Share ConsumerLab.com's information with family and friends — or just send to yourself. Simply provide an email address below.
You must provide a valid email address.
Your email address*:
Your name*: Send me a copy
Email Address where it's going*:
*Addresses and name will only be used for sending this message.
Additional message (optional):
Your message has been sent. Thanks for sharing!
Question: What is carrageenan? Should I be concerned that it is an ingredient in my supplement?
Answer: Carrageenan is a substance derived from red algae, or seaweed, which is used to create a smooth texture and thicken foods such as pudding, yogurt, ice-cream, whipped toppings, milk (including almond and soy milk), soups, and processed meats.
Carrageenan is sometimes also added to supplements to improve texture or thicken ingredients. It can be found in some multivitamins, vegan and vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as algal oil supplements, nutrition bars and protein drinks. It was also an ingredient in one cocoa product tested by ConsumerLab.com, although it was removed from the formulation in late 2014.
Food-grade carrageenan is considered safe by most regulatory agencies; however, some researchers who study carrageenan have raised concerns that carrageenan may be carcinogenic and cause inflammatory reactions. See the full answer >>
Question: What are sugar alcohols and why are they in my nutrition bar?
Answer: Maltitol, lactitol, and other sugar alcohols like erythritol, glycerol, sorbitol and xylitol are a common ingredient in nutrition bars because they add sweetness, but have fewer calories than sugar and less of an impact on blood sugar. They can also help to improve the texture of bars and help to retain moisture. However, they may also cause gas and bloating, or have other unwanted effects.
Be aware that unless a bar is labeled as "sugar free," manufacturers are not required to list exactly how much sugar alcohol it contains on the label. For this reason, ConsumerLab.com determines the amount of sugar alcohol in each bar it reviews, and identified bars with low and/or high levels. For more information about sugar alcohols and amounts found in popular bars, see the Nutrition Bar Review >>
As a ConsumerLab.com member, you may print a copy of this report for your personal use. You can access a special print version by clicking the “Print” icon in the upper right corner of this report or by clicking here. You can then use your web browser's print functions to print the whole report or just selected pages.
You may also email or post a link to this report using the web address above. Non-members using the link will see a free summary and can join to view the full report. Other means of copying or distributing this report, in part or full, are not permitted.
If you are sight-impaired and your computer is having trouble converting the text in this report to speech, contact us for assistance at Membership@ConsumerLab.com or by phone at 888-676-9929, ext. 2#.
Product Review:Nutrition Bars (Energy Bars, Fiber Bars, Protein Bars, Meal Replacement Bars, and Whole Food Bars)
Initial Posting: 10/1/13
How Does Your Nutrition Bar Stack Up?
Alphabetical list of brands for the 20 products tested.
GNC Total Lean Breakfast Squares
Clif Bar Energy Bar
Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber
P90X Peak Performance
Fiber One Chewy Bars
Kellogg's Special K Protein Meal Bar
Power Bar Performance Energy Bar
Garden of Life fucoPROTEIN
Glucerna Meal Bar
Marked Protein Bar
Quest Bar Protein Bar
GNC Pro Performance Pro-Crunch
MET-Rx Big 100 Colossal
GNC Pro Performance Pro-Crunch Lite
Muscletech Nitro-Tech Hardcore
Make sure the nutrition bar you use passed our tests and is right for you! Isn't your health worth it?
Nutrition bars, such as "high-protein," "energy," and "meal-replacement" bars, can be a good occasional source of nutrition and a very convenient way of adding protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients to your diet. New types of bars have emerged, focusing on features such as "fiber" or unprocessed "whole foods."
ConsumerLab.com tested, tasted, and compared the nutrients in 20 bars. Among the surprises we found:
One bar contained 30% more cholesterol than listed.
Another bar contained 25% more fat and more than double its listed cholesterol.
Most of the fat in some bars was saturated ("bad") fat.
A "whole food" bar contained more calories per gram than most other bars.
A top ingredient in some bars is sugar alcohols, which may contribute to gas and bloating.
In this comprehensive report, you'll get ConsumerLab.com's test results and valuable insights. You'll discover:
Which bars passed, and which failed, our tests of their ingredients
Key differences among the bars
Which bars ConsumerLab.com selected as "top picks" in each category (energy, fiber, high-protein, meal-replacement, and whole food)
Which bars provide the most energy and the most protein
Which bars are loaded with sugar alcohols, and which are not
How many carbs and "bad" (saturated) fats are really in bars
Which bars provide the most fiber
How each bar tastes -- some tasted great, others tasted artificial or had an aftertaste.