FDA to update ‘healthy’ claim on food packaging

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) – Under the existing “healthy” definition, oily fish such as salmon would not be allowed to carry the claim “healthy” on its label. Cereals sweetened with sugar and filled with sodium might.

That’s because current standards only consider individual nutrients like vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, protein, fiber, and saturated fat in foods.

Cereals tick certain boxes that meet current standards. In contrast, salmon is naturally high in fat, which was considered bad in 1994.

Nutrition and nutritional science have changed.

We’ve learned that oily fish like salmon is packed with good fats like omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Studies suggest that oily fish may reduce the risk of heart disease and promote brain health. Rather than just counting individual nutrients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that food products that use the term “healthy” should contain sensible amounts of foods from one of the recommended food groups — that is, fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and lean protein. The agency proposes that prepared products have specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.

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I hear comments from patients who say finding the right foods can be challenging and feels complicated. But nutrition is the key to good health. For this reason, the FDA is proposing to update its “health” claim on food packaging.

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The goal is to educate more Americans. Because more than 80% don’t eat enough healthy foods. Instead, they choose foods that are high in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

My advice is to focus on foods that are packed with nutrients, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose lean protein and foods that contain healthy fats. You don’t have to eat perfectly. Just make good decisions at least 80% of the time. When you have good overall healthy eating habits, you lower your risk of chronic disease and live longer.

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This week at the Dr. Nandi Show: “Are we different or the same? The American Family in Transition”. dr Partha Nandi, MD, knows that families come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own challenges. The psychologist Dr. Gail Parker explains how families integrate. Also, open adoption, ethnic diversity, and a college graduate community show how today’s families thrive with patience, understanding, and love. Tune in this Sunday, October 2 at 1:00 p.m.