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FDA Asks Public: What Is 'Healthy Food'?

RodaRose
RodaRose Posts: 9,574 Member
Do many people need help determining what foods are healthy?

http://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2016-09-28/fda-asks-public-what-is-healthy-food
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants Americans to help it clarify the meaning of "healthy" on food labels.
The agency is seeking this public input as it redefines nutritional claims on food labeling.

The effort is part of an overall plan to help consumers quickly make healthy food choices and to encourage the food industry to develop healthier products, according to the FDA.
"We know that many consumers use the Nutrition Facts label, especially when they are buying a food for the first time," Douglas Balentine, director of the FDA's Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, said in an agency news release.

"Often, there are also a lot of other terms on food packages, such as 'healthy,' 'low in fat,' or 'good source,'" he added. "We also know that many just don't have the time to consider the details of nutrition information on every package they purchase. In fact, most purchase decisions are made quickly, within three to five seconds," Balentine said.

"That's why we're looking at how we define the claim 'healthy.' Companies can use this and other claims on the front of packages of foods that meet certain criteria to help consumers quickly identify nutritious choices," he explained.
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Replies

  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    edited September 2016
    Basic knowledge about food, eating and nutrition, and a framework where eating is normal and good, will help people not only pick the right items, but also see through false claims. All those "Nutrition Facts" are just contributing to the confusion. Cooking and eating good food takes time and effort, but that's not a bad thing.

    In my opinion, the problem is a widespread disconnect. There is a difference between knowledge and information. We don't need more information, there's already too much information. Focus on single foods and nutrients in isolation, not seeing the diet as a whole and the important role food has as in our culture and tradition, is often referred to as "nutritionalism". This, paired with the perceived need for "quick and convenient", is killing people.
  • Packerjohn
    Packerjohn Posts: 4,855 Member
    RodaRose wrote: »
    Do many people need help determining what foods are healthy?

    http://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2016-09-28/fda-asks-public-what-is-healthy-food
    "We know that many consumers use the Nutrition Facts label, especially when they are buying a food for the first time," Douglas Balentine, director of the FDA's Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, said in an agency news release.


    IMO, given the number of obese and overweight individuals in the US people:
    • really aren't reading the nutrition labels
    • don't understand them
    • read and understand them but don't give a *kitten*
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    Why would they ask the public and not a panel of doctors and nutritionists...?
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member
    Why would they ask the public and not a panel of doctors and nutritionists...?

    Because it has a meaning to the public and how they use it, not only how it might be clinically defined. Asking the public doesn't mean they don't ask experts (they do) nor does it mean they will accept any half-fart of an idea as their final guidance (we can hope).

  • stealthq
    stealthq Posts: 4,298 Member
    IMO, it is just way too subjective a term to be easily defined on labels.

    Whole wheat bread - is it healthy? Maybe for some, but not for people with Celiac.

    Fruits and veggies? Sure, unless you have a bowel disorder that is irritated by them.

    Not to mention all of the different ways of eating out there - vegan/vegetarian, low carb, "clean," IIFYM. The term "healthy" is going to mean many different things to many different people.

    Furthermore, companies would likely find loopholes. Would "healthy" be on the labels of foods with few and simple ingredients? If that is the case, what about Fritos? Corn, corn oil, salt. Would they be considered healthy?

    They are focusing way too much on what to put on labels. After a while, they're not informative - they're just marketing. Different companies will find some way to label their food to entice whoever their target demographic is.

    Absolutely.

    Either all products should be able to put 'healthy' on their products, or none should. Fine tuning the regulation is pointless.
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,638 Member
    Maybe they can define "clean eating" while they are at it. I am sure the public brain trust will be a brilliant resource.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    Individual foods aren't healthy or unhealthy, diets are.

    I think whale, dolphin, and some fish are unhealthy foods, because they've caused mercury poisoning. Wouldn't you agree that poison isn't a macronutrient?
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    There was an interesting piece in the NY Times on this issue. There are some interesting differences between the public and dietitians.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/05/upshot/is-sushi-healthy-what-about-granola-where-americans-and-nutritionists-disagree.html
  • auddii
    auddii Posts: 15,357 Member
    Well, this is the current definition of "healthy", which does seem rather misguided.

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  • Karb_Kween
    Karb_Kween Posts: 2,681 Member
    Isn't it their job to know? Lol
  • ouryve
    ouryve Posts: 572 Member
    There's a big move towards patient and public involement in health and social care research. It's something I'm involved with on a formal basis.

    Part of the issue here is that people really don't like to be told what to do and there is an element of distrust because people tend to feel, rightly or wrongly, that advice on staying healthy is changing on a whim.

    The FDA are likely to be seeking public opinion on issues like whether they're focusing on things that matter to people, whether their advice is realistic for a reasonably wide subset of the population. They might particularly want input from a panel of people who have struggled with healthy eating so that they can better understand the barriers (socioeconomic, psychological, or whatever) that people might experience to eating well. They are also likely to want input as to how easy to digest (pardon the pun) the advice that they issue is. Many eople working in healthcare research, while obviously experts in their particular line of clinical/ healthcare/ social care knowledge are spectacularly clueless when it comes to communicating effectively with muggles/ non-experts.

    There's a few of us on our PPI panel with some medical/scientific background who are quite good at seeing where these gaps are in information as presented by an incredibly enthusiastic 28 year old, fully immersed in their field without their own personal direct experience of chronic illness, being in a caring role or whatever is relevant to the proposed study or project. Others who don't have any sientific background are just as useful because they're intelligent and articulate nough to say "hang on, this sounds like nonsense!"
  • ouryve
    ouryve Posts: 572 Member
    There was an interesting piece in the NY Times on this issue. There are some interesting differences between the public and dietitians.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/05/upshot/is-sushi-healthy-what-about-granola-where-americans-and-nutritionists-disagree.html

    I love this infographc, if only for the fact that some people are actually convinced that full fat coke is healthy!
  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    There is fat in Coca Cola?
  • French_Peasant
    French_Peasant Posts: 1,638 Member
    There is fat in Coca Cola?

    Just Coke jumping on the LCHF bandwagon!
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    That's a colloquialism for regular Coke as opposed to diet.
  • ouryve
    ouryve Posts: 572 Member
    Aye, just like non-decaff coffee is "full fat". It's a colloquialism for unmessed with.