It seems somewhat counter intuitive to mix science with food. Sure, I can grasp that research helps us understand how the body works and how different foods affect us, but, at some point, it’s never really about science. Food is about taste, about being able to enjoy what you eat.

To that point, food companies are continually trying to create a variety of culinary offering which promise great taste as well as great nutrition. It’s a difficult line to walk, since inherently, the two concepts don’t often work in harmony.

Medifast is one of the companies working towards accomplishing this feat. Recently, I sat down to sample a few of their offerings. They included: Chili Cheese Puffs, Blueberry oatmeal, as well as their Chocolate and Caramel Crunch bars. Each item is designed to be heart healthy, meaning they are quite low in fat, and contain an abundance of beneficial vitamins and minerals. As an added bonus, most of the items I sampled were Kosher and vegetarian friendly. Thus, for anyone dedicated to maintaining a prescribed healthy diet, there is a great deal of potential among the Medifast products.

While I have little doubt when it comes to the healthy benefits of the Medifast offerings, my job isn’t about touting health. It’s to evaluate how food taste independently of anything else. So, with that, here’s my general take on the Medifast samples. None of them were misses, but none of them were really hits either. If you take into consideration how healthy the products are, they did a rather good job. None of the items were bland or totally boring. However, I would say that compared with the taste of their unhealthy counterparts, it’s not an easy sell. Still, compared with other foods designed to be healthy, the products from Medifast are right up there in taste. I’ll break each item down individually, though.

The Chili Nacho-Cheese Puffs: These were light, airy, and crunchy. There was a pleasant hint of smoke that worked well with the mild chili flavors and distinct hints of nacho cheese. Compared to similar products, like Pirate’s Booty Puffs, they hold there own. However, if you’re simply after taste, I’m afraid you’ll have to risk consuming cheese puffs with a much higher fat content.

Caramel Crunch Bar: This bar has a nice, light crunch that balanced nicely with the chewy layer of caramel. It’s low in fat and only has 110 calories, so there’s no issue health wise. It’s not overly sweet and there a slight buttery element among the flavors, which is actually rather nice. However, there’s also an element to the flavor that doesn’t taste quite right, that seems a bit artificial. It just doesn’t quite compare to the real stuff if all you care about is taste.

Chocolate Crunch Bar: This bar had a nice texture, being balanced between crispy and chewy. The chocolate is semi-sweet, with suggestions of real cocoa. The aftertaste, however, is slightly bitter and like the Caramel, a bit artificial. Of course, the bar is healthy, with only 3 grams of fat and 110 calories. So, if your only concern is health, the bar is actually pretty good. If you want great taste, though, you’ll have to give up on healthy.

Blueberry oatmeal: For best result here, use less water and the minimum cook-time. Stir and let it sit until it comes together. Once ready to eat, the oatmeal is smooth but not lacking in the texture of a few oats. The blueberry flavor is subtle, so it’s not overpowering. It stands up to many other instant oatmeals I’ve had in terms of flavor, and the extra healthy ingredients are a good bonus.

By Michael Perkins