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Redefining What’s Healthy (You Knew It All Along!)

Redefining What’s Healthy (You Knew It All Along!)

Until the late 1800s bathing was considered unhealthy and a thin layer of dirt was thought to protect a person from bad elements in the air that could permeate the skin and cause disease! Tomatoes, also called poison apples, were considered toxic by Europeans for almost 200 years (until Neapolitan pizza became the rage in the late 1880s). And almonds, avocados and salmon were found to be unhealthy—wait for it—in 2015 by the Food and Drug Administration’s own calculations!

That’s right—the standards the FDA uses to evaluate if a food is “healthy” or not, are sadly misleading. Low-fat Pop-Tarts fit the “healthy” definition because the standards don’t consider sugar content or how processed a food is! And that super-healthy trio of salmon, avocado and almonds? They get a thumbs down because they have more fat per serving than the FDA standards say is good for you—without considering the types of fat they contain. Fat in almonds, avocados or salmon is not much of a health concern, because they dish up super-healthy fats like ALA and DHA omega-3s and/or a rainbow of nutrients.

The FDA says it wants to upgrade the standards, but in the meantime if you’re looking for healthy foods, don’t rely on packaging that screams healthy. Instead, choose packaged foods with no added sugars or syrups, only 100 percent whole grains, only a small amount of sat fats and no trans fats. Beware of low-fat, foods sweetened with sugars or syrups—they’re still bad for your heart, brain and metabolism.

Medically reviewed in September 2018.

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