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At a recent layover between flights, we had the munchies. This Special K Protein Meal Bar caught our eye near the checkout counter of an airport book shop. Seems delish. Promises lots of health. We scanned it with the Fooducate app and were appalled to discover it gets a D, the lowest score possible!
We decided to stay hungry a little longer and leave this food like substance alone.
What you need to know:
Special K began its life as a cereal for dieters in 1956. The Kellogg’s company created a very low fat cereal from rice and wheat. Ever since, the product line has expanded and grown to non cereal products. The bar / meal replacement category is a perfect fit for the Special K message of dieting, and thus we find ourselves with these protein meal bars on sale.
Here is the ingredient list from the bar we examined; it takes about the same time to read it as a magazine:
Coating [Sugar, Palm Kernel and Palm Oil, Milk Protein Isolate, Yogurt Powder (Cultured Whey Protein Concentrate, Cultured Skim Milk, Yogurt Cultures; Heat-Treated after culturing), Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Color Added], Soy Protein Isolate, Corn Syrup, Strawberry Flavored Fruit Pieces (Sugar, Cranberries, Citric Acid, Natural Strawberry Flavor with Other Natural Flavors, Elderberry Juice Concentrate for Color, Sunflower Oil), Inulin, Fructose, Polydextrose, Sugar, Rice Starch, Vegetable Oil [Partially Hydrogenated Soybean, Cottonseed and Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil (Less Than 0.5g Trans Fat Per Serving) with TBHQ and Citric Acid for Freshness], Cereal [Rice, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Defatted Wheat Germ, Salt, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Whey, Malt Flavoring, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid], Dextrose, Calcium Carbonate, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Xanthan Gum, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), BHT (Preservative), Egg Whites, Pecans, Almonds, Wheat Flour, Peanuts, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Vitamin D.
There is so much crap in this bar that we don’t know where to begin:
- Partially hydrogenated oils (ie trans fat)
- 4 tsp of sugar, almost all of it added
- barely any real strawberry
- the fiber is added in the form of inulin, not through whole grains
- BHT (potential carcinogen) and TBHQ (causes nausea and delirium) are used as preservatives
- artificial and natural flavorings
- a laundry list of added vitamins and minerals, because this fake food has no nutrients on its own.
What to do at the airport:
You’re better off with a bag of potato chips than this so called “health bar”.