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December 1, 2000
Health Bars Subject of Gossip Show
NEW YORK--In a broadcast that ran on Nov. 8, the daily gossip show Extra asked"Are Health Bars What They Claim To Be?" The program's transcript,found on the show's Web site, stated "You've seen those so-called 'healthbars' at your favorite gym...they promise to boost your energy without boostingyour fat intake. If you're saying 'fat chance,' you're more accurate than youmight think."
The show had food scientist Marvin Winston test the fat content in 10different bars and see how they measured up to what was on their labels. Winstonfound that three bars failed his test--twice. Those that failed were the KashiGo-Lean strawberry vanilla yogurt bar, Met-Rx's chocolate graham cracker chipbar and Clif's crunchy peanut butter bar.
For example, the Kashi bar's label claimed the bar had 4 g of fat per servingbut actually had closer to 6 g, which is "twice as much as even some candybars supposedly contain," Extra stated. When the show presented thisinformation to Kashi, the company acknowledged that "some production runswere mistakenly overcoated by our manufacturer."
Clif Bar told the show it already knew of the problem and that it is"now in the process of modifying the bar's formula." However, Met-Rxstood behind the quality of its products, saying that the addition of chocolatechips caused variations in fat content in that particular bar. However, someother manufacturers' bars even had less fat than they claimed, such as Steel Proand Atkins bars.
"You can't believe everything you read on the label," Winston said,with Extra interviewing one gym owner who commented, "Wronginformation on the bars would undermine the entire reason for eating these bars.Someone on a diet lives by those grams of fat, those calories that are on thelabel."
Nonetheless, Winston told Extra that as a rule of thumb, the biggerthe company, the more reliable the content label. Soon after the show was aired,other manufacturers responded by calling for more accurate labeling in thishighly competitive market category.
"With over 100 bar manufacturers currently competing for market share inthe category, it is crucial that we remain true to the integrity of the productwe put on shelves for consumers," said Cindy Vallar, PowerBar generalmanager. She added that energy bars are no longer just geared toward athletesand that precise nutrient labeling is essential for enlisting and ensuringconsumer trust.
For a synopsis of the broadcast, visit www.extratv.comand search under "Daily News."
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