Demonizing Fat – the FDA Pushes Outdated Science

The FDA is demonizing fat and threatening KIND bars for claiming to be healthy.

Tad Cronn has already pointed out today how wrong the food police are. Now the FDA is providing even more evidence that the government is an incompetent health and diet protector by the way they are attacking KIND bars. Even the mainstream press knows the FDA is wrong and is saying so. For instance, consider Shape Magazine’s headline: “Why the FDA’s KIND Bar Crackdown Is Nutty.”

So this is a little nuts: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked the makers of KIND bars to remove the word “healthy” and the symbol “+” from the packages of four of its products. (Specifically, Kind Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein, Kind Plus Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants, Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot, and Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut.) But health experts say aspects of the FDA’s label regulations—especially concerning fat—are “misguided” and “outdated.”

It would take about 3,500 words to describe all the ins and outs of the FDA’s gripe with KIND’s labels. (The FDA’s warning letter to KIND was about that long.) But in simple terms, the federal regulators say that some of KIND’s products contain too much fat to be labeled “healthy.” Also, the use of the “+” symbol is restricted to foods that contain specific levels of certain vitamins and nutrients—levels KIND doesn’t always meet.

It is not some kind of anomaly that the FDA would be enforcing “outdated” health standards for food. The FDA was formed by the government and given its mandate when a specific theory of nutrition was in vogue. Its duty, then, was to defend health in food according to the scientific theories that were then accepted. It is completely predictable that, by enforcing “health” in this way, it would also set its face against all further scientific developments. Just like the Federal Reserve has trapped the nation in the economic theories of 1913, so the FDA and the USDA focus on retro nutrition science.

In doing their article, Shape found one nutrition expert who asserted that an apple would be healthier than a KIND bar because the bars “do contain some sugar.” I guess she meant they contain more sugar, since an apple has sugar too.

But the FDA doesn’t mention sugar in its letter. Instead, they take issue with KIND’s fat content, most of which comes from nuts. And that’s actually unfortunate, says Walter Willett, M.D., chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Over the last few decades, we’ve collected a lot of data that show nuts are one of the healthiest things you can eat,” Willett says. (And he would know; he’s authored a study linking nut consumption to lower mortality.)

Willett says nuts contain monounsaturated fat—a healthy type that lowers your levels of bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk for heart disease. But the FDA doesn’t do a great job of differentiating between fats when it comes to its label rules.

“The FDA are using guidelines that are way out of date and that limit what can be called healthy,” Willett says. “This will lead people to make incorrect conclusions, which is unfortunate.”

The entire idea behind the FDA is demeaning and contemptible. The idea that millions of people are not capable of eating healthy food unless the FDA tells them what to eat, and controls the labeling of products, is a horrible view of the potential of human beings. What if all the money that right now pays people to write harassing letters to companies that sell food products was used instead to inform people that they are responsible for their own health, and must do their own research and decide how they should eat?

Would there be problems? Sure. But society and science would not be locked down by rules based on old debunked theories. We could change and adapt to new findings as people were free to learn and experiment.

Expecting some tax-fed smart people to make our decisions for us is lunacy.