Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Does The FDA Know Healthy?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) was founded to protect the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of the foods, drugs and medical devices that we use.  In theory and in practice, it has generally served its purpose.  No organization can be perfect, but the main problem for me is that the FDA seems slow to adopt new research.  It has wrongly targeted bars with nuts as unhealthy because of the total and types of fat in each bar.

According to the FDA guidelines, a food can only be marketed as healthy if it meets certain nutritional standards for fat, sodium, cholesterol and includes nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

In the category of snack foods, the food item cannot contain more than 3 grams of total fat per serving to be qualified as healthy, and of this fat, only 1 gram can be saturated fat. This guideline seems outdated in light of  the generous amount of new evidence supporting the benefits of saturated fat.  The effect of the guideline causes highly processed food with a lot of sugar, preservatives and minimal fiber, like Pop-Tarts, to be considered healthy while a high fat snack made with nuts and containing little sugar to be labeled unhealthy.  Further, healthy, real food like salmon and avocado would be considered too fatty but they are nutritional powerhouses and are derived from nature.  Healthy fats that are found in foods like nuts, coconut oil, avocado, flax, hemp and fish are more satisfying and curb hunger.  They also help the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.  Fats have been wrongly maligned and created a culture of obesity with its over consumption of low fat, low fiber and high sugar foods.  However, the fats must come from natural, unprocessed food sources.  Vegetable oils and trans fats are not the type of fats we should consume.

While the FDA was created with the intent to promote public health, we as individuals should try to stay informed with current research and take personal responsibility for what goes into our bodies.

Stay healthy & well,

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