We’re all trying to live a healthier lifestyle and eating right is a big part of that. But sometimes figuring out what is actually “healthy” is downright confusing.
 
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defined “healthy” over twenty years ago, during the height of the fat-free craze. The FDA allowed food companies to put the word “healthy” on their labels if a product contained no more than 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.  This means that low-fat, high sugar cereals and snacks can use the “healthy” claim, but foods high in healthy fats, such as almonds, avocados and fatty fish cannot. This confusion came to light last year when the snack maker Kind was called out by the FDA for misuse of the claim and was forced to revise their labels and remove the word “healthy”.
 
After pressure from both the public and the scientific community, the FDA is now taking a hard look at the “healthy” label with fresh eyes. The government’s MyPlate guidelines recommend including healthy sources of fat, such as nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, as part of a well rounded diet. It’s certainly time that nutrition guidance and food labeling match up in a way that consumers can make sense of.
 
Sometimes it takes a while for the government to catch up to new research. I certainly remember the days when the idea of avocado toast would have been met with horror by any nutrition professional. These days we realize that it’s the sum of a person’s diet and activity that determines their overall health. I hope that’s a trend that won’t be going out of fashion any time soon.