Are Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Bars Getting Any Healthier?

Nutrigrain Fruit CrunchWe’ve written in the past about NutriGrain, a brand owned by Kellogg’s, and did not have good things to say about these bars’ nutrition profile (see here and here). So we were really hoping to see some improvement in a new product NutriGrain Fruit Crunch Bar, Strawberry Parfait. From Kellogg’s:

Introducing Kellogg’s® Nutri·Grain Fruit Crunch™Strawberry Parfait. With 20 grams of whole grain and real fruit, it’s the new crunchy way to start your day.

We are also assured the following:

Made with Real Fruit, Whole Grains and Fiber

Lastly, Kellogg’s wants us to know that they

Take Care of You TM

Indeed?

What you need to know:

Longtime Fooducate readers know our advice by now – never trust marketing claims. Your only source of objective information is the ingredient list and nutrition label.

So let’s see what Nutrigrain is made of:

WHOLE GRAIN OATS, SUGAR, VEGETABLE OIL (PALM, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL AND PALM OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS), SWEETENED DRIED CRANBERRIES (CRANBERRIES, SUGAR, GLYCERINE, SUNFLOWER OIL), HONEY, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, CALCIUM CARBONATE, NONFAT YOGURT POWDER (CULTURED NONFAT MILK [HEAT-TREATED AFTER CULTURING]), SALT, NONFAT MILK, STRAWBERRY PUREE CONCENTRATE, SOY LECITHIN, WHEY, BAKING SODA, PEANUT FLOUR.

Let’s start with the good news. This product is made with 100% whole grains. Whole grains provide essential nutrients and fiber. And indeed this bar has 3 grams of fiber, which is good (we need about 25 grams total every day).

Now for the bad news:

1. Too much sugar. We’ve conveniently highlighted in BOLD all the sugar ingredients in the bar. Starting with ingredient #2, and continuing on to the cranberries. Don’t be fooled by “strawberry puree concentrate”. That’s just a fancy name for sugar. All told, there are 4 teaspoons of sugar here.

2. Not a lot of fruit. Although the product boasts that it is made with “real fruit”, the actual amount is tiny (Kellogg’s does not mention the percentage of fruit, it’s probably embarrassing). Almost no vitamin C in this bar, despite the strawberries. By the way, if this bar is a strawberry parfait, why are cranberries the main fruit here?

3. Trans fat. Ingredient #3 is a vegetable oil mix that includes partially hydrogenated oils. These are trans-fats, and they don’t play nicely with your arteries. “But the nutrition label reads 0 trans fats!” you say. Unfortunately, a loophole in FDA regulations allow manufacturers to denote small quantities of trans-fats as ZERO, even if that’s not the truth.

4. TBHQ. So not only is the oil full of trans-fat, in order to keep the product shelf stable, it is preserved with TBHQ. ingestion of large doses (a thirtieth of an ounce) can cause nausea, delirium, and ringing of the ears. (Anyone remember what Jack Nicholson had for lunch in “The Shining”?) TBHQ cannot exceed 0.02% of the oil and fat content in a food.

5. Natural and Artificial flavors. When you make a strawberry parfait at home, do you add artificial flavors?

To sum it up – Nutrigrain made one small positive step with whole grains, but still has a way to go before it can be considered even close to a healthy bar.

Oh wait, we forgot to mention the calories. Is that even relevant now that you know what you do? 180 calories per bar.

CLICK HERE to see this bar’s rating on Fooducate.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/anne.dakan Anne Dakan

    The grains and sugar are probably GMO, too. At one point, one of the cereal companies, not sure if it was kellogg’s or general Mills, promised not to use GMO’s, but I think that lasted about five minutes. Now they all do, except Nature’s Path and a few others, but Nature’s Path is not owned by a major GMO food company, like the rest of them are. My bestie, who is a Master Herbalist says that Breakfast bars and Granola bars are little more than cookies, anyway. Try some good Organic Irish Oatmeal, also called steel-cut or pin-head oatmeal. Add some nuts and ground flax, sweeten with a tiny bit of honey or berries and add a teaspoon of Coconut oil, if you must eat grains for breakfast. A protien shake, however, will keep you full, longer, and you will be more alert. Too many carbs in the morning will make you sluggish.

  • jk19

    Any company that uses artificial transfats really cares more about cost than the consumer, and is a company I refuse to purchase any products from, given that artificial transfats have absolutely no benefits except increased shelf-life. Given all the research done, there really is no excuse for any product to contain partially hydogenated oils.

  • The Candid RD

    I’m so glad you highlighted the sources of sugar. I can’t wait for the law to be passed that all added sugars have to be lumped together on the ingredient list, or at least highlighted as an ADDED SUGAR. People get so fooled; “Brown Rice Syrup” is another one that sounds a lot healthier than it is!

  • http://www.bestsimplediets.com/ Brian

    Another example of a bar not fit to eat. Whole grains? oh whoopee. Whats the point of whole grains with all that other junk in this bar?