What makes food healthy? According to the Food and Drug Administration, it’s simple: The food’s total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol must not exceeded specific levels. But snack bar maker KIND says the FDA has it wrong.
On Tuesday, the company submitted a Citizen Petition asking the FDA to redefine what it considers a healthy food, including prioritizing the overall quality of a food’s nutrition over its specific nutrient levels.
The move comes months after KIND received an FDA warning letter in April, which said that four of the company’s bars with a “healthy” label contained too much saturated fat.
Cereal-grain products must include fewer than three grams of fat and one gram of saturated fat to be deemed healthy by the FDA. Some KIND bars, such as its Dark Chocolate Chili Almond flavor, contain up to 15 grams of fat.
In the petition, KIND calls for the FDA to exclude the contribution of vegetables, fruits, seafood, nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole grains to the calculation of a food’s total and saturated fat when determining whether it is “healthy.” That way, the natural fat present in nuts or salmon, for example, would not count against the product.
“The current regulations were created with the best intentions when the available science supported dietary recommendations limiting total fat intake,” KIND CEO and founder Daniel Lubetzky said in a statement. “However, current science tells us that the unsaturated fats in nutrient-dense foods like nuts, seeds and certain fish are beneficial to overall health.”