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“Smart Choices” labels: misleading at best

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smartchoicesI am not shocked by this (via, but still disappointed.  I have to believe that somewhere in the FDA is someone who really, truly, actually cares about trying to help Americans choose healthy foods.  But programs like “Smart Choices” really make me wonder.

From William Neuman’s NY Times article:

Mr. Jacobson objected to some of the panel’s nutritional decisions. The criteria allow foods to carry the Smart Choices seal if they contain added nutrients, which he said could mask shortcomings in the food.

Despite federal guidelines favoring whole grains, the criteria allow breads made with no whole grains to get the seal if they have added nutrients.

“You could start out with some sawdust, add calcium or Vitamin A and meet the criteria,” Mr. Jacobson said.

And what’s worse, your body can’t absorb added nutrients like it can when they naturally occur in a food.  It’s like Mr. Jacobson said: Vitamin A added to sawdust is quite a different story than Vitamin A in some butter from a grass-fed cow.

When foods like Cocoa Krispies and Froot Loops get a checkmark for good nutrition, you can bet the fox is guarding the henhouse.  Once again, the FDA is completely in the pocket of industry, and why not?  They have no power to regulate anyone, anyway.  Can you tell I’m seriously fired up about this?  It’s insane.

I really appreciated Michael Pollan’s advice in In Defense Of Food: never eat anything that has some dubious nutritional claim plastered all over the box.  Word.

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