Whey protein isolate
Globular proteins left over from cheese making, minus the fats and sugars. The main protein, beta-lactoglobulin, is an especially good source of amino acids for building other proteins.
Legend had it that casein can worsen autism due to the protein's alleged opiate-like effects on the brain. But a 2006 study showed no significant connection. So don't blame PowerBar for your Asperger's, nerdlinger.
Soy protein isolate
High intake of soy protein has been linked to lower rates of coronary heart disease. But manly men seeking to sculpt their musculature may not like the fact that it's rich in phytoestrogens (girlie hormones). Cooties!
Why the y? Anything sold as "chocolate" can contain only one type of added fat — cocoa butter. PowerBars use fractionated palm kernel oil instead, which is about as healthy as Elmer's Glue-All.
High fructose corn syrup
This ingredient is everywhere, even in so-called health foods. In 2006, Americans consumed 58 pounds of this sweetener per capita, up nearly 50 pounds in 30 years.
The bar's chewy texture is due in part to this sugar alcohol, which moonlights as a food moisturizer.
Another sugar alcohol and probable sweetener, but one that the body absorbs super slowly. Besides gas and bloating, maltitol can produce a laxative effect so powerful that Australia and New Zealand require a warning label on foods that contain it.
Oat fiber helps lower cholesterol by fermenting into the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, which can limit the release of lipids from the small intestine.
This supposed performance enhancer (which is essentially powdered bone) is also used to polish teeth and build hard-tissue prosthetics.
In theory, a copper deficiency can lead to anemia and neurological disorders (though such problems are usually found only in people who have been kept alive via intravenous feeding or in babies fed nothing but cow's milk). So copper gluconate sounds healthy. Too bad a 1985 study showed zero effects from adding it to the diet.
Pantothenic acid (calcium pantothenate)
Better known as vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is necessary for the digestion of sugars, proteins, and fats. Handily, it's found widely in foods — plants, animals, and all PowerBar Protein Pluses.
B6 is essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters like epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. But don't binge, new moms: Too much can stop lactation.