You Are What You Eat: But Can You Trust the Label?

Healthy… We see it on labels, we hear it in ads, you talk about it with your peers and your doctors -- and now, the FDA is seeking to re-define what it means.

“We hear the word healthy all the time and it is overused improperly sometimes -- and sometimes it can be deceitful to the American consumer.  Most people -- really doesn’t matter to them, it doesn’t affect them. But it is detrimental and can be life changing to someone who has diabetes or high blood pressure, and you’ve got a candy bar or a KIND bar that has a lot of sugar in it [labeled as healthy],” said Dr. Janette Nesheiwat to the FOX Business Network’s Sandra Smith.

According to the FDA, foods can only be marked healthy if they meet fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and beneficial nutrients criteria.

“Part of the problem has been that consumers interest in being healthy, living healthy, eating healthy, has evolved faster than the government’s attention to actually what is defined as healthy and consumers are confused. And the old way of evaluating products being healthy, versus the way things are really today is just outdated,” said Culture Ranch President Eli Portnoy.

The current labeling recommendations date back to the 1990s when low-fat diets were popular.

“The issue about fat is, if you’re very involved in fitness and the health industry, you know you cannot live without fats… You actually can’t get leaner and healthier without having fats in your body,” said Portnoy.

Under the current FDA guidelines, products like Pop Tart’s and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes can be labeled as healthy whereas almonds and avocados might not be.

“What you need to know at the end of the day is; what are the ingredients you are putting into your body? You have to know the amount of salt and amount of sugar, amount of fats and carbohydrates -- because if you are eating a lot of salty foods it’s going to increase your blood pressure, if you eat a lot of sugary foods it’s going to throw your diabetes out of whack and you’re going to end up sick,” said Dr. Nesheiwat.