- As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's definition of “healthy” evolves, foods that consumers and public health advocates often considered healthy, including almonds and avocados, now fall under the FDA’s regulatory definition.
- The FDA officially started the process of redefining the term “healthy” last month, in the wake of recent health and nutrition research that casts doubts on concerns about certain types of fats.
- The new definition of “healthy” will also better align with recommendations from the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
The FDA’s regulatory definitions may finally be catching up with more current nutrition research and public opinion. No longer do consumers or public health advocates shun all fats equally, as they recognize the health benefits certain types of fats can bring to a balanced diet.
Manufacturers are also catching up with this increasingly popular sentiment and slowly but surely abandoning low-fat foods that are also high in sugar and carbohydrates. Such products once aligned with the previous definition of “diet” foods and beverages. But now that consumers are more focused on “healthy” rather than “diet” products, manufacturers have had to adapt their strategies to meet consumer demand.
Perceptions of which foods are “healthy” also often align with cultural dietary preferences, such as Hispanics’ common use of avocados in their dishes, the Hass Avocado Board said in a news release. Almonds have also long been a key component of diets like vegan, vegetarian and paleo, which depend on the nuts for protein and other nutrients, or as a substitute for grain-based products.