Review of Jigsaw Health bars


So Patrick Sullivan at “Jigsaw Health”:http://jigsawhealth.com has “asked for reviews”:http://www.patsullivan.com/blog/2006/12/jigsawbars_have.html of the new “JigsawBar”:http://www.jigsawbars.com. And since Patrick and I have a “mutual admiration club”:http://forums.randi.org/archive/index.php/t-53271.html, I thought I’d oblige.

First, let’s get the data. JigsawBars are $3 a pop (or $35 for a box of 12), making them one of the more expensive snack bars out there. However, if you restrict yourself to healthy snack bars, the playing field looks a little more level (you’re not comparing to a nutritionally void 55 cent Snickers), and the Jigsaw Bars are still a little more expensive. So do you get what you pay for?

I think yes.

The nutrition label looks good, and the inclusion of B vitamins in addition to the 180 calories makes this bar useful for countering a decrease in energy that comes with hunger. In fact, I’ve done this a couple of times with good results. (Note for weight watchers folks: this bar comes in at 4 points.) The carbs look normal, except that much of the sweetness comes from sugar alcohols, including some of the ingredients (maltitol, as found in “Extend bars”:http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=148942&catid=73983&trx=PLST-0-CAT&trxp1=73983&trxp2=148942&trxp3=1&trxp4=0&btrx=BUY-PLST-0-CAT) found in diabetic bars. I appreciate the fact that Jigsaw did not compensate with aspartame or sucralose.

Jigsaw also went out of their way to avoid certain foods that can cause problems, such as “soy”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy (see especially “this section”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy#Soy_controversy), “gluten”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten, and “casein”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casein. (It should be noted that anecdotal evidence and one published paper suggest that gluten- and casein-free diets may be helpful in managing autism, at least for some children.) And none of that “transfat”:http://www.randomjohn.info/wordpress/?s=transfat BS(b—s—) (and see “here”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfat). It does contain milk and fish products, so it’s not appropriate for vegans.

The bar is fortified with “Omega-3 fatty acids”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3 (also see FDA(Food and Drug Administration)’s “qualified health claim”:http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2004/NEW01115.html, though, amazingly, I haven’t once experienced a fishy burp. That’s been a problem with Omega-3 enhanced snack bars in the past.

I’m not really in a position to evaluate the other claims made on the site, such as how the ingredients impact immune function. However, I can say that the bars do seem to stabilize energy, which means that my blood sugar isn’t varying as wildly as it used to.

So that leaves one final part of the review: how do they taste? Well, the jury convened, sampled the evidence, sampled some more evidence, and, just to make sure, sampled even more evidence. And the verdict is in:

  • The chocolate bars are pretty good. I like them, and will eat them if they’re in the house. However, I’m not sure I would go out of my way to get them based on taste. They are a little better than most other chocolate-flavored hi-nutrient/protein snack bars.
  • The coconut-almond flavor beats most other bars I’ve had, including the bars that aren’t even pretending to be healthy. Given that they’re giving away a box of the other flavor if you buy a box of one, I predict that most people will go for the coconut-almond.

In conclusion, I say these things are worth the price:

  • the taste of the coconut-almond flavor is great
  • I seem to experience less of a variance in energy after having one mid-day
  • the bars have a good nutritional content
  • the bars avoid some of the problem foods standard in today’s diets

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to give Patrick a bit more than he bargained for. I’m going to post a review of the “Essential Daily Packets”:http://www.jigsawhealth.com/products/vitamin_mineral_supplement.html. But first, I’m going to have to take a couple of weeks to see how they work out.

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2 Responses

  1. “mutual admiration club”…sounds a little creepy when you say it like that. 😉

    But seriously, thanks for your candid review John. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    With regards to price, right now we’re running a buy 1 get 1 free — so they are really only $1.50 a bar…for now.

    With regards to taste, it’s a funny thing how subjective it is. It took 12 months and 24 formulas to find what we (all 10 Jigsaw employees) thought was the perfect balance of taste and nutrition. The approach was pretty simple too: Keep away from all the crap ingredients and add nutrition until it stops tasting good.

    Btw, if you ONLY want Coconut-Almond or Chocolate, just note that in the comments and Brad will make sure you get the right thing.

  2. Kashi ha some awesome chewy granola bars which have a decent serving of protein/bar. They are roughly 150 cals, come in three flavors and taste really good. I stopped eating protein/snack bars since I found these.

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