Zone Perfect Introduces New Bars [Nutrition Impostor]

At Fooducate we’ve long claimed that most nutrition bars are closer to candy bar than food. But that has not stopped the multi-billion bar market from continually offering consumers with more options.

Abbott Labs is no exception. It is expanding its Zone Perfect line with 2 sweet and salty additions:

ZonePerfect Sweet & Salty bars work hard for the body and the taste buds – they’re an excellent source of protein (10 grams), a good source of 19 vitamins and minerals, and are rich in antioxidants (Vitamins C & E, and Selenium). read more…

We took a closer look at the new Cashew Pretzel Bar to see what all the fuss was about.

What you need to know:

The bar is 200 calories, 3.5 teaspoons of sugar, 10 grams of protein, barely any fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals. Despite being a “salty” snack, there are only 300mg of sodium.

Here is the ingredient list:

Soy Protein Nuggets (Soy Protein Isolate, Tapioca Starch, Salt), Roasted Cashews (Cashews, Peanut Oil, Salt), Yogurt Chips (Dried Cane Syrup, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Nonfat Milk, Nonfat Yogurt Powder [Cultured Nonfat Milk], Soy Lecithin, Lactic Acid Powder [Modified Corn Starch, Lactic Acid], Natural Flavor), Pretzels (Wheat Flour, Salt, Corn Syrup, Yeast), Corn Syrup, Fructose Syrup, Caramel (Corn Syrup, Sugar, Nonfat Milk, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Glycerine, Milk Protein Concentrate, Cream, Natural Flavor, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Disodium Phosphate), Soy Protein Isolate, Brown Rice Syrup, Peanut Flour, Peanut Butter, Fructose.
Less than 2% of the Following: Glycerine, High Oleic Safflower Oil and/or High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, Xanthan Gum.
Vitamins & Minerals: Calcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, d-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Magnesium Oxide, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Pantothenate, Ferrous Fumarate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Sodium Molybdate, and Cyanocobalamin.

The wonderful source of protein is overly processed soy. The yogurt chips contain more sugar and fractionated oil (which is very high in saturated fat) than they do milk. You are welcome to count the number of instances of sugar, conveniently highlighted above. The vitamins and minerals are all added on to the product and not inherent in the actual ingredients.

In all, a lot of hard work to put together sugar, salt, and fats with some cashews and vitamins.

By the way, Abbott is a pharmaceutical company, not a food manufacturer.

What to do at the supermarket:

If you want a treat, by all means buy a snack bar. But don’t think of it as a nutritious replacement to a meal, or as a weight loss tool. Always read nutrition labels and ingredient lists. And when you see a list as long as Zone Perfect’s, stay away.

And if you’re itching for a sweet and salty snacks -  how about some raisins and roasted cashews?

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  • Jbruns333

    Is there a good healthy granola or snack bar out there? I cant find any

    • Moore 1959

      Larabar is a snack bar with VERY few ingredients. Fooducate did a blog post comparing them with Cliff Bars – interesting post. 

      • Guest

        And yet when I scanned my Larabar with the Fooducate app it scored a C+. that was the last time I used the app.

        • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Fooducate

          B- is the highest score in the “bars” category. All Larabars score either a B- or C+. The reason NO BAR scores higher is that bars should not be viewed as a food replacement, but as a snack.

  • Tshreck

    I use these bars and I love them.  Very Low glycemic index: http://tinyurl.com/3cgn3cy

  • Miranda

    Why,why,why must they add so much sugar???  A healthy snack has little or no sugar (except for the naturally occurring kind, like in a piece of fruit) I was raised with no sugar, junk food, candy or soda and I have a zero tolerance sweet tooth – meaning I DON’T LIKE the taste of “sweet”.  By now, just turned 47, and my diet is vegan,whole foods & organic only.  Any processed food is way too sweet, including the “hidden sugars” as in spaghetti sauce.  I travel with my food & beverages for the day – then I don’t have to compromise my nutritional needs for convenience, though I have to say, I live a lifestyle, and in a place, where this is affordable & doable.  If it’s possible for anyone, I really recommend it!

    • LDS

      People are addicted to….guess what? SUGAR! Most adults nowadays have the tastes of 3 year olds because their taste buds never grew up. If it’s not adorned in a pretty package and tastes just as sweet, it won’t get bought. Abbot Labs is simply keeping it’s baby customers well into adulthood. Babies get addicted to these various “foods” and grow up into addicted adults who feed the same tripe to their children. THe whole household has to have chicken fingers with dipping sauce, luncables for lunch and pizza, burgers or fries for dinner. Abbot is simply making sure it’s money chain isn’t broken… 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3KCP7FQGHZS3N2DEKMQXSL5GRU J

    Abbott laboratory, as the article states, is a pharmaceutical company. They also make thigns like artificial baby milk (otherwise known as formula)–Enfamil and Prosobee among others. 

    Not to start a war, as I know there are extenuating circumstances that necessitate those products. That said, they have a history of producing products that claim to be as good as real food but sadly fall short–and we realize more so every day.

    J in VA

  • http://ithinkitneedsmoreturbinado.blogspot.com/ S.L.

    After you guys talked with the people at Cliff bar, we made sure to pretty much only eat nutritional bars from that brand (cliff, luna, mojo….).  Even then we view them only slightly better than, say, grabbing a donut from the gas station because we forgot breakfast and we’re running late.

    P.S. I was on The Zone diet years ago & was shocked that these bars DON’T REALLY EVEN FIT INTO THE MEAL PLANNING!!!!

  • Trisha Lynn

    I am a self-educated label reading food addict and LOVE your web site. I did notice, however, that you don’t talk/blog about the dangers of GMO’s.

  • Skeptical Consumer

    Perhaps Abbott adds tons of sugar to their so-called “nutrition” bars because they — ahem — also manufacture many devices/products for diabetes care. Just a thought.