Nutrition bar labels often misleading

November 6, 2001 in Healthy Eating

Nutrition bar labels often misleading

The levels of some ingredients like carbohydrates, sodium and saturated fats in nutrition bars may exceed levels of what is stated on the product's label, according to a recent report, an American commercial testing company. purchased 30 nutrition bars--marketed as either protein bars, meal replacement bars, diet bars or energy bars--and analyzed each of the products for levels of calories, fats, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins, cholesterol and sodium.

18 of the 30 nutrition bars did not agree with the stated levels of ingredients on their labels. Fifteen of the bars had more carbohydrates then stated on the label, with some of the bars having as much as 20 grams more carbohydrate than the label indicated. Several of these products were labeled "low carb".

One explanation for the excess carbohydrates is that some manufacturers exclude the ingredient glycerin from the final carbohydrate tally. Glycerin is a sweetener and moisture additive.

In addition to the carbohydrate findings, some of the nutrition bars' sodium and saturated fat levels were as much as 2- to 3-times stated levels on the labels, and many bars contained an average of 8 grams more sugar than stated on product labels. In general, the amounts of protein, cholesterol and calories where labeled accurately on the nutrition bars that were analyzed.

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