Okay, the headline is pretty much a sucker bet, but seriously, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is way behind the times. See, they haven’t updated, or even really explained some of the terminology used on food labeling in the United States to the point that putting the word “wholesome” on some food products is downright laughable. (Anyone else remember when Hostess was allowed to make this claim?) Healthy is another word that can be used regarding foods that clearly aren’t.
One example, as explained by Natural News and True Activist, is the kids’ cereal Frosted Flakes. Frosted Flakes is one of the stable of breakfast staples from Kellogg’s, a company founded by vegetarians of the Seventh Day Adventist variety. Breakfast cereal is manufactured by smashing grains and making a paste, and then made healthy by adding synthetic nutrients to it. Because it has no, or next to no, fat or cholesterol, however, it is considered to be a healthy food, even with all the sugar added in.
In contrast, because an avocado is loaded with fat it is considered to be “unhealthy.” The fat happens to be one of the sorts that the body needs to function properly, but we the people aren’t supposed to notice that…or any of the other nutrients in the fruit.
Based on a rudimentary system of saying that any food that’s low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, as well as full of some “beneficial nutrients,” many processed foods are healthier than wholesome produce in the eyes of the FDA.
The FDA also doesn’t have a caveat that states that foods high in unsaturated fat (the healthy kind found in avocados, for example) are better than foods low in saturated fat.
What kind of sense does this make? It doesn’t, and those who follow health and food news know that the concept of processed food being healthier than fruit from a tree is just nuts.
But, that’s not all.
Over the years, there have been attempts to at least let consumers know what they are eating if it is not fresh fruits and vegetables, and meat. Processed and pre-packaged food manufacturers are required to list the ingredients on the label and put the percentages of the recommended daily allowances from the government for certain nutrients – also all outdated according to recent research – on the labels as well. As best anyone can figure, this was a compromise with big business food companies to at least appear to care about is being offered to American consumers as food.
For consumers who haven’t been following all the updates, and those who succumb to advertising that uses bright, primary colors and cartoon characters, though, labeling is terribly misleading. One recent incident involved a brand of snack bar marketing by Kind. The government insisted they not call their product healthy due to the fat content. Consumers who have been following the latest food news let the FDA and USDA have it in no uncertain terms.
In the heat of the backlash, the FDA admitted that their definition of what is good to consume was outdated and agreed to redefine the term. Though this is promising, it’s likely that their new definition will be equally as vague as the last in order to keep Big Food’s products within the healthy range.
At this point, though, according to the government, Frosted Flakes are still more healthy than natural fruits containing fat. Which begs the question, who is really calling the shots at the FDA.