FDA redefines ‘healthy’ in food labeling. This does not include Honey Nut Cheerios or Special K Original

Wednesday’s announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), indicated that it proposes changes to its definition of “healthy.” This new definition would exclude many popular breakfast bowls of cereal like Raisin Bran, Special K Original Cereal, and Honey Nut Cheerios.

FDA claims that the proposed changes will improve nutrition and dietary habits, and help “reduce the burden and advance health equity.”

Since 1994, FDA has maintained its original definition of healthy. The current definition of “healthy” means that a food can be claimed to have a “healthy claim if it contains less than 10% of FDA-recognized Daily Valu (DV) for nutrients calcium and iron, vitamins B and A and if it does not exceed the limits for total and saturated fats as well as cholesterol and sodium.

The FDA’s new definition of “healthy” is, however, focused on food groups that are associated with healthy dietary patterns. It does not consider the total amount of sodium or added sugars.

To be considered healthy, a cereal must contain at least three-quarters of an ounce of whole grain, no more saturated fat than one gram (g), no more sodium than 230 mg, and no more added sugars than 2.5 grams.

Based on the FDA’s proposed definition, many popular breakfast bowls of cereal that are considered nutritious wouldn’t be eligible for the “healthy claim”.

These products include:

Honey Nut Cheerios (12g of added sugars).

Raisin Bran (9g of added sugars).

Corn Flakes (four grams of added sugars and 300 mg sodium)

Life Cereal Original (8g of added sugars).

Special K Original Cereal (4g of added sugars, and 270 mg sodium)

FDA stated that the proposed changes would “align the definition of a ‘healthy’ claim with current nutrition science.”

In a press release, the FDA stated that more than 80% of Americans don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, and dairy. The majority of Americans are eating too much sugar, saturated fat, salt, and other unhealthy foods.

In a press release, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra stated that nutrition is crucial to improving the nation’s health. Healthy food can reduce our risk of chronic diseases. Too many people don’t know what healthy food is. The FDA’s decision will educate more Americans about healthy food and help them to reduce health disparities.

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