FDA Proposes Update To Definition Of Health Foods | Dietary guidelines | FDA

[The Epoch Times, 5 ottobre 2022](Epoch Times reporter Linda compiled and reported) Currently, salmon, nuts and other foods don’t meet US “healthy” food standards, but sugary grains do. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally proposed on September 28 to revise the standard for the word “healthy” on food packaging. This is a long-awaited thing, because according to the definition of “healthy food” developed in the 1990s. , todayHealthy food(including all kinds of nuts, salmon, avocado, olive oil, etc., even water) cannot be called healthy.

While the new definition is not immune to criticism, Americans may still be unsure which foods are healthy and which are not when they shop;Healthy foodUpdating the definition is also a significant improvement. And it happens in line with the spirit of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Healthy Food, where improving nutrition and reducing hunger has become a national strategy in the United States.

Current health standards were established in 1994 when the FDA allowed food manufacturers to label their products as “healthy” based on maximum and minimum values ​​for a particular ingredient. This means that “healthy” foods may have higher levels of saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol and sodium, but must contain only one or more of the following nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein and fiber , And make it the content of 10% of the required daily intake.

Under this rule, even foods that contain a lot of sugar can benefit from a “healthy” label, as long as other conditions are met. Such foods include low-fat yogurt or sugary breakfast cereals intended for the children’s market.

The same goes for some white breads with nutritional problems. However, natural foods like avocados or currently recommended meats like salmon are sub-par due to their high fat content. Even normal or normal carbonated water cannot be labeled as “healthy”.

New FDA regulations

The absurdity of this definition made headlines in 2015, when the FDA issued a warning letter to Kind, saying it couldn’t use the word “healthy” on the packaging of their Kind bar products because it contained too much saturation. Under current rules, individual nuts and seeds generally do not qualify as “healthy”. In 2016, the FDA changed course, saying it intended to update the definition, which culminated in the recently published updated recommendation.

Under the new rules proposed by the FDA (which could be further revised), the agency is taking a more holistic approach to food evaluation, stating that foods can be labeled as healthy if:

• Contains a significant amount of food from at least one food group (eg fruit, vegetables, dairy products, etc.)“Dietary guidelines”(Dietary guidelines) recommended.

• Respect the maximum limits for some nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.

It is important to emphasize that for the latter point, the nutrient limits will vary depending on the type of food contained in the product, for example olive oil products have higher saturated fat limits than plant-based products, which have lower limits on added sugars than cereals. The FDA provides avery useful formwhich lists the recommended restrictions for the different food groups.

The FDA also provided an example of a cereal that meets the new definition of “healthy”: it contains ¾ ounce of whole grains, contains no more than one gram of saturated fat, no more than 230 milligrams of sodium, and a maximum of 2.5 grams of added sugar.

The FDA hopes the change will help consumers choose better foods and push food manufacturers to adjust their products to the new definition.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a statement that the review is “an important step towards achieving food health, including educating consumers about healthier diets so they can develop good eating habits as quickly as possible. … and lead to a healthier and more nutritious food supply. “

American eating habits urgently need to change

This nutrition goal is more important than ever. On September 2, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported data showing that the number of states with high rates of obesity in adults (defined as more than 35 percent of obese adults) more than doubled. since 2018 and there are now nineteen states and two territories have high obesity rates. Childhood obesity rates also increased during the Covid pandemic. According to a study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the percentage of overweight children aged 5 to 11 rose from 36.2 percent the year before the pandemic to 45.7 percent. in January 2021.

Obesity at any age can expose people to serious health problems, such as hypertension, sleep apnea, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, severe consequences of COVID-19, poor mental health, and more. . The top three causes of death in 2020 are heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19.

Of course, obesity is a complex and multifactorial health condition and diet is only part of it. But there is a wealth of data that Americans eat unhealthy and the typical American diet is contributing to chronic disease. The FDA states that 75% of Americans eat a diet low in fruit, vegetables, and dairy products; 77% eat too much saturated fat; 63% eat too much added sugar; and up to 90% eat too much sodium.

The new definition of “healthy” proposed by the FDA will certainly not solve all problems at once. Some advocates and health experts say its impact may be minimal and that package labels that warn of unhealthy content (with something like a red light symbol) may be more effective than labeling “healthy” foods. However, the update is a marked improvement over the definition of “healthy,” where the previous health label lacked scientific evidence.

Gracious CEO Russell Stokes said in comments to the Washington Post that the company is celebrating the proposed update, “that the new rules reflect contemporary nutritional science and are consistent withDietary guidelines for Americans, a victory for public health and a victory for all of us. ◇ #

Responsible editor: Ye Ziwei

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