These days you don’t need to go to the library to seek information, you simply open up your computer’s browser and head to Google. You’ll get thousands if not millions of results on any given subject. Health and healthy eating being probably at the top in terms of how much we Google them. In a way it’s great, because the information is quick to find and very abundant. But on the other hand, there is a lot of misinformation floating in the virtual world, because everybody and I mean EVERYBODY can express themselves on the Internet. So you have to be extra cautious and use own common sense to discern what’s good and what’s bad. Some people prefer to seek the information on government regulated websites of various government agencies, like the FDA. In my humble opinion (and I can’t stress it enough that this is just my opinion and is not based on any research or study) this is not so good either. Let me elaborate.
You might have heard of the big crackdown on a popular energy bar by the name of KIND by the FDA. Or maybe you haven’t. In a nutshell FDA expressed their disapproval for the KIND company using the word healthy to promote their energy bars. You can find those bars in the Organic / Health section of your store, so by default they are recognized by the consumer as a healthier version of a candy bar. Mind you, I would not touch the KIND bar with a 10 foot pole, but that’s not the point here. The point is that FDA has it all wrong when they define what is healthy and what is not. They regulate what can be promoted as healthy and here are their criteria:
- Have less than 2g of saturated fat (aka be low fat).
- Contain no more than 480mg of sodium (aka be low salt).
- Contain at least 10% of the DRV of Vitamin A and C, Calcium, Iron, Protein or Fibre.
To an average consumer this sounds about right. Fat is bad, so a healthy product should be low in fat. Salt in your diet is bad too, so it’s a no brainer that if a company promotes a product as healthy there should be minimal salt in it. That’s what we’ve been fed (excuse the pun) by organizations such as the FDA! Notice though, that in their criteria for healthy labelling they don’t include the content of sugar and its derivatives. So, by that logic, if a Snickers bar was low in fat and sodium and we pumped in some Vit A and C, Calcium, Iron and sprinkled it with some protein powder, it could potentially have a healthy claim written on it’s wrapper?! Yet, a KIND bar that contains healthy nuts, hence making its fat content slightly elevated can’t be promoted as healthy. Like I said, I’m the last person to pick up a KIND bar in the Organic Isle of my grocery store – unless of course I’m going for a hike *wink, wink* – but I can clearly recognize the backwardness of the FDA’s definition of healthy. Healthy is what grows in the ground, period. You don’t need to measure its health claims, because you know that a carrot, a tomato, a green bean, an apple, a potato etc. are all good for you.
Are you still puzzled with the whole FDA’s “healthy” criteria issue? Let me go on then. Fat is not the problem and neither is salt. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, I highly recommend reading :
- Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig,
- Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes,
- The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz,
- Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger.
Or watch That Sugar Film that I have blogged about before.
And the list can go on of authors and scientists showing us that it’s not the fat or salt that are the villains here, but the sugar!