When I started reviewing other energy bars, I started to notice an ingredient that many manufacturers use — vegetable glycerin.
There’s a lot of debate about how to classify glycerin, but here’s a simple explanation of what it is: A sweet syrupy substance manufactured on a mass scale that people put in energy bars to sweeten them and maintain an appealing level of moisture.
I’m skeptical of any sweet syrupy substance produced in a high-temperature industrial process.
Why is there so much debate around vegetable glycrein? Well, it’s the same reason there’s so much debate around tobacco and climate change.
People in the food industry cast doubt on the negative health impacts of cheap ingredients in order to maximize short-term profits.
According to food industry market research, health-conscious consumers buy products with more health claims.
Unfortunately, many companies react to this info by trying to game the rules. They pack as many health claims on their products as possible rather than actually making healthier products.
So what’s really going on with vegetble glycerin?
Diabetes Journals, in an article about sugar alcohols said, “If the label has a statement regarding sugars, the FDA requires the glycerin content per serving to be declared as sugar alcohol.”
L & L don’t make any explicit claims about SUGAR, just about SUGAR ALCOHOLS. This is dishonest nutritional gerrymandering.
Their cookies do contain sugar, both in their chocolate chunks and in its raw form. If they made honest claims about the sugar, they would be forced to declare their glycerin content as sugar alcohols.
Instead, they circumvent the truth by claiming 0g sugar alcohols. it’s not specifically a sugar-based claim, this allows them to appear sugar-free to unobservant consumers.
A lot of companies engage in dubious practices like this to milk short-term profits from health trends like low-carb or keto. This type of short-term thinking is why we have such widespread health problems in the western world.
Now, everyone has a bias, so let’s examine the bias of diabetes researchers: They want to understand how the body reacts to different substances in order to accurately inform diabetic people what to eat to minimize their chances of dying.
Let’s also examine Lenny & Larry’s bias: They want health-conscious consumers to perceive their cookies as healthy so that they buy more cookies.
And let’s examine my bias: I’m sick of these fake-ass food companies that sell unhealthy garbage disguised as health food. I want people to buy my snacks instead.
Vegetable Glycerin is in the same category as other sugar alcohols, polyols. It has similar effects and even higher calorie content. It serves the exact same function as a sugar alcohol.
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck it’s probably a friggin duck.
Lenny & Larry are dishonest in their health claims, and I bet I’m going to find a lot more perpetrators of this same tomfoolery.