Redefining Healthy

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As anybody who keeps an eye on food in the media knows, perceptions of what is considered “healthy” and what is not are constantly shifting. The current guidelines for healthy eating were written by the FDA way back in the ’90s. That’s right; before many Millennials were walking, let alone boasting about their superfood smoothies on Instagram.

Back in the day, when health criteria was standardized, the FDA was looking for nutrient content, saturated fat, fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

While these things still matter, nutritionists are now encouraging health-conscious consumers to lean towards whole foods; and forget that they’ve been taught that “fat” is a dirty word. This means embracing more healthy fat–like in avocado, fish, and nuts.

Now, Congress is urging the FDA to update their standards to fit transforming ideas about what is healthy, and what is not.

The move also ties into mounting pressures to define the word “natural” since, according to Consumer Report, 73 percent of shoppers look for the word “natural” on the food that they purchase, while there is no defined set of standards for the word. Advocates believe that the word should be regulated in order for buyers to truly be informed about the foods that they purchase.