In my hand, right now, I hold a KIND bar. Okay, that's not true,
I hold a once-frozen burrito but this
morning, I held a KIND bar. I've eaten KIND bars since COSTCO
started stocking them in bulk. Fortunately for me, I've read enough
research studies to learn to mistrust much of the advertising
statements on packaging. All I need to know is on the ingredients
nutrition label. I try to know what all the ingredients are,
how they're produced, and how a body will digest them. Throw in
making sure saturated fat is less than one third of total fat, and
bam! You've got yourself a snack. Most of the KIND bars sold fall
in line with my demands, but the ones with a nut base tend to blow
fat content out of the water.
The FDA has also picked up on the high fat content in several
kinds of the bars and
issued a warning letter to the company to stop using the word
healthy on four of its products. If you think my "healthy"
standards seem strict, then the conditions the FDA puts in place
for companies to legally use the word healthy on its packaging will
make your head spin.
In order for a food to be labeled healthy, "…it must have no
more than 1 gram of saturated fat, no more than 15 percent of
calories coming from saturated fat, no more than 480 mg sodium, and
contain at least 10 percent of the daily value for vitamins A, C,
calcium, iron, protein, or fiber. "
Each of the four KIND bar flavors called out contain between 2.5
and 5 grams of saturated fat.
But the fact that the FDA is taking away the healthy label,
doesn't necessarily mean the bars are unhealthy. The issue, again,
all goes back to the bars that contain nuts. The latest research
has shown that not all fat, particularly from nuts, is bad fat.
High-fat nuts may even
help control our appetites and keep our weight down as a
result. Since the standards also only apply to packaged, processed
food, it's hard for the FDA to distinguish if the fat in the bar is
coming from the nuts or the oil also included on the ingredients
list. This means that the FDA practice of lumping all fat and
saturated fat together
may be an outdated one.
"Most of the fats in our bars come from nuts and are
actually monounsaturated fats (good fats)," Joe Cohen, senior vice
president of communications told the Huffington Post.
"Nuts do contain a small amount of unsaturated fats. The
saturated fats in our bars come from a mix of ingredients nuts,
coconut or palm oil."
The bottom line is that you should be able to read a nutrition
label, and not rely on marketing. It's a pain, but keep up with
research from qualified professionals so you can spot claims that
may not be accurate. Health experts suggest learning the different
types of nuts and what qualifies as a snack verses a meal
replacement. The FDA is not wrong for regulating the use of the
word healthy in advertising. No one wants to see candy bars become
a health bar, and they certainly shouldn't be a snack