Carman’s have become increasingly popular over the past few years and their range of products has expanded to include protein bars, oat slices, nut bars and other tasty convenience snacks! Today’s review nuts out Carman’s Dark Choc, Coconut and Macadamia Nut Bars.
🔹 Nuts 52% (peanuts, almonds, macadamias 7%), glucose, high protein dark choc compound (made from sugar, vegetable oil, milk protein, cocoa powder, emulsifier (sunflower lecithin) and natural vanilla flavour), golden syrup, rice syrup, puffed rice (rice flour, rice bran), seeds 5% (sunflower seeds, pepitas), coconut 5%, psyllium husks, natural flavours.
🔹 Common allergens include: nuts (surprise surprise) and milk. May be present: other tree nuts, sesame seeds and soy.
🔶 The positives:
🔹 At 5.7g of protein per bar, they provide over a quarter of young children’s recommended daily protein intake. Australian kids typically get enough protein in their diet, so don’t necessarily need high protein options.
🔹 Gluten free option (suitable for coeliac).
🔹 Very low sodium (salt) content.
🔹 Super convenient snack to grab on the go.
🔹 The sugar content comes in at 14g per 100g (aim for less than 15g per 100g). However, most of this sugar is added, with only a small portion occurring naturally in coconut (5% of the bar). Even though sugar content is within recommendations, added sugars aren’t great.
🔶 The negatives:
🔹 The overall fat content of these bars is a whopping 33.8g per 100g (aim for less than 10g per 100g). About two thirds is unsaturated fats (the healthy kind from nuts), however the saturated fat is still almost 4 times the recommended 3g per 100g. Given the nuts make up half this product (so 16g) you could expect to have a saturated fat content of 3g/100g. It’s obviously much higher than this.
🔹 Dietary fibre is only 2.3g per serve (aim for 3g per serve).
🔹 These bars contain nuts so they can’t be included in school lunch boxes due to nut bans in Australian schools.
🔹 Each bar costs $1.20 making them pricey. A classic Uncle Toby’s muesli bar costs only 40 cents per bar.
🔶 The marketing:
🔹 ‘Gluten Free’ Yes.
🔹 ‘High oleic peanuts’ These sorts of peanuts are naturally bred to have a higher ratio of ‘good’ fats compared to regular peanuts, which also helps them stay fresher for longer. The total amount of saturated fats is only 5% less than regular peanuts, so it seems like more of a marketing ploy than a real health benefit. It also isn
t reflected in the overall saturated fat content.
🔹 ‘Source of protein and fibre’ Great source of protein, and an ok source of fibre.
🔹 ‘Less than 5g sugar’ This number is per serve rather than the standard per 100g, which can be misleading. When looking at sugar per 100g, these bars only just creep in below the healthy recommendations. Most of the sugar is also added sugar.
🔶 The alternatives:
🔹 This product is an ok choice compared to many snack foods which typically contain very high amounts of salt, sugar and fat. The added sugar content is still too high for daily consumption and the fat content is extremely high, despite the majority being ‘healthy’ fats.
🔹 If you go nuts for nuts, a nut bar without the choc would be a healthier choice to bring down the added sugar content of the bar and the saturated fat. Carmen’s have other nut bar flavours such as ‘Almond, Hazelnut & Vanilla’ which is a slightly better option.
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Dr Kyla Smith and Liz Beaton are paediatric dietitians specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla, Liz and Lauren here www.mealtimes.com.au