Monday, May 1, 2017

Two transgender goats walk into a Luna bar

It's May Day, but rather than talking about Samuel Gompers or Finnish sailor hats or whatever, I'm going to talk about other stuff.

You see, I recently hopped into a Sprouts grocery store on my way to work one morning. Because I am a bigly health nut (because I said so), I needed to get stuff from Sprouts that was bigly healthy. After finding some carbonated water and some unsalted cashews, I figured that I'd go whole (soy) hog (substitute) and get a chocolate protein bar, because nothing screams health like a chocolate protein bar.

Because this was Sprouts, and Sprouts caters to bigly health nuts like me, the store had a whole row of protein and other bars. Heck, they probably have every bar imaginable. The gluten free ones. The ones with fiber derived from pine trees grown in wild boar fertilizer. The ones made by Pakistani women who don't cover their heads and who only use environmentally friendly open source smartphones. The ones with milk from transgender goats. It's all bewildering.

So I just grabbed a brand I recognized - a Luna bar.

I did this knowing full well that I would probably earn the condemnation of bigly health nuts who are biglier on health than I am.

And sure enough, the Organic Authority (because he/she said so) has condemned these bars for a variety of reasons. Among them:

One of the most common ingredients in energy bars is isolated protein. Whether soy or whey, protein isolates are often extracted with chemical solvents like hexane—a polluting toxin linked to cancer. Soy, often genetically modified, contributes to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and can have negative effects on hormone levels. Many conventional whey proteins have been found to contain heavy metals and toxins resulting from antibiotics, hormones and other drugs routinely fed to dairy cows.

And in addition to all the toxins (note: when a bigly health authority starts yammering about toxins, my B.S. antenna immediately goes up), the Organic Authority does note that these bars are often filled with sugar. Did my Luna Mint Chocolate Chip bar have any sugar? Oh, just 14 grams of it.

(Incidentally, I had to search the web for that nutritional information. It's not printed on the individual bars.)

But basically, it's a triumph of marketing, as CLIF Bar & Company (yes, CLIF and Luna come from the same company), aligns its marketing messages to the aspirational goals of their potential customers.

And that protein bar is probably better than a bag of fries.

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