Luna (by Clif Bar), the brand of bars targeted to the “fit female”, has released a new product, apparently for the Ensure generation. The Luna Fiber bar is soft, sweet and pumped up with fiber, vitamins and minerals.
While the nutrition looks good at first glance (28% of DV for fiber and only 110-120 calories), the vitamin and mineral doses are a bit high for such a small percentage of one’s daily calories (7% or less). This results in a concentration that doesn’t go unnoticed by the taste buds, despite 40% of calories coming from palate-distracting sugars (3 tsp).
What you need to know:
Clif Bar was one of the first snack/energy bar companies, back when bars were made of simple/normal ingredients – stuff that provided fuel, satiety (the old fashioned way – with fiber, fat and protein from nuts, soy and whole grains) and a decent, although rarely award-winning, taste.
With the Luna Fiber bar, there seems to be more of a nutritionist-food scientist collaboration going on, with a wave from the chef. The need to hit all the “right” nutrients in the “right” amounts, in an engineered way seems to be trumping real ingredients and taste, as with many products today. A discriminating palate can taste the supplementation. It hits in the back of the mouth, leaving a dense, metallic finish.
And maybe the nutritionist wasn’t involved either, because he/she probably wouldn’t have featured iron, calcium and fiber together. Calcium and fiber both inhibit absorption of iron to some extent. It’s not a huge issue for people who aren’t iron deficient (and the vitamin C does offset it a bit), but if the stated benefit is the “Core 4” nutrients (calcium, iron, folic acid and vitamin D) along with a taste you’re supposed to “crave,” the nutrients should at least work well together and not adversely affect taste.
Here is the ingredient list:
Blueberry Filling (Organic Cane Syrup, Inulin, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Glycerin, Organic Rice Starch, Dehydrated Blueberries [Blueberries, Apple Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Oil], Organic Apple Powder, Organic Blueberries, Water, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Red Cabbage Extract for Color), Organic Oat Fiber, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Barley Flour, Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Date Paste, Organic Oat Flour, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Oat Bran, Organic Inulin (Organic Agave Extract), Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Natural Flavors, Vegetable Glycerin, Rice Starch, Potato Starch, Sea Salt, Citrus Fiber, Baking Soda. Vitamins & Minerals Calcium Carbonate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Beta Carotene (Vit. A), Niacinamide (Vit. B3), Folic Acid (Vit. B9), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Pyridoxine HCl (Vit. B6).
What to do in the supermarket:
If you crave a convenient hit of vitamins, minerals and fiber in a “gumable” sweetened (no lack of sweeteners in these bars) format, this is a good choice.
If you want homemade taste, well, you might consider baking your own and popping a multi-vitamin at the same time (or simply eat some fruit and nuts, followed by milk/yogurt or other calcium source later).