FDA Proposes Update of “Healthy”

With so much conflicting information about what constitutes a healthy diet, and specifically a healthy breakfast, adults can find themselves wistfully reminiscing about a bygone era when a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and 2% cow’s milk was considered a perfectly nutritious breakfast. 

Today, it’s difficult to discern whether it’s better to eat a protein and fat-laden Keto-style breakfast, lean into Greek yogurt and fruit or skip the first meal of the day altogether as part of an intermittent fasting regime.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced proposed changes to its definition of the word “healthy”, which has not been modified since 1994, to help the population make smarter breakfast choices. 

According to a recent Hunker News report, our understanding of nutrition has grown substantially since the ‘90s and to earn a “healthy” label on packaging under the new proposed labelling, food would be required to contain a significant amount of food groups like fruit, vegetables or dairy.  The product would also be required to follow recommendations from the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and have limited saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar. 

If the changes are implemented, long-time favourite breakfast cereals like Special K, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes, and Frosted Mini Wheats would lose their “healthy” label status.  Life cereal and Honey Bunches of Oats would also be struck off the “nice” list and shifted to the “naughty” column. 

The move is designed to help Americans make healthier dietary choices to improve chronic health conditions like heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers that are associated with unhealthy diets.   Research has found that making better food choices can help improve health outcomes, at any age.  By replacing heavily-processed foods high in salt, sugar, and additives and replacing them with fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, tofu, fish, avocado and whole grains, study participants over 60 were able to reduce their mortality rate.