Product Reviews
Nutrition Bars Review (Energy Bars, Fiber Bars, Protein Bars, Meal Replacement Bars, and Whole Food Bars)


Products selected represent those commonly sold and/or available nationally in the U.S. purchased products on the open market through retail stores, on-line retailers, catalogues, or multi-level marketing companies. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.

Testing Methods:
Nutrition bar products were tested for their total calories, total fat, poly- and monounsaturated fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, protein, total carbohydrates, total sugars, and sodium content. Products were also tested for sugar alcohols if any were labeled. All products were first analyzed for their specific nutritional components using AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Communities International) methods in an independent laboratory. Products not passing this initial assay for any specific nutrient were tested in a second independent laboratory utilizing similar AOAC methods.

Analyses for lead, cadmium, arsenic and sodium were performed using ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy) method in an independent laboratory. Products not having passing levels of any of these elements were then re-tested in a second independent laboratory using similar methods.

The identities of the products were not disclosed to the laboratories performing the testing.

Passing Score: *
To achieve a "Pass" in the testing, a product had to:
  1. Specify the amount of all nutrients in the product that are required by the FDA to be stated in the Nutrition Facts panel for foods or in the Supplement Facts panel for dietary supplements.
  2. Meet its label claims within a specified range for each nutritional component as indicated below:
    • Total Fat (within 1 gram or 15% of claim, whichever is greater; or, if claiming zero total fat, no more than 0.5 gram/serving);
    • Saturated Fat (within 0.5 gram/serving or 15% above claim, whichever is greater);
    • Trans Fat (within 0.5 gram or 15% above claim, whichever is greater);
    • Cholesterol (within 4 mg/serving or 15% above claim, whichever is greater);
    • Sodium (within 50 mg/serving or 15% above claim, whichever is greater; or, if claiming zero sodium, no more than 5 mg/serving);
    • Protein (within 1 gram/serving or 15% of claim, whichever is greater);
    • Total Carbohydrates (within 5 gram/serving or 15% of claim, whichever is greater; or, if claiming zero to 3g/serving of carbohydrates, within 1g of claim);
    • Total Sugars (within 1 gram/serving or 15% above claim, whichever is greater; or, if claiming zero sugar, within 0.5 gram/serving of claim)
    • Sugar alcohols (within 1 gram/serving or 15% above claim, whichever is greater, and list all sugar alcohols detected at one gram or higher)
    • Total Calories (within +/- 20% of claim)
  3. Heavy metal contamination:
    • Lead, cadmium and arsenic. Products with single serving weights of 5 grams or more, not to exceed 2.5 micrograms of lead per serving nor exceed 4.0 micrograms of lead per recommended daily serving. For products with single serving weights of less than 5 grams, shall not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in supplements in a recommended daily serving: 0.5 mcg of lead per daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.8 mcg for supplements containing 1,000 mg/day or more of elemental calcium and 0.5 mcg for supplements containing specific other minerals**. For supplements not marketed for use by children, provides an additional allowance of 0.5 mcg if containing 250 to 499 mg/day of elemental calcium or 0.8 mcg if containing 500 to 999 mg/day of elemental calcium and an allowance of 0.5 mcg for if containing one whole herb (not extract) ingredient or 1.0 mcg for two or more whole herb ingredients. If a maximum recommended daily serving is not defined, a daily serving size will be determined and applied by CL.
    • Contain less than 0.3 micrograms of cadmium per gram (World Health Organization/ADI proposed in dried plant materials).
    • Contain less than 10 micrograms of arsenic (5 micrograms inorganic) per daily serving (EPA limit - based on 1 liter of water).
**If available for sale in California, a product that exceeds the State of California's Prop 65 limit for lead requires a warning label. However, with or without this warning label, product cannot pass if it exceeds the levels described this paragraph.

* Passing scores allow for specific margins of technical error associated with each analysis. reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.

A "Pass" was based on meeting the above criteria in either the first or second rounds of testing.

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