Main menu


FDA's new plan to label some foods as 'healthy' is a bad idea

featured image

There’s a lot to take in, but an easy way to conceptualize change is to look at what foods are added to your “healthy” list and what foods are removed. “Avocados, certain oils, nuts and seeds, water, and fatty fish like salmon do not meet the criteria of the current definition, but do meet the criteria of the newly proposed ‘healthy’. Nutrition Communication at the International Food Information Council tells SELF: “According to the proposed definition, products that meet existing ‘healthy’ standards, but which do not currently do so, will contain added sugars.” Includes white bread, sweetened cereals and yogurt over limit. ”

One problem with this new definition is that individual foods don’t actually determine our health.

To say the least, it’s reductive to imply that certain foods are healthy and others aren’t. Even the dietary guidelines on which this new rule is based make it clear that it is a person’s overall diet that affects health, not individual food choices.

“Ultimately, the FDA wants to empower consumers to make ‘healthy’ food decisions, but they’re falling short of that goal,” said a Houston-based nutritionist, Samina Qureshi of RDN, owner of Wholesome Start Nutrition Counseling, tells SELF. says.

For example, white bread (not considered healthy by the new definition) can be part of a balanced diet when paired with a variety of nutritious sandwich fillings such as turkey, cheese, avocado, and tomato. may become a department. Conversely, a person who eats only plain he yogurt (considered healthy) as a diet does not get the same kind of nutrients. But that’s perfectly fine too. Not every meal or snack requires different nutrients. Again, a “balanced” diet is about the big picture. Eating enough of a variety of foods. whole.

Moreover, what is healthy for one person is not necessarily healthy for another.

Maggie Landes, MD, MPH, Killeen, Texas-based pediatrician, health cannot be weighed The podcast tells SELF that health means different things to different people and that what is healthy for one person is not necessarily healthy for another.

Qureshi agrees. “Just because a can of low-sodium beans says ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean someone with irritable bowel syndrome can sit there and eat a whole can of beans without exacerbating digestive symptoms. not,” she says. “The same goes for people with poorly regulated blood sugar. You can’t even eat a whole can of low-sodium black beans without affecting your blood sugar and insulin levels.”

There’s also the fact that sticking too much to a “healthy” diet can be unhealthy. “If someone is struggling with their relationship with food and sees this new ‘healthy’ label, they may get bogged down in the rigor of what the label means and think they are the only foods they can consume.” “The new label and definition of ‘health’ lacks the nuance necessary to better care for health in a gentle, culturally appropriate and balanced way.” .”