Kraft Milk & Granola Bars. Fortified Candy.

Here’s a note we got from a a long time reader of the Fooducate blog, Alison:

Just curious to see if you have looked at the new Kraft Milk and Granola bars? I saw these at my local grocer in with the milk! The packaging claims its a good source of fiber, 7g of whole grains, good source of vitamin D, and the same amount of calcium of an 8oz glass of milk. I personally thought these statements were a little frivolous. I can’t find much info about them online. 

 I would be interested in your analysis on this product and its claims. Thank you for all your information to survive the grocery stores!

No problem Alison. Here’s an analysis of the “mixed berry, naturally flavored” bars.

What you need to know:

The nutrition panel seems tame. 140 calories for a bar is fine. 3 Grams of saturated fat is a bit on the high side. It comes from the milk cream and the fractionated plam kernel oil. Fractioning is a way to get oil to become solid at room temperature without creating trans-fat.

The fiber, at 3 grams, is nice, but when you look at the ingredient list you see it comes from oligofructose (also known as inulin or chicory root extract).

The sugar count is 10 grams, or 2.5 tsp, and it is all added sugar in 3 different forms (bold, below).

Here is the ingredient list:

Rolled Oats, cream (from milk), skim milk, cane syrup, oligofructose (chicory root extract), soy protein isolate, tapioca starch, soybean fiber, salt), dried cranberries, sugar, canola oil, calcium phosphate, brown rice syrup, fractionated palm kernel oil, dried blueberries, oat flour, molasses, cacium caseinate, honey, maltodextrin, salt, soy lecithin, natural flavors, vitamin d3.

So what about all the claims about good source of calcium, vitamin D, and fiber?

Yes, technically correct. But by reading the ingredient list we see that all these nutrients were ADDED to the basic ingredients. Always better to get nutrients from whole foods, not processed ingredients with a laundry list of add-on nutrients.

If you want to get the calcium of a glas milk, here’s a crazy idea – drink a glass of milk!!

Bottom line: C- on the Fooducate scale.

What to do at the supermarket:

Our usual advice is to ignore marketing claims and directly look at the nutrition label and ingredient list. You’ll lern so much more about what really goes into your mouth.

Choose bars that have 5-8 ingredients, all pronounceable…

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  • Sara

    While I appreciate and agree with your nutritional analysis, your “If you want to get the calcium of a glas milk, here’s a crazy idea – drink a glass of milk!!” comment irked me a little.  I have twin toddlers, one of whom is a very picky eater and will not drink milk.  She acts as though it is poison (though she will drink strawberry horizon milk, so no allergy issues).  So it is not always as simple as drinking a glass of milk, let me tell you!

    • just me

       I will never understand why human beings insist that we NEED to drink the milk from a cow in order to survive.  We don’t.  Plenty of foods contain calcium.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sharon-Mitas-Abler/1760214017 Sharon Mitas Abler

        It’s one of nature’s perfect food when consumed raw.

      • http://www.healthhabits.ca Health Habits

        The traditional Japanese diet was almost devoid of dairy and they had incredibly low levels of osteoporosis. Ever since the Western Diet has increased in popularity, osteoporosis numbers have increased

        • healthnut

          you so saw that in forks over knives!! awesome movie.

    • Mr.BillWest

      Do you try whole milk (so goooood)? My kids will sometime not eat something just to be difficult. The more I react, the more they dig in their heels. So, try putting milk on the table. If she doesn’t want to drink it, no big deal, but that is what we are serving for dinner. Stay calm and smile. She will come around. She will not die or be harmed is she doesn’t drink milk. This usually works in our house. THe hard part is realizing it has become a power struggle and that I need to let go. Usually my wife reminds me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cagonzale Christina Anne Gonzalez

      There are many other calcium sources from food. Toddlers don’t need a processed sugar-bar to get a little calcium. 

    • http://www.canadianfoodiegirl.com Andrea T

      It might be that what they’re implying is that if you’re buying the product specifically to get the calcium provided in milk, drink the milk, not that calcium must come from milk. Both interpretations are easy to make and I could be wrong. Milk is also a contentious issue.

  • Mr.BillWest

    These types of products drive me crazy because they don’t taste anything like milk and cranola. Also, sure two types of berries may technically be “mixed” but three would be better.

  • Allison Sullivan

    So appreciate of the review! I’m glad to see I am not alone in thinking this product is a joke. 

  • http://www.canadianfoodiegirl.com Andrea T

    Kraft is one of the worst offenders of healthwashing. I cringed before I even read the article.

  • http://www.healthhabits.ca Health Habits

    If Kraft adds vitamins & minerals to every bag of Oreos…does that make them health food?

  • Monica

    If the bold words are different types of sugar, should honey also be bolded?

  • thunderhammer

    Aren’t both honey and maltodextrin also sugar?  Do companies use 6 types of added sugar (by my count) to push it further down the ingredients list?  

  • Steve

    I was wondering if anyone out there was experiencing any issues with Diarrhea where these bars are concerned? I have given my kids all sorts of Granola bars and breakfast bars, etc., with no ill side effects. However when I give them these, whether it be a whole bar or even a partial bar (as small as a 1/4 of the bar to my littlest) they end up with the “OMG’s”…   
    My thinking with these is that you should see less gastric distress due to having the Chicory root extract in them. 
    Please help.. my kids love these things and they seem to be fairly healthy.. but not at the expense of the final out come …. Thx, Steve P.

    • Dfrisicaro2

      It is the chicory root. Google fiber one bar side effects and you will see so many people’s comments about diarrhea and stomach cramps. They even put it in some breads and yogurt. I will not eat anything with it.

  • healthnut

    i think this stuff is crazy. kids will eat eventually, it’s not the end of the world if they skip a meal because they’re too stubborn. let them be stubborn, don’t feed it with sugar. what kind of message is that sending? nurse all troubles with unhealthy outlets. struggle is natural and totally okay! it’s a part of life that too many people run away from. face it head on and don’t let it get the best of you… that can be taken in a micro or macro sense.

    break the sugar and fat addiction!! now i’m preaching

  • healthnut

    i think this stuff is crazy. kids will eat eventually, it’s not the end of the world if they skip a meal because they’re too stubborn. let them be stubborn, don’t feed it with sugar. what kind of message is that sending? nurse all troubles with unhealthy outlets. struggle is natural and totally okay! it’s a part of life that too many people run away from. face it head on and don’t let it get the best of you… that can be taken in a micro or macro sense.

    break the sugar and fat addiction!! now i’m preaching

  • Pingback: Milk and Granola Bars: No bad chemicals | Dye Diet

  • Mychellebayles

    I personally love these bars, perfect for mornings on the go, and a much healthier option than eating fruit loops… that’s just my opinion… you get your milk, fruit, and granola.. healthy!