Nuts, avocados, and salmon are all healthy foods, right? Well, not according to the Food and Drug Administration. For companies that want to use “healthy” as a nutrient content claim, the FDA regulations state that a certain food must contain no more than 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of saturated fat per serving. According to this statement, nuts, avocados, and salmon do not fit the bill, but certain varieties of Pop-tarts, Frosted Flakes, and even various Spaghetti O’s do! How is it that some processed foods are considered to be healthier than certain whole foods?
As it turns out, the FDA’s current regulations are more than 20 years old. No wonder many Americans are confused when they visit the grocery store! These regulations were created back in the 90’s, when fat was the macronutrient to be feared and the sales of low-fat and fat-free products were skyrocketing. The science regarding nutrition changes, and it absolutely did within the past 20 years. We now know that certain types of fat, like unsaturated fats, are actually good for you and should be consumed as part of a healthy diet. Due to the pressure from consumers and even Congress, the FDA recently released a statement saying it will reevaluate their nutrient content claim regulations including labeling something with the term “healthy.” Looks like a step in the right direction.