Is a granola bar a ‘healthy’ food? The FDA advised the producer of some such bars to ban that word from its packaging. Then, sometime later, the federal agency which oversees the health and safety of food in the U.S. relented, and agreed that Kind LLC, could kind of make a case that its products fit an old definition of ‘healthy’. The company was allowed to resume calling its bars “healthy and tasty” on its packages.
Why first the hard-nosed approach by the FDA, then the soft-peddling and stepping–back, allowing the manufacturer to resume doing what it comfortably had been doing for a long while? Simply stated, as a recent Wall Street Journal article explained, “The nutritional landscape and knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet has changed considerably since 1994, when the FDA first officially used the term ‘healthy.’ Back then, health advocates were taking aim at fats – not sugar or gluten – which are among today’s targets.”
In a statement to the paper, the FDA said, “We believe now is an opportune time to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term ‘healthy.'” The Journal noted that the process could take years, and will likely rely on public input. A bill in Congress, if approved, would urge the FDA to make this matter a priority, according to the news report.
As this blog has noted before, Americans have in recent years eaten ever-greater quantities of ultra processed foods – items often containing excessive amounts of fat, sugars (or several kinds),sodium and other things that make it hard to consider such foods to be ‘healthy’. Fortunately, there has been an increasing amount of publicity lately warning consumers about the risks such foods pose.
There also have been significant efforts on the part of some food developers and processors to reduce quantities of risk-causing contents in their products.
Some jurisdictions are requiring fast food restaurants to prominently post nutritional facts about their menu items. The website fastfoodnutrition.org has breakdowns of the nutritional make-up of what’s served at no fewer than 34 chains. Anyone interested enough can quickly compare the good, the bad and the ugly at chains in their area.
Supermarkets, too, are doing more to make the nutritional values (or lack thereof) of their store-prepared offerings.
And, amazingly, the latter trends are taking place almost in spite of, rather than at the urging of, government agencies.
Equally amazing, though, is the fact that fast feeders, while on the one hand offering ‘bargain menus’ that, being smaller, are comparatively healthy, compared to their full-sized stable mates, also are, on the other hand, continuing to offer servings so large as to be truly gross.
Take Whataburger’s Avocado Bacon Burger: It serves up, in a 1126 g burger, a whopping 1530 calories – 650 of them in the form of fat. That represents 111% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for fat in a 2000-calorie diet. Its 1850 mg of sodium represents 77% of the RDA for that element.
One of the most amazing – and most disgusting – burger that be ‘casually ordered,’ at least in Los Angeles, is Wendy’s Quad Baconator – so outrageous that it doesn’t even show up on the lit-up menu board. But you can order it – then guess at the makeup of the massively excessive mess on your plate.
You can’t be sure how much of this or that is in it because the closest you can come to a description of this gargantuan collection of burger, slices of cheese, and bacon slices is in the description on dietfacts.com of Wendy’s Baconator Triple. Its 3 burger patties, 3 slices of American cheese and nine slices of Applewood smoked bacon weighs in at 424 g, offers 1330 calories, 780 of them from fat. At 86 g, its total fat content represents 132% of the RDA, with the saturated fat alone accounting for 190% of the RDA.
Close behind, in the bad news category, is the Baconator Triple’s 3150 g of sodium – 131% of the RDA, and the 115% of RDA cholesterol content.
Imagine how much more powerful, in totally negative ways, the Quad Baconator is!
Clearly, people ordering such insults to common sense aren’t in the least concerned about what their diet habits are doing to their bodies.
We’re not writing for such people, as I’m sure you appreciate!