focus on the long list of ingredients on the image above. 

I immediately see soy protein, sugar, and vegetable oils. The cheapest sources of protein, sugar, and fat.

Dang it JiMMY! I so wanted to love these bars based on that beautiful mission statement above.

If only there were a better way to create protein bars that aren’t just candy bars in disguise. (Foreshadowing)

So, let’s break these ingredients down into an easy to read list.

  1. Protein Blend (Peanuts, Soy Protein Crisps* [Soy Protein Isolate*, Tapioca Starch], Whey Protein)
  2. Maltitol
  3. Chocolate Coating (Sugar, Palm Oil, Milk, Cocoa, Soy Lecithin, Vanillin)
  4. Vegetable Glycerin
  5. Palm Oil^
  6. Peanut Oil
  7. Sea Salt

*Non-GMO, ^Sustainably sourced

As might already know, the FDA requires food manufacturers to list their ingredients in order by weight.

Which means that the JiMMY! Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar is filled with peanuts and then ultra processed soy and sugar alcohols. 

Too Much Soy?

Soy protein — as we’ve covered in an earlier review — might be one of the worst sources of protein in food manufacturing. Not because of the protein itself, but because it is very difficult to source high quality soy. Some reasons you should steer away are:

The Problem With Soy:

  • Soy is high in phytic acid which inhibits nutrient absorption.
  • Trypson-inhibitors that interfere with the absorption of soy.
  • Goytagens - anti-nutrient that interferes with iodine absorption
  • Contains high levels of phytoestrogens.
  • Contamination with pesticide residues. Majority is grown on large farms using glyphosate. 94% of soy is GMO which is heavily sprayed with round-up ready glyphosate. Soy can also be contaminated with aluminum due to the tanks it is processed in.

And in the JiMMYBAR!, you’re getting at least 9-10 grams of soy protein. Peanuts are only 25% protein which means you’d be getting 7-8 grams of protein from peanuts (assuming 30g of the 58g bar is made up of peanuts).

Too Much Sugar Alcohol?

Did you notice the ingredient after the protein blend?

I’ll give you a hint: 

It’s sugar (alcohol)!

Maltitol is a sugar alcohol that companies use to sweeten their products without using sugar. It has fewer calories and a lower GI than sugar but just like sugar, it doesn’t have any nutritional value. 

Basically junk.

But maltitol has another problem: diarrhea.

According to this 2019 paper: “the excessive consumption of polyols causes gastrointestinal symptoms and laxative effects in healthy patients.”

So, eating a little bit of maltitol might be fine. But eating too much will definitely cause a lot of gas, and maybe diarrhea.

The bigger problem with sugar alcohols is really with regular, recurring use. They have been shown to disrupt the good bacteria in your gut, which in turn disrupts health… a healthy microbiome is key to a highly functional immune system and plays a central role in overall health.

Bottom line: not great for your gut.

Why So Much Sugar?

The sugar alcohol brings us to another problem.

Why is there sugar in this bar when you already put sugar alcohol in it?

Putting sugar alcohols in your products lets you claim to be sugar free. Which means you can legally say 0 grams of sugar/added sugar without any problems.

Then why add 4 grams of sugar?

So, you get the gut problems of sugar alcohols without the sugar free benefits of not spiking glucose.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is the cheapest oil you can buy. This is the reason why almost all long shelf life packaged food has palm oil as the source of fat.

Growing palm oil is destroying the habitat of endangered species such as Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino. Which is why sustainable sources of palm oil are so important — to prevent deforestation and ensure quality.

But JiMMYBAR! says that they use sustainably sourced palm oil, as first for us in these protein bar reviews. And although palm oil is still an inferior choice when it comes to healthy oils to choose from, I give credit to JIMMY! for at least using a “sustainable” source which is a step ahead of many of the other bar companies that we’ve reviewed here on the site.

With 21 grams of fat, there’s at least 11-12 grams of palm oil in this bar. Might even be 18-19 grams of it but we don’t know.

The point is, that there are so many better choices of fat out there, that using the cheapest one you can find while you say that your bars are “super nutritious and totally delicious” doesn’t exactly make sense.

They could have chosen to go the extra mile to source organic MCT oil (from coconuts) which would have been a healthier and more sustainable alternative to palm oil.

Final Verdict

JiMMY! Chocolate Peanut Butter bar is packed with cheap ingredients. Soy protein and palm oil are the cheapest sources of protein and fat on the market. But at least they don’t use many synthetic/artificial ingredients.

Plus I think they have too much sugar alcohol AND sugar in their protein bar. If it was just 4 grams of added sugar without the sugar alcohol, then this bar would be so much better.

And it’s exactly for these reasons I can’t recommend it to you. 

But if you’re looking for a real protein bar without sugar alcohols and sourced from 100% real food ingredients, see below.

Tejesh Reddy

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