You see, the last time the FDA revised its official dietary advice to the nation was over 20 years ago and although nutritional science has moved on it seems that the government have not. How crazy do the decades old guidelines appear today? Consider this:
Salmon can’t actually be marketed as “healthy” under current FDA guidelines, despite being recommended as a good source of protein in the government’s own most recent dietary guidelines. Neither can almonds or avocados. Pop-Tarts, on the other hand, are in the clear. Via thinkprogress.org
How is this possible? It’s because under the current FDA rules any foodstuff can only be deemed and labeled as ‘healthy’ if it falls under a certain threshold in terms of sodium, cholesterol levels and fat. However there are no regulations in regards to sugar content, because back in the 1990s no one really cared about it, even though these days of course extra sugars are linked to everything from obesity and the onset on Type 2 diabetes to heart disease and premature death. But things are about to change, maybe.
“Consumers want to make informed food choices and it is the FDA’s responsibility to help them by ensuring labels provide accurate and reliable nutrition information. In light of evolving nutrition research, forthcoming Nutrition Facts Labeling final rules, and a citizen petition, we believe now is an opportune time to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term ‘healthy.’ We plan to solicit public comment on these issues in the near future,” the FDA said in a statement.
In the meantime however consumers have to rely on educating themselves it seems, as there is no timeline in place for these reforms. Sad isn’t it?