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Soreen is a delicious brand of malt loaf. It’s sweet, sticky and very moreish – but, is Soreen healthy? Or something you should keep for special occasions – let’s investigate.
This article was reviewed by Jennifer May, Clinical Nutritionist. See more about her and our editorial accuracy process here
This post contains affiliate links and I get a small commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Advice does not replace the opinions of a doctor or other medical professional.
In this post, you’ll discover everything you need to determine if Soreen is good for you – or not. We’ll look at factors like fat, calories, sugar, sodium content – and more.
And, because it can confuse people, we’ll explain what Soreen actually is!
So, here goes…
NB: This post was first published in 2013 and has been updated a few times since! The last update was on the 4th July 2023 and the nutritional figures have been adjusted to take in the new vegan-friendly formulation.
Is Soreen Healthy?
Spoiler Alert: Yes, Soreen is pretty healthy.
To come up with this opinion though, we need to look at some numbers. Specifically, the amount of calories, fat, sugar and fibre it contains. This has changed recently as they have reformulated the product slightly, so, as of the day I write this…
Soreen Nutrition At a Glance
An original, unsliced loaf of Soreen malt loaf weighs 190g and contains 604 calories.
The suggested serving size is 26.3g, which is around a seventh of a loaf – which contains
2.26g of protein
16.4g of carbohydrate
5.6g of sugar
0.76g of fat (0.1 saturated)
1.1g of fibre
0.13g of salt
So, what does this mean for our health… let’s break it all down and look at the important numbers in more detail.
How Many Calories Are in Soreen?
A 26g slice of ‘naked’ Soreen has 84 calories.
If you add butter to it, that will increase. One teaspoon of butter has 34 calories so A slice of Soreen with butter has 118 calories. If you use a teaspoon of low-fat spread that will only add around 17 calories (depending on the brand).
That means it fits the good snack criteria for calories as it’s suggested by the British Nutrition Foundation that our snacks should only be around 200 calories – and so, if you look at it on that parameter, and eat the recommended portion, Soreen is healthy.
But remember if you do top it with butter, margarine, or another spread, try and spread it thinly.
How Much Fat is in Soreen?
To class as a low-fat food, a food needs to have fewer than 5 per cent of its calories come from fat – and less than 1 per cent from saturated fat.
Soreen gets around 3 per cent of its calories from fat, and very little of that is saturated fat which makes it healthy with regards to its fat content.
How Much Sugar is in Soreen?
According to the NHS, we should eat no more than 30g of added sugars a day and a low-sugar food should have no more than 5g of sugar per 100g, a high-sugar food has 22.5g or more of sugar – Soreen has 21.5g of sugar per 100g – eek!
However, it gets a bit more complicated because some of the sugar in Soreen comes from dried fruit which skews the numbers a little. Actual sugar (in the form of sugar syrup) is the fourth ingredient on the ingredient listing, after raisins- so when it comes to added, non-fruit, sugar, we can say Soreen is moderately healthy.
However, it still compares well to other snacks with Soreen saying the loaf contains, on average, 32 per cent less sugar than the average snack bar and 40 per cent less sugar than the average cake, which is probably the nearest comparable product.
What About Fibre?
Each suggested serving contains 1.1g of fibre a slice – a 100g banana has 1.5g of fibre and 100g of apple has 2.4g so, the Soreen isn’t too bad.
How Much Sodium is in Soreen?
A standard serving of Soreen has 0.13g of salt – which converts to 0.05mg of sodium which is a tiny amount, so, when it comes to sodium, Soreen is doing okay.
Does This Mean Soreen is Healthy?
With three definite ticks in the health boxes, and two moderate ticks, yep, I guess you could say that Soreen is healthy – unless you do what I do and slather it with so much butter you add another 200 calories and vast amounts of fat. Then it won’t tick so many boxes.
So, practise eating your Soreen unadulterated -or, if you do want something mashy on the top, try a small piece of banana which will further increase the fibre content.
Soreen and Your Eating Plan
The advice above is for the general population, but if you’re following a specific eating plan, you might be wondering if Soreen fits into it – so, here’s what you need to know…
Soreen and Sports People
Adding weight to the idea that Soreen is healthy, is the fact that it’s used by sports teams to give players an energy boost during training.
They do this because you get a quick sugar boost from the dried fruit, but, because of the fibre in the loaf you don’t also get a sudden crash but, instead, a longer sustained burst of energy.
In fact, when someone on Twitter asked the Soreen team if Soreen was Low GI (which means it converts slowly to energy in the system) they said that yes, yes it was – so it’s definitely a good fuel for exercise.
To extend this further, some trainers suggest spreading it with peanut butter which adds protein and fat which causes the loaf to digest more slowly. Jennifer May, who checks our nutrition posts for accuracy, also suggests you might want to try avocado – as it has a buttery feel but also adds some fibre and healthy fat. She also suggests using cottage cheese to increase the protein content of your snack.
However, you only really need to fuel up in this way before an extended workout – if you’re just going for a walk around the park (which burns around 150 calories per 30 minutes) the calories you burned will be mostly wiped out in a few bites, which brings us to another question…
Is Soreen Good for Weight Loss?
No food will magically lead to weight loss, but, Soreen could help you stay on track with a lower-calorie eating plan for a couple of reasons.
As we said above, a standard slice of Soreen contains just 84 calories That’s an acceptable amount for a snack once or twice a day and easy to build into a calorie-controlled plan.
It’s also sweet so that might satisfy afternoon sugar cravings, and, because it’s quite dense and low GI, it will keep you fuller for longer, than, say, the same number of calories of chocolate.
Soreen also points out that a standard serving contains 43 per cent fewer calories than the average cake bar so things are looking good.
How to Make Soreen More Weight Loss-Friendly
- The first way to do this is to ensure that whatever you are topping it with doesn’t add heaps more calories, try and eat it solo if possible.
- Ditto if you’re having it with a hot drink in the afternoon, make sure you’re not adding too much sugar or another calorific additive to that.
- The next thing is to make sure you’re not cutting too big a portion – remember, the suggested portion size for a slice of Soreen is 26g. Ideally, weigh this out as it’s a lot smaller than you might think it is.
- If, like me, you can’t be trusted to cut a standard slice, the nice people at Soreen have created a couple of different products that help you resist temptation – and swapping to these can really help make Soreen better for weight loss.
The Sliced Loaf: Rather than cutting slices yourself, using a ready-sliced loaf means everything is portioned out for you. According to the Soreen nutritional information, one slice of this contains just 78 calories – a little bit less than the suggested serving size of the cut-your-own loaf.
The Malt Snack Pack: This is a double-slice pack of Soreen, where the slices are already spread with spread for you – removing all potential temptation. This contains 144 calories per pack. You’ll find this in Tesco.
Malt LunchBox Loaves: The Lunchbox Loaves are individual mini loaves of Soreen. These contain just 90 calories per loaf and also have slightly less sugar than the original recipe
Also, because of their shape, it’s actually tricky to spread these with butter, so, you might end up consuming fewer calories swapping to this shape. These also come in other flavours and we’ll look at whether these expansions to the Soreen Lunchbox Loaves range are healthy further down.
How Many Slimming World Syns are in Soreen?
While they don’t name the brand in this source, according to the Slimming World Syns list, a 25g slice of malt loaf is 3.5 Syns.
The number is slightly higher if you use the rough calculation that many Slimming World members use for treats which is that 20 calories equals one Syn – that would mean a suggested 26.3g serving of Soreen would have 4 Syns.
A Soreen Lunchbox Loaf would have 4.5 Syns
How Many Weight Watchers Points Are in Soreen?
According to this Points calculator, there are 3 points in a suggested serving of Soreen.
Is Soreen Gluten-Free?
Unfortunately not as it contains both malt, which comes from barley, and wheat and both of these foods contain gluten.
The Soreen people are aware of how disappointing this is but say they just haven’t managed to replicate the taste without those ingredients.
I haven’t managed to find a ready-to-eat gluten-free malt loaf anywhere online – I did come up with a couple of possible alternatives…
The Genius Gluten Free Fruit Loaf uses treacle and so will give you that slightly smokey, sticky taste if not the texture. Click here to have a look.
Or, you might want to make your own gluten-free malt loaf – try this recipe from Glutarama looks suitably squidgy and is totally gluten-free.
Is Soreen Low-FODMAP?
Monash University, the gurus of all things FODMAP, haven’t specifically analysed it so you can’t give a clear rating to it – but, considering it contains wheat, malted barley and dried fruit – all of which contain forms of FODMAP sugars – it’s possible that it might set off symptoms in people sensitive to the FODMAPs in these foods.
Is Soreen Vegan?
It is now.
The last time I updated this post the answer to this was that the malt loaf version of Soreen wasn’t Vegan-friendly (although other products in the range were), but Soreen has tweaked the formula by replacing the milk-based ingredients that it used to contain with plant-based options and now it’s vegan-friendly.
A Few Other Questions on Soreen and Health
Are the Other Soreen Lunchbox Loaves Healthy?
The above analysis relates to the malt loaf versions of Soreen – but, the range now includes all sorts of different flavours and formats – including Apple, Strawberry and Banana flavour lunchbox loaves.
The nutritional information for these varies very slightly – but, they still all tick the healthy criteria for calories, fat, sugar and fibre so, yes, the other flavours of Soreen Lunchbox Loaves can be classed as healthy.
Are Soreen Bars Healthy?
Soreen Lift Bars are another new addition to the Soreen range. These include extra vitamin B12 than the traditional Soreen recipe which means they can help support your energy levels – hence the word lift in the name.
The suggested daily intake of vitamin B12 is 1.5mcg a day, the bars contain between 0.29 and 0.55ug (ug is another way of saying mcg) per bar depending on flavour, so, while they shouldn’t be your only source of this in your diet, they can help contribute to your intake – especially if you’re vegan as vegan sources of vitamin B12 can be hard to find.
But, does that energy boost also count as a health boost? Looking at the nutritional information they do contain around the same nutrient profile as the original malt loaf – but note that each bar is between 133-139 calories which is more than the Lunchbox Loaves so they aren’t the lowest calorie choice in the range.
Is Soreen Ultra-Processed?
This is a controversial question as, as yet, there is no formal definition of an ultra-processed food.
The most commonly used criteria is called NOVA, and as part of that classification, an ultra-processed food is one with five or more ingredients – including substances extracted from foods and substances derived from further processing of food components. Ultra-processed foods can also contain food additive classes such as colours, flavours, non-sugar sweeteners, and processing aids.
Using this, Soreen would be classed as an ultra-processed food as it does contain more than five ingredients, and these include processed ingredients like sugar syrup.
However, other experts say that the NOVA classification lacks nuance and doesn’t take into account the positive role that the addition of some ultra-processed foods might have elsewhere in the diet. An example, one expert I interviewed used for this would be if adding a processed cheese sauce on top of vegetables makes someone enjoy a fantastically healthy plate of cauliflower and broccoli that they wouldn’t eat ‘naked’ – should you really tell them to stop eating the sauce if that means they also skip the vegetables?
The same can be said for Soreen. Yes, an apple has fewer ingredients, but, if you wouldn’t reach for an apple in the afternoon, but eating a slice of Soreen mid-afternoon helps stop hunger pangs so you don’t reach for a chocolate bar on the way home, is adding it to your diet a bad thing?
As with anything to do with nutrition, there’s no such thing as a bad food, only a bad diet – one or two processed foods really aren’t going to do any harm, but if 90 per cent of your diet comes out of packets, you might want to start looking at what you can replace with fresher foods like fruits, nuts and wholegrains!
What to Read Next
If you liked this and are wondering whether some of your other favourite foods are healthy, you might want to look at some of our other posts in this series. Take a look at…
Or, if you’re wondering about another element to starting your day, you might want to check out Is Weetabix Healthy?
If tea is more your thing, but you’re a bit bored by normal tea, then you might be wondering about Chai Latte – and we cover that, and Chai tea in our post on Is Chai Latte Healthy?
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.