Live Active Chewy Granola Bars - Functional Foods

Live Active Chewy Granola Bars

Mega-food manufacturer Kraft is behind the “LiveActive” brand of functional foods, which are designed to promote “digestive health.”  The products in the line are fortified with probiotic, “good” bacteria and/or prebiotic fiber.  The Chewy Granola Bars are unusual, in that the probiotic culture they’re fortified with does not require refrigeration.  The bars come in three flavors: Chocolate Raspberry, Peanut Butter, and Blueberry Almond.

Manufacturer’s Description: LiveActive Chewy Granola Bars are moist, rich, and delicious but they’re more than a great-tasting treat. They help naturally promote digestive health in two ways. First, they’re a good source of fiber*. Second, like many familiar foods – including some breakfast cereals and yogurt – LiveActive Bars contain a beneficial probiotic culture. What’s more, they require no refrigeration, so you can enjoy them anywhere, anytime. Get delicious digestive health on-the-go with LiveActive Bars.

Product Label:

Serving Size 1 Bar (35g)
Servings Per Container 5
Calories 140
Total Fat 4.5g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 125mg
Total Carbohydrate 25g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 7g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%
Iron 2%
Ingredients: Granola [Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Crisped Rice (Rice, Rice Flour, Sugar, Malt Extract, Rice Bran, Salt, Barley Malt, Corn Syrup), Multigrain Crisp (Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Whole Grain Oat Flour, Salt), Wheat Flakes (Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, Salt, Barley Malt)], Corn Syrup, Sugar, Glycerin, Inulin (for Fiber), Peanut Butter (Roasted Ground Peanuts), Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Contains less than 2% of Sodium Caseinate, Soy Lecithin, Nonfat Milk, Salt, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Butter (Cream, Salt), Whey, Peanut Oil, Sesame Oil, Palm Oil, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Mono- and Diglycerides, L. plantarum

Comments: I picked up a box of 5 Peanut Butter LiveActive bars at my local Fred Meyer for $3.00.  The bars are individually wrapped, and on the small size, so are easy to slip into a pocket, purse or lunch box for on-the-go snacking.  They looked like typical granola bars, with a peanut-butter-y base layer.  They were both chewy and crunchy, with an appropriately sweet, peanutty taste.  If you like commercial granola bars, then you’ll like these.

One thing I noticed, however, is that the boxes on display in the store were already past the “best when used by” date (04JAN09, in my case).  This is one downside, I think, of selling an unrefrigerated probiotic – the shelf life of the culture is going to be much shorter than that of a normal granola bar – something store personnel are less likely to take into account when ordering and stocking the shelves.  This is something a potential purchaser needs to watch out for…assuming the probiotic culture used in the product has any value in the first place.

Does it?  It’s an interesting – and open – question.  While Kraft has supporting literature for the LiveActive cheese, the company is completely silent on the question of the activity, potency, and effects of the “Probi AB” culture added to the bars.  How many live organisms are in each bar?  How many bars/day are needed for optimal results?  There is no information on either the box or the web site.

So, are there really significant “digestive health” benefits to be had from the LiveActive bars?  They are a good (although not great) source of prebiotic (and total) fiber, but otherwise, it’s a tough call.  And – needless to state – the bars don’t offer much w/respect to other nutrients: protein, vitamins and/or minerals. 

My “gut” feeling (no pun intended), is that the probiotic content of the LiveActive bars is overrated…if the bars actually contained a significant dose of active, probiotic bacteria, I don’t see why Kraft wouldn’t tell us all about it…but in this case, the silence is deafening.  Thus, I’d say these bars are probably better for you than a candy bar (thanks to the lower sugar/fat and higher fiber), but are NOT a substitute for a good probiotic supplement or more nutritious food products containing live cultures (such as kefir or yogurt).

[usrlist “Taste:4.0” “Quality:3.0” “Efficacy:2.5” “Value:3.0″ avg=”true”]

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.


  1. We’ve noticed that the Live Active Kraft digestsive bars are no longer on the shelves in the Eastern Panhandle of WV. Has something happened to them?

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