What is “healthy”?

I just learned that KIND Snacks (the company that makes KIND Bars) came under attack by the FDA for its use of the word “healthy” on its labels. I find this ridiculous.

If any of you know me, you know that I’ve been cutting out most processed/prepared foods and processed sugar. This is a rather difficult task – not only because sugar tastes good, but mostly because it’s in EVERYTHING. It makes it super hard to find suitable and convenient snacks. Sometimes I just want to eat something that’s not a piece of fruit, yogurt or vegetables, but also is nutrient dense and either sugar free (not with sugar substitutes or corn syrup) or low in either unrefined or less refined sugar (ie honey or maple syrup). I found the KIND bars. I was absolutely impressed that the ingredient lists were short and the sugar content low, and from honey, mostly. They are very nutrient dense, being that they are made mostly from nuts, and they are also generally low in grain-based carbs. This makes them awesome (at least by comparison to the majority of other mass produced snack foods on the market.

I eat them as part of a healthy diet.

I am happy to call them healthy – in spite of the fact that they are sweetened/have added “sugars”.

But, why is the FDA up in arms? Because these bars – which are made mostly of NUTS – contain “too much” dietary fat to be considered “healthy”. This is crazy, since it’s generally known that nuts are considered to be healthy (i.e. beneficial to consume) and that they contain a high relative percentage of nutritional fat.

Sure, if all you ate were KIND bars all day, every day, it might not be a good choice and could lead to undesired results. But, that’s the same with anything – too much is usually a bad thing. If all you ate was fruit, that wouldn’t be good for you either. But the fact that we can’t call a bar that is nutrient dense and made from real foods, which is minimally processed, “healthy” … I just can’t. We’re doing something wrong.

In response, KIND not only agreed to change their labels, but they also submitted a very detailed citizen petition that the FDA change it’s rules. And, they also shared this infographic which illustrates how messed up the definition for “healthy” is in terms of food labeling.

I needed to share this because I like KIND bars and if I – someone who is obsessed about food and health (I’m not perfect and I do sometimes eat the wrong thing, but I’m very aware and read labels and all this) – can call them healthy…. but the company can’t label them that way, something is wrong.