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May 27, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Low-Carb Foods Not Changed, Just Repackaged
Jimmy Moore
April 18, 2006

The following is a reprint from the blog "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb":

I'd like to share with you an experiment I've been working on to make a point about what a lot of food manufacturers who jumped on the low-carb bandwagon a few years ago are doing with the packaging of those same foods now.

What we're going to look at is a product from Quaker called Q-Smart snack bars. I had never even heard of Q-Smart snack bars until I saw them on sale the other day at my local grocery store, but I was intrigued when I saw two different boxes for the same product.

Here was the first box with a copyright date from the year 2004 (I wonder how good THOSE are?! EWWW!):

Note the phrase "For a Low Carb Lifestyle" written prominently on the packaging along with a GIANT 3g impact carbs, or net carbs and a smaller font for the 10g protein.

Let's flip the box around to see the back side:

Once again, we see the focus on carbs with the phrase "For a Low Carb Lifestyle" again along with the BIG BOLD phrase "Trim Carbs, Not Taste." There is also a listing of the carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as trans fats.

Okay, got that? Remember that was the packaging from 2004.

Now fast forward to the one with the copyright date from the year 2006:

Do you see the difference already? With a phrase boasting "New Look! Great Taste!" there is absolutely NO mention of low-carb anywhere on the front of the box. The focus has shifted to the 10g protein with a focus more on the calories and sugar content rather than the impact carbs. Hmmmm.

How about the back of the box on the repackaging:

Again, no mention of carbs, but a whole lotta generic mumbo jumbo about being healthy. "Snacking Smart Never Tasted So Good" is about as stupid a phrase as there is! The product will "fuel your body" according to the packaging. Uh, yeah. So does every morsel of food you put in your mouth. Sheeeeez, do they think we're all idiots?

Now, here comes the best part of this experiment. Guess what is different about these two products?

The answer? Absolutely, positively NOTHING! They have the exact same nutritional information and ingredients, although neither one of them have accurate information about the impact carbs -- it should be 2g impact carbs since there were 9g total carbs minus the 2g dietary fiber and 5g sugar alcohols. Somebody at Quaker needed to ask a 1st grader to subtract for them!

So what does all of this mean? What it means is that there ARE low-carb foods out there for you to help you when you are livin' la vida low-carb. But you might not have the words "LOW-CARB" blaring at you in the face anymore. But that's a good thing because now it will make you turn the box over on the side for yourself so you can figure out if it is something you can eat or not.

While everyone laments that many of their favorite low-carb foods are gone, I encourage you to keep your eyes open and see if those same products don't start showing back up on the shelves unchanged, but just repackaged.

By the way, I tasted these Q-Smart snack bars today and they're not too bad. The Cranberry Almond flavor was nice and they do pack a lot of protein in them. I'd definitely buy this product again to eat as a light snack for before or after my workouts. At just 2g net carbs, these are good for just about everyone on the low-carb lifestyle. ENJOY!

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