What Are Healthy Foods? FDA Re-Evaluates Definition of ‘Healthy’

The United States Food and Drug Administration redefined "healthy" and "natural" once more in an effort to update the food labeling regulations. This decision comes after healthy fats found in nuts are increasingly recognized as part of a good diet.

The Case of Kind Bars

FDA has decided to re-evaluate the definition of healthy after Kind Bars filed a citizen petition with the FDA in December. A warning letter was sent to Kind last year, stating that their fruit and nut bars cannot be labeled as "healthy." While Kind agreed to remove the label from its products, it filed a petition, asking the agency to update its labeling requirements.

"We are pleased that the FDA is looking into" revising its definition, said Daniel Lubetzky, the CEO of Kind bars. USA Today said that the company received a word last month that the FDA is allowing Kind to use the phrase "healthy and tasty" on its bars once more. However, Kind is still considering to put the phrase back since its going to be costly.

"We're not in a hurry to do it," Lubetzsky said, adding that the fact that the FDA's move to re-evaluate its labeling is more significant than what the company puts on its packaging. "It's very energizing to feel that our voices were heard, and the FDA recognizes that the regulation didn't really make sense."

What Exactly Do You Mean By Healthy?

Food manufacturers are currently required by the FDA to have a very low-fat content if they want to label their products as "healthy." The whole set of rules are quite complex but NPR gave an example for snack food: it should not contain more than three grams of fat for a regular-size serving. This measurement will then exclude nuts as being healthy.

USA Today added that the label "healthy" should also meet levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar in the current standard. In response to pressure from the health community, officials and the public, FDA decided to re-evaluate the definition of "healthy" used on food labels as confirmed by the agency on Tuesday.

"We believe now is an opportune time to re-evaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term "healthy," the FDA said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. The FDA would like to get suggestions from the public and experts to define "healthy" considering the never-ending nutrition research.

Do you agree that FDA needs to update its regulations? Let us know your thoughts through your comments.


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