With so many energy and protein bars on the market, it is hard to know which ones to choose. Some claim to be all natural, others have a high amount of protein; others can be full of artificial flavors and preservatives. Luna bars are energy bars specifically designed for women. They are made with all natural, 70% organic ingredients and come in a variety of delicious flavors such as Cookies' n Cream Delight, White Chocolate Macadamia and Nutz Over Chocolate. All flavors are under 200 calories and contain around 9-10 grams of protein. Is this the bar you should grab for a snack or before your workout? Here is the breakdown of the ingredients, and what is really in the Luna bar. The Nutz Over Chocolate flavor contains 180 calories, 9 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat with 2 grams saturated fat, 4 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of sugar. This flavor is one of the lowest in sugar.
Ingredients in order on the label:
LunaPro ® is the first thing listed for all Luna Bars. It is a combination of the following different ingredients: Soy rice crisp [soy protein isolate, organic rice flour] - Soy rice crisp is used in many nutrition bars and other packaged food in a variety of shapes and sizes. These little spheres provide texture and the main substance of the bar. The soy protein isolate provides the majority of the protein for the bar, and the rice flour also gives volume and texture to the soy protein.
Organic Toasted Oats- This also provides texture to the bar, and also provides complex carbohydrates and fiber. Evaporated cane juice is added to the oats for sweetness.
Organic Soy Flour- Soy flour also adds to the protein content for the Luna bar and may affect the moistness of the bar.
Organic flaxmeal- This is the final ingredient in the LunaPro ® mix. Flax meal is ground flaxseeds. This adds texture, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids as well as giving a nutty taste to the bar.
Organic brown rice syrup: This is a sweetener derived from barley malt and brown rice. It is a honey like substance that gives a caramel like flavor to the bar. Brown rice syrup has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, but it still adds sugar and carbohydrates to the bar.
All Luna bars contain a coating on the bottom of the bar. For the flavor Nutz Over Chocolate, the coating is a chocolate coating. The coating contains the following ingredients:
Organic evaporated cane juice: This ingredient is a sweetener that is derived from cane sugar, which is less refined than table sugar.
Organic Cocoa: Adds chocolate flavor. Cocoa also contains flavonoids that are natural anti-oxidants.
Palm Kernel Oil: This oil is high in saturated fats, and it is a common ingredient in energy bars. It does not have any harmful trans fat, but it is higher in saturated fat. Luna bars contain around 2 grams of saturated fat.
Organic soy lecithin: Used as an emulsifier.
Organic vanilla: Used for flavoring and the last ingredient for the coating.
Inulin: Inulin, derived from chickory root, is used to add fiber to food products.
Organic peanut butter, peanuts and peanut flour: Give the nut flavor to the bar, add some protein and fat.
Vegetable glycerin: This is a sweet, colorless compound from vegetable oil. It is used as a natural preservative and to keep moisture in food.
Natural flavors, organic oat syrup solids, sea salt: These last ingredients are used for flavoring. Luna claims no MSG is used in the natural flavorings, but a blend of secret ingredients.
After these ingredients, Luna bar adds various vitamins and minerals.
Over all, the ingredients are all natural and mostly organic. With calories under 200, a good source of protein and vitamin and minerals, these Luna bars can be part of a healthy diet.
The negative ingredients such as palm oil and the added sweeteners are not in the top few ingredients, which is good. As with anything, eat Luna bars in moderation for a pre-workout snack or nutrition on the go.
Holly Klamer is a Registered Dietitian and personal trainer in Colorado. She received her undergraduate degree with a double major in Dietetics and Health Fitness from Central Michigan University. She then went to Colorado State University for her Master's degree in Human Nutrition emphasizing in Exercise Science. There she completed her dietetic internship to be a Registered Dietitian and was a teaching assistant in the nutrition department. Holly loves to travel, be outside, run, road bike and hike. She ran cross country and track in college and still enjoys competing in long distance running. Her passions are in sports nutrition, disordered eating, teaching others how to eat healthy on a limited budget, worksite wellness, weight loss and food allergies. She enjoys public speaking for various nutrition topics especially to young athletes, writing nutrition education material, and individual counseling. Holly has a passion to help people reach their goals of health and improve athletic performance. She currently works as a personal trainer, sports dietitian and free lance writer for various health websites. To contact Holly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.