It’s just Nuts! What does the say about our country? Recently, the FDA classified Walnuts as a DRUG based on the “claims” found on Diamond Food Inc’s website and labels(1). Currently, regulations prohibit manufacturers of dietary supplements or producers of food from referring to any scientific study documenting the potential beneficial effect their products on health conditions. Under current FDA law, if a food or natural supplement makes a medical claim, it's automatically classified as a drug. But should it be?
Diamond Foods Inc essentially suggested that eating walnuts would be a healthier snack choice than other foods; such as potato chips. They pointed to research that revealed a diet rich in walnuts could potentially protect you from heart disease and other conditions, due to their high Omega-3 content(2). Various studies have proven that diets higher in “good” fats, like Omega-3s, show reduced LDL “bad” cholesterol levels as well as many other health benefits(3). Diamond Foods simply promoted the findings of these studies. Where does the interpretation of these regulations end? Who stands to benefit if the public is not informed of these wonderful research findings? Who’s next, Almonds, Avocados or maybe good ole Oranges?
Could the FDA have another agenda not allowing statements informing the public of the healthy benefits of FOOD!? It seems so, especially when you examine foods that are notoriously linked with poor health are able to make healthy claims. Frito Lays, a major chip manufacturer, printed health claims about there products: "Frito-Lay snacks start with real farm-grown ingredients. You might be surprised at how much good stuff goes into your favorite snack. Good stuff like potatoes, which naturally contain vitamin C and essential minerals. Or corn, one of the world's most popular grains, packed with Thiamin, vitamin B6, and Phosphorous – all necessary for healthy bones, teeth, nerves and muscles." These products, while they do provide these various nutrients, are produced in such a way that many of the bad during the processing out way the little good nutrients that you may obtain from eating them.
Frito Lay doubled down when when they continued with the following statements: "And it's not just the obvious ingredients. Our all-natural sunflower, canola, corn and soybean oils are considered to be healthier oils by the FDA because they contain good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which help lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain HDL “good” cholesterol levels. They also contain <20% of the bad saturated fat, which raises LDL, cholesterol and 0g of trans fat. Even salt, when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, provides sodium which is essential for the body(4)."
Their claim that their foods are healthy because they use these “natural ingredients” and provide these cholesterol lowering effects because they use healthy oils such as canola and sunflower oil is preposterous! For the FDA to attack Diamond Foods when their product is not highly refined or processed, does provide good quality essential poly-unsaturated fats and has been shown to be not only a healthy snack but also a key product in the national recommended nutritional requirements; all the while Frito Lay makes even stronger claims without referencing any studies and without the slightest look from the FDA.
The FDA is out-of-control and over-reaching their boundaries regarding health claims of “SCIENCTICFICALLY” proven natural, unaltered foods. The truth is essential nutrition found in NATURAL FOODS will provide more health redeeming qualities than ANY foods highly processed, fried in oil and loaded with preservatives. Sorry Frito Lay, I love your chips, but they are not as healthy as walnuts, and ANY AGENCY that says otherwise is JUST PLAIN NUTS!