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KIND Bar teaches the FDA a thing or two about healthy ingredients


Photo: KIND
Photo: KIND

The FDA takes back what it said about KIND Bar’s labels, agreeing that the nutrition bar company may in fact use the term “healthy” on wrappers.

This is a huge win for KIND and for pretty much every food company sold in your healthy grocery store. They’ve all been waiting to see what would come of a warning letter sent to the bar-and-cereal brand back in March 2015, saying companies may not use the term if they have more than 3g of total fat or 1 grams of saturated fat per serving.

KIND took issue with the Food & Drug Associations regulations that did not consider foods like nuts (a staple in the KIND nutrition bars), avocado, and salmon, to be healthy.

“For the past several decades, the government fell to the side of vilifying all fats in official dietary guidelines, and major food companies responded with an entire industry of fat-free, ‘diet’-friendly products,” explains the site FoodDive.

That’s a problem because good fats (plant-based monounsaturated MUFAs/omegas/essential fatty acids) are crucial to all kinds of things, from a humming metabolism and solid hormone and brain function to glowing skin. PS: Your body needs them from food.

Until now, items like fat-free yogurt and cereals packed with sugar have been green-lighted to use the word “healthy” on their label because they are low in saturated fat.

In fact, the persistent myth that fat makes you fat has been vexing health experts, nutritionists, health coaches, and functional physicians for eons.

Experts emphasizing the importance of eating real foods and nutrient-dense ingredients were echoed in a Citizen Petition started by KIND in 2015 that charged the FDA to update its requirements related to the term “healthy.”

While the resolution of KIND Bar labeling issue should have the marketing departments of many healthy food brands doing a happy dance today, it could have diet brands reeling. The outcome is inviting new discussion about labels on traditional processed or “diet” foods that are loaded with sugar. That’s because items like fat-free yogurt and cereals packed with sugar have been green-lighted to use the word “healthy” on their label because they’re low in saturated fat.

KIND Bar points out the problem with what the FDA considers "healthy.
KIND points out the problem with what the FDA has considered “healthy.” (Photo: KIND)

Now that the term “healthy” and its sidekick “natural” are being reviewed, we might see more consumer-friendly clarity emerge that focuses on the nutritional quality of ingredients—as well as more “creative” labeling practices and loopholes exploited from brands that wish to hide things like sugar.

KIND’s founder Daniel Lubetzky, while happy with today’s outcome no doubt, doesn’t believe the issue’s settled just yet. “A true success will come when the healthy standard is updated, empowering consumers to better identify the types of food recommended as part of a healthy diet,” he says.

Speaking of happy bellies, this item, taken daily by millions of women, could be wrecking your gut health. And here’s how to be a better label-reader of beauty products.