In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Kind Snacks instructing the company to remove the “healthy” label from the packaging on four of its bars as well as on the web site. Their gripe? The nut-heavy bars in question contain 1.5 to 4 grams more saturated fat per serving than the FDA considers officially good for you. (In order to use the word healthy as a nutrient-content claim, an item must have only one gram of fat, though fish and meat can have two grams per serving.) The brand is working to remove the term — and a “+” symbol also flagged by the FDA — but they are calling on the group to update its definition, which they believe is outdated.
Kind worked with about a dozen independent nutrition experts in drafting a Citizen Petition to the FDA that states that, yes, nuts are high in fat, but much of it is the unsaturated type, which is widely considered to be good for us. And nuts aren’t the only victims of the regulations: Fish and avocados wouldn’t be up to snuff either, despite the fact that nutritionists often recommend replacing saturated fat from meat and dairy products with healthier sources of fat like nuts, seeds, salmon, olives, and olive oil. Meanwhile, the brand points out that sugary cereals and low-fat pudding could technically be called healthy under the current definition.
Even the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee nixed restrictions on total fat intake and suggested Americans focus on eating certain types of foods rather than specific nutrients. (The FDA will release the finalized Dietary Guidelines later this month.) The FDA hasn’t officially responded to Kind’s petition, but we hope they’ll come to realize that current limits on saturated fat are, well, nuts.