It is a common trick in marketing. Add a popular healthy ingredient to a product that is… not healthy. Then make a bunch of hype about how GREAT the new formulation is, because it contains superfood X, or Protein, or whatever. Trouble is, they quite often don’t measure up.
I had someone ask me in the gym this past week why I wasn’t carrying the new Bounty, Mars and Snickers Protein Bars. They had heard that another gym had them and they were told they were amazing and delicious! So of course, I looked up the bars. I am always looking for good products that fit my standards and will help people work towards their health goals, but I refuse to carry crap, I do not care how popular it is.
Bounty Protein Bars: 190 calories, 6g of fat (4g saturated, 2g not listed), 17g carbs including 8g sugar, and 19g protein. Looking deeper, we find that sugar is the #2 ingredient. Then there are some fats that might contain trans fat – depending on how they were processed, which they do not say. More sugar, and some agents to create texture etc, and then Maltitol – a sugar alcohol that gives you really bad gas, or explosive diarrhea depending on your sensitivity to it. The other 2 bars had pretty much the same stuff. So these bars are a ‘no thank you’ for our gym. This is why we have Quest bars…. fewer ingredients, more protein, less crap, but even with that – bars and things like them are a short term, temporary, once in a while food when you cannot get real food. (Except for Hammer Bars – those are actually all food, no junk, but less protein).
Greek Yogurt has fallen for the same trap. Chobani Greek yogurt boasts about being a great source of protein! Which it is of course… but it also has the same amount of sugar as a small bowl of Froot Loops at 13g. The #2 ingredient is ‘evaporated cane juice’…… uuuum… that’s a really fancy way of saying: sugar. If you want to flavour your Greek Yogurt, add some stevia, or berries or a good protein powder like Allmax Isoflex.
Granola bars that have all manner of ‘good for you’ marketing all over the box…. But when we look at the label we find 8 grams of fat, 3 measly grams of protein and 28 grams of carbs with 11 grams of sugar. No thanks.
I still remember when the nurse told us to start feeding our son Cheerios. They are healthy, whole grain oats and they will help him with his finger dexterity. Cool. Off I went to the store to grab a box, but WAIT a second….. (Dad reads label). Sugar, Trisodium Phosphate (TSP: paint cleaner) and other stuff….. so I got the organic ‘Oaty O’s’ that didn’t have those ingredients. I see that in the past 6 years they have changed to tripotassium phosphate. Slightly less bad for you. ‘But Uncle Scotty, the FDA has cleared this ingredient, and Snopes says it’s ok.’ True. It is well tolerated, and you could argue that there isn’t too much in breakfast cereal. But if you also eat other boxed foods containing it, then your daily load increases, and my point is: WHY? Why have it? You know what doesn’t have TSP in it? Real food. Oatmeal. Rice. Potatoes. Meat. Vegetables.
Look…. I am not a saint and am not thinking we should all go live on an organic farm in the hills and reject civilization, I just don’t think we need to ADD to the chemical load of our food for no good reason. My son ate the generic brand ‘Cheerios’ and never cared that it didn’t have TSP in it.
If you REALLY want to eat a candy bar, great! Eat a candy bar. And the Bounty protein candy bar is a little better than the usual one with no protein. But please do not pretend it is good for us.