Granola bars have topped many “Health Foods That Are Actually Unhealthy” lists from nutritionists, including our own. But even still, granola and breakfast bar companies tout their products as healthy and nutritious. Last year, popular nut and granola bar company KIND was sent a warning letter from the FDA to remove all claims of healthy from its packaging because of the amount of saturated fat in the products. After extensive legal back-and-forth, the FDA has reversed its decision: KIND bars can keep the healthy label.
The FDA will also look into changing the definition of healthy. Almonds, avocados, and salmon will now be defined as healthy. Soon the standards for “healthy” foods will be updated to match what we know now, thanks to modern science.
“We are gratified by the decision,” KIND CEO Daniel Lubetzky told The Daily Meal. “We were perplexed as to why we even received the letter in the first place. The regulation itself is outdated and it discriminates against nutrient-rich products just because of the fat content. Not all fat is bad.”
Lubetzky is talking about the difference between healthy unsaturated fats like nuts and dark chocolate, which can both be found in KIND products, and saturated fats found in meat, cheese, and multiple types of oil.
KIND also believes that there is a difference between regulating the term healthy as a specific claim of nutrients versus using it as a philosophical label.
“When you say this product is healthy because it has seven grams of protein, that’s a nutrient claim,” Lubetzky said. “If you say we make healthy tasty products, that’s a philosophy.”
Lubetzky says that he distinguishes KIND from other leading competitors by the amount of sugar added to their products, many of which have only five grams of sugar. Quaker Chewy granola bars, which are often upheld as an example of an unhealthy granola bar, only have seven grams of sugar per bar.
His advice? Don’t pay too much attention to labels.
“Don’t look at the hoopla; pay attention to what the products looks like,” Lubetzky said. “if it doesn’t look like anything you’d ever see in nature, maybe think twice about buying it.”