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Product Spotlight: Candy and Confections

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02.12.06 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

We've reviewed a lot of chocolate bars over the last six years as low carb chocolate has evolved. Until recently, it seemed that chocolate bars had to contain maltitol in order to taste and feel like the "real thing." All that has changed. Forget what you think you know about low carb chocolate.

Enter
Choco Perfection... Simple, elegant, rich chocolate in both Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate varieties. They are sweetened with a combination of ogliofructose (a natural high fiber sweetener – not the same as fructose), and erythritol. No artificial sweeteners; lots of fiber; and little risk of gastric distress.

Made by
Low Carb Specialties, these bars are a large 2 ounces and come in at 1 to 2 effective carbs per bar. Most of us found them to be so rich that we couldn't eat an entire bar in one sitting, but that didn't stop us from wishing we could. They're just that good. They're creamy with a wonderful mouthfeel.

Choco Perfection gets our highest rating for low carb chocolate bars to date. Once you try them, you might not want to ever live without them. Luckily, you won't have to. Owner, Mary Jo, wants to make sure you believe it yourself, so they offer a two-bar sampler pack if you're not ready to go for the 12-bar packs.

They're available online from Low Carb Specialties, as well as from many local retailers. Don't wait. Place that order. We're not kidding.



10.29.05 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Reese's 1 Carb

Reese's Peanut Butter cups were always on my list of favorites "back in the day," so I was very hopeful when they announced their new Reese's 1-Carb version. I'd been very disappointed by so many of the big-name candy makers' attempts at low carb versions, so I tried this one with great trepidation. But I was pleasantly surprised! Now, I'm not going to tell you that these taste just like the original. They don't. But they're pretty good, and the chocolate is rich and not gritty. The best part is that they're made with erythritol, so they don't offer up that nasty "laxative effect!"

They're absolutely at their best when very cold and they're superb when they're frozen. In fact, we tried freezing 4 or 5 of them and breaking them up into homemade low carb ice cream. Oh my goodness, they were delish. Especially when you add a handful of peanuts to the mix.

They're actually 2 net carbs per serving (a 2-candy-cup package), and since there's 9 grams of fiber and 6 grams of erythritol (which we feel good about deducting), that's a good deal. Find them in the candy aisle or the checkout areas of most groceries and drugstores.


11.03.03 :: Product Recommendation & Review: Carb Slim Bites
Looking for something portable, easy and delicious to take with you to the movies? Look no further than the new sweet chocolately morsels known as
Carb Slim Bites. They crispy and airy on the inside, and are housed in a truly decadent milk chocolate on the outside. Each one is about the size of a Raisinette and they're perfect for cinema treats, or any time.
Carb Slim Bites
They've used the wonderful new polyol Erythritol (that does not cause gastric distress in most individuals) along with Splenda, making these easier on the tummy AND the carb count.

Carb Slim Bites are available in two varieties —
Peanut Butter Crunch, and Chocolate Caramel Crunch from Netrition.


07.24.04 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

MiniCarb Chocolate Bar By now, we all know there's a lot of low-carb (sugar free) chocolate out there. But if you've been living this lifestyle for awhile, you know what the drawback is. They contain sugar alcohols. Sometimes a LOT of sugar alcohols. And if you don't want to suffer the "gastric distress," you usually have to sharply limit your intake, or cut them out altogether.

So what we've needed is a great low carb chocolate bar that doesn't contain sugar alcohols. Nothing like that exists... right? Well, that used to be true. And then at the recent NNFA show in Las Vegas, Neil and I had a chance to sample the new
MiniCarb Chocolate Bars — all made with NO SUGAR ALCOHOLS. Yeah, really.

                         MiniCarb Chocolate Bars
And you know what? They're fantastic. A high quality dark chocolate with a silky texture that won't leave you guilty OR uncomfortable! These scrumptious bars come in three rich varieties:
Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Almonds, and Dark Chocolate with Soy Crisps.

Sweetened with Splenda, they come in at 4 net carbs per bar (5 for the almond bar) and are worth every gram. If you've been missing a truly "legal" chocolate bar, MiniCarb has just come to your rescue! They're available from Netrition.


04.25.02 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Heavenly Desserts Meringue Cookies
Looking for a light, airy, sweet something with few carbs and few calories?

We recently tried the new
Sugar Free Meringue Cookies from Heavenly Desserts. These crisp little gems are made primarily from isomalt and Splenda sweetened egg whites.

The cookies are only about 1 carb apiece, and nearly zero calories, so they're the perfect tiny treat when something exceptionally light and sweet is craved. They're available in
Lemon, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Cappuccino.   Our favorites are the lemon since the flavor compliments the light, crisp texture so well.

You can crush them to get a sweet flavored crumbly topping for whipped cream or ice cream too! Heavenly Desserts Meringue Cookies are available from Netrition.


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02.06.04 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Creations Almond Brittle
If you love a sweet caramel taste that comes with a high-carb nut brittle, you're going to love the new
Soft Nut Brittles from Low Carb Creations ! Unlike regular brittle that's... well... brittle, this candy is softer — more melt-in-your-mouth.

Low Carb Creations Almond Brittle They come in three varieties —
Soft Almond Brittle, Soft Hazelnut Brittle, and Soft Peanut Brittle. They all sit on a peanut butter base and are sweetened with Lycasin and Maltitol, then flavored with pure vanilla.

They are mid-range sweet and come in pre-cut squares that we found to be just the right portion. They label these as 3 net carbs per 2-square serving, but that discounts all the sugar alcohols. If you don't do that (we don't), we count these as 4 net carbs per square accounting for the polyols. Still, just the right sweet treat after a meal or when a craving hits.

Our favorites were definitely the Almond, but all three flavors were quite good! They're available from Netrition.


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11.07.03 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Carborite Chocolate Candy Peanuts
Another new Erythritol (that does not cause gastric distress in most individuals) and Splenda based candy has earned our recommendation!

The new
Carborite Candy Coated Chocolate Covered Peanuts are simply delish. You might be hard pressed to tell them from real Peanut M&Ms. They're that good. They come in at about 3 grams of carb per package and are a real treat!

They're part of Carborite's new "At Last!" line... all of which use erythritol.

Each 1.23 oz bag contains about 150 calories and are showing up in more and more stores. We found a good supply of them in all CVS stores in the midwest. You can get them from Netrition.


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09.10.02 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Sorbee Lites Hard Candies
Want just a "touch" of something sweet after dinner? Or something to fill those candy dishes with on your coffee table? Try the new Lites Hard Candies from Sorbee. They're sweetened with a mix of isomalt (the sweetener in Diabetisweet) and Splenda. I like to keep a few in my purse and when I'm leaving a restaurant after a nice meal and everyone else grabs one of their sugary "peppermints", I have a little Sorbee Lite candy.

You can get the bag of
Fruit Flavored mixture, or all Coffee flavor. The Fruit mixture includes Strawberry, Grape, Orange and Lemon. They're 1 carb per candy, and 6 calories each. Handy and yummy too! They're available from Greenbeanz.


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06.22.02 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

When I was very young, my grandmother used to buy my brother and me little "spindles" of chocolate filled with peanut butter. I hadn't thought of them in years until the new Low Carb Chef Chocolate Logs arrived this past week.

LC Chef Chocolate Logs These are nearly the same things I remember from childhood. And just as good. Very reminiscent of a Peanut Butter Twix bar, if that helps.

The chef has made three varieties —

  • Milk Chocolate
  • White Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate.
They're sweetened with maltitol, and made with powdered real cream, so they're quite rich. They have a total carb count of 8 1/2 carbs per log, but 7 1/2 of those are maltitol, so adjust accordingly for your plan. (Effective carb count if you don't count sugar alcohols at all is 1/2 carb each, but if you're like me and allow for polyol, count these as 3 carbs per log.) Still a great carb bargain.

As always, Low Carb Chef products are available from The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


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04.11.02 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Torras Bars Another sugar free chocolate bar is afoot — this time an import from Barcelona, Spain.  Sweetened with maltitol, we found the five new flavors of the big (and we mean big) Torras Bars to be a rich and creamy delight.

They come in
Almond Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut, White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and Creamy Milk Chocolate.   We quickly became a fan of the dark chocolate bar — luckily the one with only the smallest of carbs and the least maltitol (for those of you sensitive to it.) Torras Chef

We like shaving the bar over all sorts of things — whipped creams, puddings, cheesecakes, etc. For drizzling, we found the Milk Chocolate is excellent. But all are great for eating and the Almond bar is especially good frozen (like all chocolate, it discolors a little when frozen.)

They're made with real cocoa butter and no hydrogenated oils. These 2.6 oz bars come in little easy to break off squares so you'll have no trouble measuring or enforcing portion control. All the Torras Bars are available to order online from The Low Carb Zone.


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12.22.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Chef Sugarfree Candy Assortment Box Well, it seems The Low Carb Chef has been at it again — bringing us really mouthwatering candies that we can enjoy while low-carbing! This week our group got to try a great assortment of them and what a treat!

First up, their big
Assortment Boxes containing either 1 pound (34 pieces) or 1/2 pound (16 pieces) of super creamy chocolates! You get a mix of some of the most delicious chocolate confections drenched in milk, and dark chocolate. Nuts, creams, chews, truffles, cherries, and more! All sweetened with maltitol, and all made with real butter. Discounting the maltitol, these come in at an average of a little under 1 1/2 carbs per candy piece. These assortments are also a great way to try out some of the varieties of candies The Low Carb Chef offers alone.

Low Carb Chef Sugar Free Cherry Cordials One of our favorites was the
Sugar Free Cherry Cordials! Chocolate covered cherries were a family favorite around here for years and in fact rate as one of America's favorite confections. These are virtually indistinguishable from their high-sgar counterparts and boast rich liquid centers. These are superb, no doubt about it.

The Low Carb Chef Sugar Free Peppermint Patties Our next favorite was the
Sugar Free Peppermint Patties! They're very cool and creamy with a smooth blanket of dark chocolate to counter the soft mint centers. These are good as is, but great cold (even frozen!) A single mint patty after a rich meal will make you feel spoiled indeed.

Low Carb Chef Sugar Free Caramel Marshmallow Treats And the treats keep coming with their scrumptious
Sugar Free Caramel Marshmallow Treats! Covered in rich milk chocolate, you'll find the treasure inside is a pillow of can't-believe-it's-sugar-free marshmallow with a sweet caramel at its heart. This one is very elegant — you could certainly arrange these on a plate for guests! Yummy.

Low Carb Chef Sugar Free Chocolate Crisp Bars Nope, we're not quite done yet. We also tried their
Sugar Free Chocolate Crisp Bars that most definitely rival commercial bars. They are more reminiscient of Nestle bars than Hershey, and have a delicate Swiss quality to them. They come in three varieties:
Milk Chocolate with crisps, Dark Chocolate with crisps, and Milk Praline Chocolate with crisps. The latter was everyone's favorite (the Hazelnuts and Vanilla really set it off!), but all are quite good. With Polyols (sugar alcohols) subtracted, each bar has an effective carb count between 2.5 and 4.3 grams. They're "sectioned" in sixths, and I suggest eating one or two sections at a time.

As always, Low Carb Chef Sugar free candies are available at The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


12.20.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Myntz Since I first started low carbing (in '99), I've tried a lot of sugar free mints. A number of brands have been submitted for review, but none have made it past our panel to get into our spotlight here... Until we tried the new Myntz! Wyntermint Blast.

They are, of course, sugar free (sweetened with sorbitol and AceK) and are strong without crossing the line to overpowering. In our opinion, they're better than Altoids and work out to less than 1/4 carb per mint (and they're big mints.) And let's face it, those of us in ketosis can use a mint from time to time. [grin] They come in a metal tin that contains about 75 mints per container.

We found them locally at both Target stores and RiteAid Drugstores, but a visit to the MYNTZ! website will let you find a retailer in your area.


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12.07.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Judy's Sugar Free Brittle Okay, folks, this is a great find. A few weeks ago I was given a sugar free caramel brittle treat to try that was purchased in a gift shoppe. It was just fabulous and extremely low carb. I wondered where I'd ever be able to find them again and if this company made more such products. Then I discovered that one of our very own low carb merchants was now carrying these little jewels and I was able to share them — all the kinds they make — with our group.

Judy's Sugar Free Caramels We're talking about a line of scrumptious low carb sugar free
brittles, caramels and more from Judy's Sugar Free Candies !   I'm not sure how they do it, but they are virtually indistinguishable from their high-sugar counterparts. They make several varieties... first up, "brittle rounds" — Coconut Almond Brittle (what I first tried from the gift shoppe), and Mixed Nut Brittle.

Judy's Sugar Free Caramels These are 4-oz rounds (that's pretty large!) and are wrapped in a decadent sweet coating and made with surprisingly few ingredients. The Coconut Almond Brittle contains only Maltitol syrup, coconut, almonds, water, and vanilla extract. The Mixed Nut Brittle contains Maltitol syrup, cashews, water, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, butter, pecans, vanilla extract and baking soda. The Coconut Brittle contains only 1 gram of carb (after fiber) per serving, or 4 carbs for the entire "round". The Mixed Nut is 3 carbs per serving. These are extremely rich.

Judy's Sugar Free Peanut Brittle But they didn't stop there — they also offer
Vanilla Caramels that come in an 8-oz bag and are rich with a creamy buttery taste (which makes sense since they're made with REAL cream and REAL butter!) Each bag contains 10 LARGE caramels coming in at 1 carb per caramel.

And not to sound like an infomercial, "But wait... there's more!"   Next up is their super crunchy
Peanut Brittle, packed in 8 oz "tubs". Yes, it tastes like real peanut brittle, and each serving is 2 grams of carbs.

These candies are amazing, people. Buy them, enjoy them, and Happy Holidays! All of the Judy's Sugar Free Candies are available online from Greenbeanz Low Carb Superstores.


12.07.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Ross Chocolate Bars
Many low carbers have already "discovered"
Ross Sugar Free Chocolate Bars, but for those of you who haven't, we want to let you know these are some of the best. Sweetened only with Maltitol, but causing little or no blood sugar spikes, these high quality, super creamy bars are as delicious as they are versatile. Because they come in a myriad of varieties, they're not only great to "cure" that sweet tooth, but melt beautifully to use in cooking and baking.

They come in
Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Supreme Milk Chocolate, Cherry, Almond, Coconut, Mint, Crunchy, Raspberry, and Orange.

Ross Chocolate Bars Without a doubt our favorites were the "fruit" flavors because they do them so well. They taste like fruit infused cream instead of the rather "fake" flavor that many fruit-esque chocolates have. The raspberry is especially luscious tasting. The White bar tastes like Almond Bark and all the bars lack that "grittiness" that some bars have.

Ross Sugar Free Chocolate Bars range from 1 gram of carbohydrate (the Dark bar) to around 3 1/2 grams (most of the flavors) and are available at Low Carb Chocolates.


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08.14.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Pure Delites Treasure Bites And still more to tempt your need for chocolate... Pure De-Lite introduces new Low Carb Treasure Bites — little (0.43 ounce) morsels of decadent goodness. I love it when chocolates are offered in "bite size" pieces because it keeps me from being tempted to eat more. And I can take perhaps 3 of them in my purse when I go to the cinema.

They range from about 1/2 carb per piece to 1 2/3 carbs. This, as usual discounts off the maltitol, so allow an extra carb if you're sensitive. They come in
Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Almond, and Milk Chocolate Crisp.

Low Carb Treasure Bites are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur, and The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


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08.14.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Daskalides Candy Bars Ready for another great new candy bar? Not a protein bar, not a meal replacement. Simply a great little "treat" — the new Daskalides Candy Bars are simply scrumptious. Very, very creamy and they come in a variety of flavors:   Dark/Coconut praline filled, Milk/Coffee ganache filled, Milk/Hazelnut puree filled, Dark/Raspberry cream filled, and Dark/Amaretto cream filled.

Each is sweetened with Maltitol and are made without chemicals and preservatives. They come in at about 2/3 of a carb per "piece" after fiber, so if you eat an entire bar, you should get about 5 carbs. If you are sensitive to maltitol, allow 7-8 carbs per bar, but they are very rich, so only the most avid chocolate eaters are likely to eat an entire bar in one sitting. Want an interesting idea? Try melting a single square of the chocolate and drizzling it over sugarfree custard or a cheesecake square.

These uniquely delicious Belgian Chocolate bars are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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07.18.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Sugarfree Hard Candies It's been a long time since we reviewed the Ricci sugar free hard candies (May 2000), and we haven't found another fruity hard candy that measured up as well until now.

We recently got to sample the new
Sugarfree Hard Candies available at Brett Railey's Low Carb Dieter's Page and were very pleased with these uniquely flavored treats. They come in a 4-oz bag of a single flavor, or a 3.3-oz bag with an assortment in the following flavors: Key Lime, Fruit Punch, Pineapple, Coffee, Green Apple, Watermelon, Butterscotch, Blueberry, Lime, Orange, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Root Beer.

Sweetened with maltitol syrup, you won't want to over-do, but these candies are very sweet and hit the spot, so one or two will do you just fine. They're one of those items I think are great to have in your purse, or the glove box of your car. Each single candy piece contains 6 grams of maltitol, so I'd allow 1 or 2 grams of carbs per candy if you're polyol-sensitive. Order them online at The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


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07.02.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Chef Gummi Bears
Ready for more candy treats? It doesn't look like our choices are going to stop growing, but we're only recommending the best. This time, we got a chance to try those cute little Gummi Bears from The Low Carb Chef . Now you probably already know there are a number of brands out there offering "gummy" this and that and some are clearly better than others. These are very flavorful, plus they're soft without being overly rubbery — it's just enough to be... well... gummy. Each serving (about 14 bears) contains about 30 grams of sugar alcohol in the form of hydrogenated starch hydrolysate. If you're one of those people barely affected by sugar alcohols (polyols), these treats will be safe to eat in 1-2 servings a day. If you are sugar alcohol sensitive, you may need to count these as up to 4 or 5 carbs per serving (still a bargain when you want a little treat!)

Consider taking these in your purse to the movies! They feel like real movie candies. As always, Low Carb Chef Chocolate confections are available online from The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


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05.18.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Low Carb Chef Confections And the chocolate just keeps on comin'... This week's meeting brought some really rich and diverse chocolate confections to our table. More from The Low Carb Chef, these Turtles, Coconut Clusters, Truffles, and Peanut Butter Cups are a chocoholic's delight.

A better grade of chocolate (and fillings) than some of the other recent entries into the low-carb arena (we didn't review those we found inferior), these gourmet treats will fool anyone. But the Turtles and the Peanut Butter cups deserve a special nod as they truly are identical to their full/real sugar counterparts. How do we know? Well, we used the only member willing to be a guinea pig (not ME!) and did side-by-side tests with "real" versions. These two rated better or identical to the famous commercial brands. I feel sure you'll agree.

Now, all this talk of candy lately makes me need to point out, that while these great new treats are wonderful — they are just that — TREATS. Please don't start thinking you can eat them daily and succeed. Consider them occasional indulgences that keep you away from insulin-spiking sugar treats. Please remember to keep your main diet well-stocked with good proteins and nutritious vegetables. Okay, sorry... that was the Mom in me.

Low Carb Chef Chocolate confections are available online from The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


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05.14.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Sugarless Confections
Next up in that wonderful world of chocolates... This weekend we got to try the sweet new chocolate covered treats from
Sugarless Confections. They offer coated Coffee Beans, Raisins, Hazel Nuts, Brazil Nuts, and Almonds.

We found these little candies to have an authentic (non-sugarfree) taste and mouthfeel and because they come in small little pouches, they make excellent take-alongs for trips to the movie. So while your friends are scarfing Junior Mints, you'll be enjoying your little indulgence without the ill effects your friends will suffer. (Note to Candymakers: When are we getting a low-carb, sugarfree Junior Mint??)

Our favorite is the chocolate covered raisins, but no surprise there — we all miss raisins and hence these are the highest carb count of all the candies. Still, all are do-able on an occasional basis (how all treats should be taken) and these ARE quite delish! They are sweetened with maltitol as are most sugarfree chocolates. See review below for our caveat on that.

All varieties of Sugarless Confections are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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05.14.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Pure De-Lite Truffles
Let's talk chocolates... rich confections made with a mélange of melted chocolate, cocoa butter, cream, various flavors and maltitol sweetener that are soft, delicate, and nearly decadent. Nearly. We're talking about the new
Pure De-Lite sugarfree Chocolate Truffles candies. Offering low-carbers a small one-bite treat when the mood strikes, they come in Orange, Amaretto, Hazelnut, Mint, and Peanut Butter.

Someone in the group asked me where truffles got their name and another believed they contained a wild-growing fungus that grew underground. In reality, these confections were so named because the original, cocoa-coated and rather misshapen truffle resembled the famous and rare fungus of the same name. But that's where the similarity ends.

Pure De-Lite Truffles We note here, as we do with all sugarfree candies where the manufacturer discounts all maltitol completely, that these candies in reality do contain what we estimate to be about 3 grams of effective carbs each. They're really scrumptious, so one or two won't derail you and will cure a chocolate craving fast (they are SO rich, it's unlikely ANYONE would want to eat more than two.) Also of note, remember maltitol eaten in excess can cause a laxative effect. Again, you probably couldn't eat enough of them to hurt.

As for our favorites... My personal favorite is the Orange, but the Mint was top vote getter with the group, followed by Peanut Butter. Espresso got the least votes as some felt it had a bitter taste (though I personally didn't detect it.) All in all, pretty darn good!  All varieties of Pure De-Lite Chocolate Truffles are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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01.23.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Synergy Diet Better Crunch Bars Remember sitting in a dark theatre, waiting for the movie to begin and tearing open (quietly, now...) that Nestlé Crunch Bar to nibble with the previews? Along with Junior Mints, this was my favorite cinema-trip treat!   (Okay, okay, I was a pushover for popcorn too...) 

Since those old sugar-filled days are no longer a part of my world, I didn't expect to truly get the chance to experience that chocolate/crunch indulgence again. But this past weekend, I — along with our group of reviewers — did just that.

Synergy Diet's "Better" line of low-carb treats has developed a chocolate-crunch clone they call Better Crunch Bars. They come individually wrapped in cello and are about the size of a standard candy bar (a 42 gram bar). Discounting the sugar alcohols in the bar, they come in at 1/2 carb gram per bar, but since the polyol used is lactitol, we think a safer carb count for those sensitive to sugar alcohols is around 4 grams per bar. For this large, satisfying bar, that's still a great carb bargain. The crunch comes from soy crispies (a mix of soy protein isolate, rice flour, and malt), but you won't be able to tell them from standard crisped rice.

So how did we enjoy them? Well, appropriately enough... we took in a movie   and brought back a few memories. So when we saw the opening ad for candy from the concession stand, we didn't feel so deprived!   (By the way, we saw "Thirteen Days" — an excellent film.)

To get Better Crunch Bars, Visit Synergy Diet to order!


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01.02.01 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Darrell Lea Milk Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans Sometimes I think if left to our own devices, we'd just go ahead and cover almost everything with chocolate! And why not? Now that we have such delicious, low-carb, sugarless chocolate options, new treats and confections are a natural progression... This week, we got to try two such new treats. First up, Darrell Lea Milk Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans!

They're a delightful combination of chocolate and coffee that some of our reviewers just couldn't get enough of! In case you're not familiar with these (some had previously loved the sugared versions), they're natural, flavorful coffee beans, surrounded by sweet, satisfying sugarfree chocolate — the perfect candy for coffee lovers and those who need a "pick-me up."

One of our members discovered they adored a couple dropped into their cup of café au lit, and another decided they'll be keeping her company on her office desk each day.

Darrell Lea Milk Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts Next up are the
Darrell Lea Milk Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts! Now I've been going down the grocery aisle drooling over the Mauna Loa chocolate macadamias for months now. They always tried calling my name, but being the dedicated low-carber I am, I would never listen. Now, they need not call. The sugarfree ones are simply delish!

I'm not the only one hooked by these. One of our reviewers plans to buy several bags and keep her gumball machine at work filled with these little gems instead. An inspired idea!

The espresso beans are only a trace of carbs and the macadamias are 1 carb for every three pieces. Both are available online from
The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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10.28.00 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

Pure De-lite Low Carb Bars Ready for still more Belgium Chocolate? I thought so... it's not something you just get too much of, is it? One of the newest 'kids on the block' is the Pure De-lite Chocolate Bars from CarbLite (not to be confused with Carbolite.)

They offer up an unusually pure tasting chocolate, with no graininess or fake taste we were able to detect. They are available in the following varieties:
Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate with Coconut, Milk Chocolate with Peanuts, Milk Chocolate with Almonds, and White Chocolate.

They range from 3.6 carbs per bar for the Peanut variety to only 1 carb for the Dark Chocolate. As always, these values reflect the count with the maltitol excluded from the totals. Remember, sugar alcohols such as maltitol should not be consumed in large quantities, so be sensible with your indulgences in these bars. That being said, I have to say, you will want to indulge as these are so smooth and so mimic their full-sugar counterparts that it might be easy to get carried away. We liked all flavors equally well with the exception of the peanut bar. Several of us found them slightly bitter with a hint of an aftertaste.

All varieties also melted satisfactorily and are therefore suitable for cooking and baking needs.

Pure De-lite Chocolate Bars are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.



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10.23.00 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Gummy Candies Here's a little something just for fun. No, they don't pack any protein or nutritional content to speak of. But they are tasty. And they are fun! So what are they? As you've probably gathered from the photos, they're Gummy Candies like the ones you probably liked (or at least your kids liked) before you went low-carb. They're made by Carbolite and come in two varieties. There's the Club Mix (little soft flavored jellies in the shapes of Hearts, Spades, Clubs and Diamonds) and there's the Gummy Sharks — the ones your kids will Gummy Sharks and Club Mix probably chose. The sharks are chewier and the flavors more intense. The colors are bright and they can be used to 'decorate' kids' low-carb/sugarfree desserts. Try making the Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Frosting recipe (make the frosting vanilla and use some blue food coloring to make an "ocean".) Then "float" a shark on top of each one. You can use the club mix to decorate a low-carb torte for a card party! Use your imagination. Or, just nibble them for fun.

The jellies are made with gelatin and sweetened with Maltitol (a sugar alcohol), so don't go overboard (no shark pun intended...)

Carbolite Jelly Candies are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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10.05.00 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Perlege Sugarfree Chocolate Bars
"Ready for more chocolate?" That's what I said to the panel members as I pulled a stack of Sugarfree Belgium Chocolate Bars from a box. It doesn't seem to matter how many chocolate treats are available to us — and it's more and more all the time now — we still get excited at the prospect of something new to enjoy. I have to confess here that I had been tempted to the point of breaking before the meeting and had actually sampled a square of the dark chocolate version myself. So I knew they were gonna love these.

Perlege Sugarfree Chocolate Bars These sweet creamy delicacies are Belgium Chocolate from the sugarfree line of
Perlége Signature Confections . They are imported from Australia, but made in the Belgian style. They are available in Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, and White Chocolate. Everyone had a favorite (though I had a tough time deciding between White and Dark), but all are good and they're very rich.

The bars are large! Remember those big flat bars that you used to buy (or maybe even sell) for the school/church/club fund-raisers years ago? These are pretty much just like those. Keep this in mind when you check both carb counts and price — they are 24 square bars. As an example — their U.S. labeling of the Milk Chocolate (a sticker affixed to the back of the package) lists their carb count at 8.9 grams per entire bar or approximately 1/3 gram per square. This is because the maltitol in the bars (a sugar alcohol) is omitted from the carb count because it has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels. However, in original labeling from Australia (where they separate the sugar alcohol, but add them in with the carb counts, it shows the entire bar at 50 grams or about 2 grams per square. Many people count sugar alcohols at a 1 for 4 ratio so if you do, assume 1/2 gram of carbs per square — still a good carb bargain. As always with sugar alcohols, don't overdo.

The bars are great frozen (though they do change color), and they melt well also. I love having white chocolate to melt for cooking, and these melt even better than the Carbolite bars.

You might want to look at getting a good supply of "legal" chocolate in for the holidays, so the not-at-all-legal stuff you find all around you doesn't need to tempt you. You can order these bars online from The Low Carb Dieter's Page.


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08.21.00 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Splenda Sweetened Meringue Buttons and Nests Every now and then we run across a product that sort of defies a "category." We had trouble deciding if the new Splenda Sweetened Meringue Buttons and Nests belonged with baking items, snack foods, or candies. They're really versatile and quite tasty. If you've missed the crunch and marshmallow-like taste of meringue cookies, but don't have the time to make them yourself, these are a great little "staple" to have on-hand.

First, there's the little "buttons". These seem more of a candy/snack than anything else. They're just the right size to pop in your mouth to curb a craving for something sinfull. Imagine those little almost-crunchy marshmallow bits that were a part of the carb-laden Lucky Charms cereal, made bigger and crunchier and you have these. Then there's the "nests" — about 3 1/2 inch circles that look like... well, "nests." They're great with berries or a warm melted cream cheese topping. They can also be crushed and dusted over a low-carb pie or tarts. Get creative with these!

Containing isomalt, egg whites, vinegar, vanilla, Splenda and gums; these items are classified as zero-carb. That's because the minimal effect of the sugar alcohol "isomalt" convinces them to exclude these from the carb count. If you are sensitive to sugar alcohols, you might do best to count these as 1 carb for every 2 buttons and 3 carbs per nest. Still a great carb bargain. And I swear these things are addictive! These little meringues are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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08.08.00 :: Product Recommendation & Review:

Splenda Sweetened Chocolate Covered Almonds Our desire for chocolate is being met (and met, and met) with the introduction of more and more sugarfree options. Our group recently had an opportunity to try the new
Carbolite chocolate bars and bites ! They come in 1.75 oz bars consisting of 16 small squares (each 7-gram/2-square serving is .5 grams of carbs) and are available in Milk, Dark, and White Chocolates, plus Chocolate Almond (milk chocolate with almond pieces in them.) The "Bites" come in a box with 14 individually wrapped pieces of either milk or dark chocolates. Some of you may find the "bites" work well not only for portability, but for help with portion control.

First, let's talk taste. These are very good bars indeed. Quite smooth, true to the chocolate flavors you remember, and a good "mouth feel" (no greasiness or waxiness you sometimes get with sugarfree.) They all melt well, but the milk and dark chocolates melt the best. Excellent for "drizzling" over your low-carb desserts (great over LC vanilla or orange cheesecake!) They also worked pretty well in the freeze/break-in-pieces/bake in recipes category.

Keep in mind, though, that these are not "zero carb" (every 4 squares is 1 carb), and that because they are made with maltitol, eating too much will give you unpleasant (bathroom related) side effects. It's important to note that the maltitol has been omitted from the carb count (a common practice with low-carb treats of late) because they have minimal if any effect on blood sugar levels. However, if you are sensitive to these or other sugar alcohols, it's best to count each 2 squares as 4 grams and use these as an occasional treat or a recipe ingredient.

Of the bars we've tried so far, these take top honors. Just don't over-do. These treats are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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06.26.00 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Splenda Sweetened Chocolate Covered Almonds I've always loved almonds - long before low-carbing. Lucky thing, since they can play such a great low-carb role in my diet now. But one of my favorites was always the candied almonds. Now enter these great Darrell Lea Chocolate Covered Almonds ! Sweetened with Splenda and a mix of sugar alcohols, the chocolate coating is satisfyingly creamy and sweet. Just a few will take care of a chocolate craving quick. Since the one caveat about these tasty morsels is that their sugar alcohol — Lactitol — can have a laxative effect in large quantities, you wouldn't want to over-eat them anyway. We liked them best chilled as a snack or broken over vanilla ice cream. (To break them, we froze them in a Ziploc bag, then smacked them with a meat pounder to break into small pieces.)

These treats are available from The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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05.13.00 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Ricci Sugar Free Candy If you haven't had the chance to try the Ricci Sugar Free Candies yet, you're missing a real treat. Made by the folks at Darrell Lea (see our review of their chocolate bars further down this page), Ricci is their division that makes hard candies and soft taffy-like chews. The taste is incredible and each time I've had them out for company or on my office desk (and they're beautiful displayed in a pretty candy dish!), people eat them up! Even non-low-carbers. They just taste great.

Is there a catch? Well, only a little one... while they are marketed as carb-free, they actually are made with sugar alcohols as well as Splenda so they do have trace carbs and could add up if you are binging on them.

There's also the side-effects of sugar alcohols. So eat them sensibly and they can add a bit of luxurious indulgence to your low-carb lifestyle!

The hard candies come in Rockamelon (a spicy cantaloupe), Green Apple, Lemon, Orange, Blackcurrant (grape-blackberry flavor), Raspberry and Mint. The soft chews come in Mango (a very tropical flavor!), Caramel (great for making chocolate turtles!), Orange, Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Licorice, and Mint (a cool after-dinner type mint.) Favorites at our house are the hard rockamelon, green apple and lemon, and the soft strawberry, caramel, mango, and mints.

Where to get them? For an always good selection, try The Low Carb Connoisseur.


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11.25.99 :: Product Recommendation & Review:
Darrell Lea Chocolate The makers of Darrell Lea Fine Chocolates — a well-known chain of chocolatiers in Australia — have made a Splenda sweetened chocolate bar that's hard to tell from the sugar sweetened variety. It beats the pants off those sorbitol/maltitol, etc candies available here in the states for so many years. Not only is it MUCH tastier, it doesn't rely on carb-filled sugar alcohols to get its sweetness, so it truly is low in carbs. It's only about 1 carb per bar allowing for fiber. It's very rich, though, so eating more than two squares is unlikely.   They're available from
The Low Carb Connoisseur or Netrition.
UPDATE (MARCH 2001) -- since reviewing these bars a year and a half ago, we find that they have now begun adding sugar alcohol to the bars — lactitol to be exact, so assume them to be more truthfully 2-3 carbs per bar, and we recommend more strongly not eating an entire bar in any one sitting.



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