If you’re not always sure which foods are healthy, you’re in good company.
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing its definition of the word “healthy” when it comes to food, and will even seek the public’s input on how to define it, the agency said on Tuesday.
“In light of evolving nutrition research... we believe now is an opportune time to reevaluate regulations concerning nutrient content claims, generally, including the term ‘healthy,’” FDA spokeswoman Lauren Kotwicki wrote in an email.
The FDA’s decision comes after intense pressure from the health food company KIND Snacks, which complained after the agency refused to let it use the word “healthy” on its packaging.
That’s because the FDA’s current definition has a lot to do with fat content—regardless of where that fat comes from—so products rich in ingredients like nuts, which are both nutritious and fatty, often went beyond the "healthy" cutoff.
“Nutrient-rich products like a KIND bar or products made from almonds or salmon... cannot be considered healthy even though they are products that are recommended by the dietary guidelines,” Daniel Lubetzky, CEO of KIND Snacks, told CBS.
This week, however, KIND finally got its wish. On Tuesday the FDA granted the company permission to describe its products as healthy. The next question is what that word means.