There’s only one place on Earth where Frosted Flakes cereal is considered healthier than salmon.
Or where a scientist will swear that low-fat Pop Tarts give you the same nutritional bang as almonds or avocados.
And, unfortunately for all of us, that place is FDA headquarters.
For years I’ve been warning you that the dietary advice coming out of the FDA is an outdated sham.
Now the agency has made a shocking admission about thousands of foods allowed to be labeled as “healthy.”
And it’s one you’ll want to hear before your next trip to the supermarket.
It must have been the most work anyone at the FDA has done in a decade.
Last year, the agency dashed off a 3,200-word nastygram to the Kind snack food company (that’s about twice as long as the Declaration of Independence, if you’re counting).
In the letter, the FDA demanded that Kind stop claiming its nut bars — which have antioxidants and essential fatty acids — are healthy.
And that was just the latest example of something that lots of nutrition experts have been saying for a long, long time.
The FDA has absolutely no idea what healthy food is.
You see, under the FDA’s current standards, foods can be labeled “healthy” as long as they are low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, and have at least some “beneficial nutrients.”
It doesn’t matter how those nutrients got there, either — whether they’re naturally occurring, or whether you sprinkled some vitamins on a chocolate chip cookie.
It’s exactly this type of nonsense that allows Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to get labeled as a healthy snack option for the federal school lunch program.
Seriously! I’m not kidding!
Fortunately, when the whole debacle with Kind blew up in its face, the FDA finally had to admit that its definition of “healthy” was as obsolete as bell-bottomed pants and poodle skirts.
Now it’s going to spend a fortune in our tax dollars on an initiative to redefine the word — something that could take years or even decades.
How’s that for government efficiency?
The worst part is that millions of us are affected every day by the way the FDA has dropped the ball on this.
Just think of all the people who are putting items in their shopping carts because they’re stamped with “healthy” — and, meanwhile, even our government admits the word doesn’t mean anything.
And, unfortunately, that’s not the only marketing claim on food packaging that the FDA has royally screwed up. Here are a few more terms that food companies use all the time to deceive us:
- Wholesome: The FDA doesn’t even have a definition for this, meaning Hershey can slap it on its chocolate bars if it wants to.
- Nutritious: Like wholesome, nutritious can mean just about anything a food manufacturer wants it to.
- Natural: This word is the Wild West of the supermarket. Products containing high fructose corn syrup, GMO Frankenfoods, and even parts of insects can all be called “natural.” (The FDA announced last year that it was going to come up with a better definition for the word — but don’t hold your breath).
As far as defining which foods are “healthy,” it looks like we’re all going to get to have our say. The FDA says it’s going to start accepting comments from the public soon.
I’ll let you know when that happens. Because I’m betting we couldn’t mess this up any worse than Uncle Sam already has.
“FDA seeks to redefine ‘healthy'” Annie Gasparro, May 10, 2016, The Wall Street Journal, wsj.com