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What You Buy Isn't Always What You Get

You may have finally mastered the art of reading food labels, but that won't do you much good if the labels themselves are inaccurate.

A new report by an independent testing organization called ConsumerLab indicates that a majority of nutrition bars - also called energy, protein or diet bars - do not live up to their health claims and many labels mistake the amount of carbohydrates the bars contain.

Of the 30 bars tested, 18 were improperly labeled, including Atkins Advantage nutrition bar and Carb Solutions, a protein bar made by Richardson Labs.

Both companies have been scrutinized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which sent out warning letters to these and 16 other companies informing them that their bars were misbranded, adulterated and in violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Atkins Nutritionals and a coalition of other nutrition bar manufacturers have acceded to the government's demands and are now in the process of creating new labels.

 

Additionally, 15 of the 30 bars tested contained more carbohydrate than indicated on their labels.

Over the past year, low-carbohydrate bars have been among the fastest-growing segments of the $1.5 billion snack bar market. Atkins Nutritionals alone has sold more than $30 million worth of bars in the past year.

Many companies make the low-carb claim by not including the polydextrose and glycerine, both complex carbohydrate sweeteners, in their carbohydrate count. The FDA recently ruled that these and other sweeteners such as xylitol must be included in the count of total carbohydrates and bars that contain these sweeteners cannot be labeled as low-carb.

Source: ConsumerLab; www.consumerlab.com