LUNA Bars are not great for you. They contain many variations of processed soy and contain up to 14 grams of sugar per bar.
LUNA Bars were first introduced in 1999. They were a product of Clif Bar & Company, who had been successfully manufacturing nutrition and energy bars since the early 1990s. However, the female employees at Clif sensed a growing demand for a product that was more geared toward them, and thus LUNA Bars were born.
So what exactly makes them “for women?” LUNA Bars average less than 200 calories per bar, which is less than their Clif bar counterpart. They each contain about nine grams of protein, 25 carbohydrates and somewhere between three to eight grams of fat. LUNA Bars also claim to be gluten-free and non-GMO. And according to the LUNA official website, their products are made with “decadent flavors” and “awesome ingredients.”
Ingredients vary by the bar, but the first listed in many of them is soy protein isolate—which is not so awesome. The USDA reports that over 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified (GMO), including the majority of those used to make soy protein isolate or SPI.
The long-term effects of genetic modification are still not known for sure. However, evidence suggests that allergic reactions may be more common: introducing a new gene into any given plant may create a brand-new allergen. Even scarier, some animal studies have shown that genetically modified food can lead to liver damage. Additionally, a study by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security revealed that infant mortality and infertility may also be linked to GMO soybean consumption.
After SPI, the second most common ingredient on any LUNA Bar wrapper is usually organic cane syrup. But just because it’s labeled as “organic” does not mean it’s good for you. In actuality, organic cane syrup is not far off from ordinary table sugar. Both are made from sucrose and, nutritionally speaking, there is very little difference between them.
Because of the high organic can syrup content, LUNA Bars tend to have a lot of sugar—up to 14 grams, to be exact. According to the American Heart Association, women should only consume 25 grams of sugar per day. Excess sugar consumption can lead to obesity, which can cause serious health issues like diabetes and heart disease.
It’s important to note that LUNA bars do come in a few low-sugar varieties. However, these bars still contain SPI, which means they may still not be the best alternative. Long-term effects of genetically modified food are still uncertain in humans—a “decadent” nutrition bar might not be worth the risk.
Possible short-term side effects
- allergic reaction
Possible long-term side effects
- liver damage
Ingredients to be aware of
- soy protein isolate
- variety of flavors
Trusted alternative (soy-free) (what is this?)
GoMacro Vegan Protein Bar
- Plant-based, complete protein
- Gluten-free, USDA organic, vegan, non-GMO, kosher, and soy-free
- No additives or preservatives
- Complex, slow-burning carbs to keep you feeling full for longer