When it comes to healthy snacks, fruits and nuts generally jump to the top of most people’s lists. That’s why a recently released letter from the Food and Drug Administration came as a bit of a shock to the snacking world when it tried to take down Kind Bars, the hottest energy bar maker in the country, which proudly touts its product as being good for you. Among the FDA’s laundry list of issues: Kind Bars claim to be “low-fat” when they are not; they claim to be “antioxidant-rich” when they lack enough appropriate vitamins to earn that designation; and based on their ingredients, they shouldn’t even be using the word “healthy” on their labels at all. And while the FDA is technically correct, they may be missing the forest for the almond trees.
Kind, for its part, hit back with a post on its website claiming that while they might not make snacks that meet the strict FDA standards for use of words like “healthy” on their label, they nevertheless continue to make products that are good for you. “Nuts, key ingredients in many of our snacks…contain nutritious fats that exceed the amount allowed under the FDA’s standard. This is similar to other foods that do not meet the standard for use of the term healthy, but are generally considered to be good for you like avocados, salmon and eggs.” And most research seems to agree with them—including a report from the U.S Dietary Committee. Speaking with NPR, epidemiologist Walter Willet says the issue isn’t with Kind, it’s with the FDA. Since the agency only updates its requirements every five years, it hasn't yet taken into account research that claims quite clearly that nuts are good for you. That is not to say eating a chocolate-dipped Kind bar is the same as eating a pack of raw, unsalted cashews. The latter is clearly better for you. The world does seem a bit backward, though, when fruit and nut bars can’t be labeled as healthy but Flamin’ Hot Cheetos can.
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