Majority of Nutrition Bars Fail Testing

October 30, 2001

2 Min Read
Majority of Nutrition Bars Fail Testing

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.--Tests conducted by show that 60 percent of nutrition bars do not meet their label claims. Thirty bars were tested by un-named commercial laboratories for accuracy of label claims of calories, fats, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins, cholesterol and sodium. The bars were purchased in April and May 2001 and tests were conducted on a single lot number per bar.

Only 12 products passed the review, with undeclared carbohydrate the most common problem. According to, 15 of the 30 products tested exceeded the claimed level of carbohydrates. Some of the products, particularly those labeled as "low carb," carried label disclaimers that glycerin had not been counted as a carbohydrate. This practice has been under fire from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Meetings earlier this year between an industry coalition and FDA resulted in no change to FDA policy that glycerin must be counted as a carbohydrate. (For more on this, visit

"The industry has grappled with how to explain that glycerin is metabolized differently in the body than other carbohydrates," said Kim Smith, director of state legislative affairs at the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA). She added that FDA had not been responsive to proposals from industry that would allow "low carb" nutrient claims, and that manufacturers were moving to relabel products to remove such claims, direct the products toward consumers on specific dietary regimens, and include glycerin in the carbohydrate count.

Other variances from label claims that reported included higher amounts of sodium (seven bars), higher amounts of fat (two products) and saturated fat (four products). All the products except two reported calories accurately, and all product claims for cholesterol and protein were within the acceptable range.

Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of, said he hopes the release of the data helps consumers understand the role nutrition bars can play in the diet. "Bars can be a part of a good diet as long as they're not a major source of nutrition," he said. "The industry is beginning to respond to FDA and we hope they will more accurately disclose what is in these products."

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