What Does “Healthy” Mean? The FDA Finally Has an Answer

What does “healthy” mean when it comes to food? The FDA has been trying to answer that question for years now, and they finally have a rough definition. The old definition of “healthy” required foods to be low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol, but the Dietary Guidelines (published by another agency, the USDA) have changed since that original definition was codified. The 2015 guidelines got rid of limitations on total caloric intake and encouraged people to eat more fruits and vegetables. With these changes in mind, the FDA decided that a new definition of “healthy” was needed.

The FDA’s new definition of “healthy” food is a bit more flexible than the old one. Foods can now be considered healthy if they are low in saturated fat and sugar, and high in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This change means that foods like nuts and avocados, which were previously considered too high in fat to be healthy, can now be included in the “healthy” category.

So what does this all mean for you? If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to tell if a food is healthy, the FDA’s new definition is a good place to start. Just remember that it’s not an exact science and that some foods that don’t meet the FDA’s definition of “healthy” can still be part of a healthy diet.

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