CONSUMERLAB.COM FINDS IMPROVEMENT IN LABELING OF NUTRITION BARS BUT POTENTIAL PITFALLS EXIST
New Report Compares 20 Bars, Including Those for Protein, Fiber, Energy and Whole Food
WHITE PLAINS, NY — August 12, 2008 — Labeling on nutrition bars has become more accurate, according to a new report by ConsumerLab.com. Unlike tests in 2001 that found many carbohydrates to be undeclared and most bars mislabeled, and tests in 2005 that revealed incorrect labeling on three products, the latest tests showed no inaccuracies. However, ConsumerLab.com found an enormous range in nutritional content across the bars, creating the following potential pitfalls which consumers should watch out for:
– Saturated fat — In some "protein" bars, more than half of fats are saturated ("bad") fats. The USDA recommends that less than one-third of fat in the diet should be saturated.
– Total fat — Bars made with whole foods, particularly nuts, can have high amounts of fat -- over 30% of one bar's weight was fat. Fats have more than twice the calories per gram as carbohydrates. On a very positive note, fats from nuts are generally "good fats," i.e., not saturated.
– Sugar alcohols — To reduce calories, some bars contain many grams of sugar alcohols, such as maltitol and lactitol. While these provide far fewer calories than sugar, they can cause gas and discomfort.
– Added vitamins — Many bars are vitamin-fortified. People who also take vitamins or fortified products (such as fortified breakfast cereal) should be careful not to exceed tolerable levels. Young children should not be fed highly fortified bars.
"Bars can be a good occasional source of nutrients such as protein for people on the go, but they vary dramatically in their content," said Tod Cooperman, M.D. President of ConsumerLab.com. He added, "Before eating a bar, a consumer should be sure it has what he or she needs without unwanted ingredients."
The new report is found at www.consumerlab.com/results/nutbars.asp. It includes analyses of products from the following brands: Balance, Gnu, Greens, Kellogg's Special K, Larabar, Luna, Met-Rx, MHP Probolic, Muscletech, Odwalla, Organic Food Bar, Promax, Pure Protein, Renew Life, Slim-Fast, South Beach Diet, Soyjoy (Pharmavite), VPX Zero Impact, and Zone Perfect. ConsumerLab.com selected sixteen of the products in the report and four others were tested at the request of their manufacturers/distributors.
Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available from at www.consumerlab.com. New reviews soon to be released focus on beta-carotene, calcium, CoQ10, melatonin, vitamins A, D, and K, as well as supplements used for menopause (isoflavones, progesterone cream, and black cohosh) and for memory enhancement (acetyl-L-carnitine, ginkgo, and huperzine A).ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in Westchester County, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. For group subscriptions or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.