The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is rethinking its definition of “healthy” foods, according to a report by NPR. Previously, the FDA required that foods labeled “healthy” contain no more than 3 grams of fat—this meant that snacks with high amounts of naturally occurring fats from sources such as nuts often didn’t qualify for a designation of "healthy." However, current research on plant-based fats from nuts and other foods, like avocados, challenges this policy. Specifically, research has found that eating just a handful of nuts every day could lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and all-cause mortality. Research has also found that eating avocados is associated with lower body weight and a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. Even the new 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports a redefinition of "healthy", recommending a diet rich in healthful fats, such as those from nuts.
This issue arose when the FDA requested that KIND, a snack manufacturer that uses almonds and other nuts in their products, remove the “healthy” claim from their snack labels. After the company pushed back, the FDA reviewed KIND's request and ultimately approved KIND’s usage of “healthy.” This case could inform the FDA’s examination of other similarly labeled foods in the future.