It gets harder and harder every day to be sure what foods are kinda healthy. This week, the FDA smacked the makers of the KIND brand of snack bars for labeling some of their products as “healthy” and for putting a plus sign on their products to designate that they have some extra good stuff in them.
They ran afoul of FDA limits on how much saturated fat can be in a food product that’s labeled as “healthy.” Right now, nuts are thought to be pretty healthy stuff, but some of the KIND bars in question have enough nuts in them to put them over the limit for saturated fats in a “healthy” food.
The most entertaining part of this was seeing Harvard’s Walter Willett serve as a pitch man for this prospering snack food brand. Willett said:
It’s a bit ridiculous that saturated fat from nuts should be counted against a product, because nuts are about one of the healthiest choices you could possibly make. This is an example of something with good intentions based on concepts that are hugely obsolete.
Did he just call KIND bars “one of the healthiest choices you could possibly make?” Not quite, but it was close enough to count as a big PR win for the brand.
Meanwhile the food fight over saturated fats will continue a bit longer. People on both sides of the argument are still enjoying it.
The real problem here is with the concept of venerating particular foods with a “healthy” claim. Whole diets are healthy. Individual foods might be part of a very healthy diet or a lousy one. It’s the big picture that matters.
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