Last night, I was heading out of my local gym and saw a basket offering free snack bars. “Meta Health Bar” it said on the cover. At that point, my hunger preceded my common sense and usual skepticism, so I grabbed one and ate it. I threw out the wrapper as well. But curiosity and frustration of not reading the label got to me, so I returned and grabbed another “health bar”. After a quick glance at it, I knew there was little to nothing healthy about it.
I’d like to start a new segment on the website with this called, call them out, where we call out the companies on their sneaky tactics and ask them to stand behind their products. We need to take up these companies on what they are trying to sell us. If you make it seem like it is a healthy food, it better be one. Personally, I’m tired of these companies taking advantage of loopholes and marketing tactics to trick unsuspecting people into buying their products and making them think it’s healthy.
Here’s What’s Wrong with the Meta Health Bar.
Bold letters focusing the consumer’s attention to “health bar” and the benefits of fiber. Yes, fiber is great, but not when it’s accompanied by a host of unhealthy ingredients. It would be the same if you stuck a broccoli inside coca-cola and then wrote all the benefits on the cover about broccoli. They also use “100% natural” which really carries no meaning and they only seem to claim that the psyllium husk is “natural”.
This is a new marketing trick that companies use. They claim their product is healthy and pure, yet their ingredients are hidden under the flap. I’d say most of the people rarely look at the ingredients as is, but giving them another step in order to uncover these is ridiculous. It should be in plain sight and the ingredients should be understandable by everyone.
Natural and Artificial Flavors
If the product is not certified organic, natural flavors could mean just about anything from beaver butt to coal tar. Artificial flavors in a health bar? Artificial flavors are heavily processed chemical mixtures that only mimic the natural taste. “Natural” and artificial flavors can contribute to a wide array of health risks, too long to list for this article.
What seems to be the prized and promoted ingredient in this snack bar is actually quite questionable. While it seems like it treats constipation, it’s side effects include gas and stomach cramping. Certainly, not how you want to be feeling after you just hit the gym or after your work break. Also, as recommended on the bar, it needs to be taken with a glass of water so you wouldn’t choke on it as it may cause your throat to swell. Wonderful.
Corn Syrup and Other Sweeteners
Corn syrup is a refined sweetener and should only be consumed in moderation. Invert sugar is a processed form of sugar that combines glucose and fructose. There are also molasses added as part of the granola as well. There is absolutely no reason for that much processed sweeteners to be added to a single bar.
Salt typically used by companies who manufacture products like these are heavily processed and may contain additives. Salt can cause blood pressure to rise, and contribute to heart disease, strokes and cancer. Choose sea salt or Himalayan salt instead.
Health Bar? We Don’t Think So.
We may have left out a few points but in just a few minutes of examining this, we can easily tell it is not a health bar by any means. “Make a Change” is the tagline on the bar. Well if you eat more then several of these, I am sure it will make a change quite alright. Just not one that you want.
Call Them Out.
If you are tired of companies taking advantage of you, tweet and leave messages on their social networks and let them know that you want a real health bar. Use hashtag #callthemout.
This particular one is made by Meta Wellness (twitter: @MetaHealth, facebook: /MetaWellness1). It’s distributed by Procter and Gamble (twitter: @ProcterGamble, facebook: /proctergamble).
If you have any similar products that you want to call out next week, use #CallThemOut on twitter, or instagram. Most importantly, don’t forget to vote with your money.