Why The FDA Is Re-Evaluating The Nutty Definition Of 'Healthy' Food
The Food and Drug Administration is re-evaluating its definition of what counts as a “healthy” food.
The change comes as healthfful fats — including fats found in nuts — are increasingly recognized as part of a good diet.
Currently, if a food company wants to put a “healthy” claim on its label, regulations stipulate that the food can contain only 3 grams of fat per serving.
This means that many foods that include nuts don’t qualify as healthy.
The FDA says that in light of evolving nutrition research, it is now planning to solicit public and expert comment to come up with a new definition that will help consumers make informed choices.
The move comes after the maker of Kind brand bars — which contain almonds and other nuts — pushed back against an FDA complaint about its used of the phrase “healthy and tasty.” After making its complaint, the FDA now says that, after reviewing the situation, it is comfortable with the company using the phrase.
“We are pleased that the FDA is looking into” revising its definition, says Daniel Lubetzky, the CEO of KIND bars. The company helped launch a citizen’s petition requesting that the FDA take action.
The FDA definition of healthy is a hold-over from the era when dietary fat was vilified. As we’ve reported, millions of Americans clung to the advice that low-fat was best. During the 1990s, an era of fat-free mania, Americans were making a habit of munching on sugar-rich, refined-grain products such as Snackwells. Many such products still meet the outdated definition of “healthy.”
As we’ve reported, many new studies affirm the healthfulness of eating more plant-based fats – such as avocados, eggs and nuts. And the dietary guidelines, which were updated earlier this year, recommend eating foods rich in healthful fats.