The FDA is supposed to be a trusted organization, but many people who have even the remotest inkling of basic nutrition are scratching their heads over the agency's official definition of "healthy." You don't need an advanced science degree to wonder how a highly processed cereal made in a factory could be considered healthier than a fruit plucked directly from a tree, but that's exactly what the FDA would have you believe. That's right: according to the FDA, Frosted Flakes are healthier than avocados!
The system by which it classifies food as healthy or unhealthy is very basic and outdated. It suggests that foods that have low amounts of sodium, fat and cholesterol, along with some "beneficial nutrients," are considered healthy, without bothering to distinguish between unsaturated and saturated fats.
This is extremely misguided to say the least, as the source of a fat is a big consideration when it comes to health. In addition, food that was formed naturally is a lot healthier than its chemically engineered counterparts.
According to the FDA's definition, avocados are not considered healthy because 1 ounce contains 4.5 grams of fat. It doesn't matter to them that it is the "good" type of fat. Likewise, almonds, with their 14 grams of fat per ounce, and salmon, with its 11 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving, are also considered unhealthy foods despite their well-documented health benefits.
Pop Tarts, Spaghetti-Os and Frosted Flakes are better than salmon and almonds?
On the other hand, some of the foods that make the cut according to their criteria are absolutely laughable. We've already discussed Frosted Flakes, which the agency deems healthy because it has 0 grams of fat per serving, is low in cholesterol and sodium, and has some "beneficial ingredients." Somehow the fact that it has 10 grams of sugar per serving doesn't matter.
Spaghetti-Os with calcium do not even remotely resemble anything found in nature, yet they are considered healthy because they only contain 1 gram of fat per serving. The highly artificial Low-fat Pop Tarts are also considered healthy because they are low in fat.
Is Big Food money ensuring labels are kept intentionally vague?
The FDA's guidelines leave anyone with a half a brain wondering whether the agency is highly corrupt or just incompetent. It's hard to rationalize their actions, but many people have speculated that Big Food money is influencing the FDA.
The FDA's delusion hit a fever pitch when it attacked the Kind food company for calling its bars, which are full of antioxidants, healthy. Their essential fatty acids, while not bad, push their fat content over the outdated limit. In the wake of this mess, the agency admitted its definitions were outdated, and said they would redefine the term for the first time in two decades. However, many believe their new definition will be written in such a way that a number of Big Food products will still be able to somehow qualify as healthy even if they are not. In addition, any changes could take years to be put in place because there will likely be hearings and proposals.
The FDA also lacks official definitions for terms such as natural, wholesome and nutritious, which means that companies can use these words to label products and mislead well-meaning consumers into buying foods that harm their bodies.
If you want to eat healthy food, you simply cannot rely on the FDA and Big Food companies to be honest about what is inside the products you buy in the store. Regardless of what the FDA says, naturally grown food is always the best choice. Nevertheless, it's important to keep in mind that much of the produce you find in your grocery store has been sprayed with toxic pesticides. You can take matters into your own hands and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what you are eating is completely natural by growing it yourself.
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