Those “healthy” cereals that are part of a balanced breakfast may no longer qualify as such.
The Food and Drug Administration proposed changing the definition of “healthy”—and that means some breakfast cereals many consider healthy could get the boot.
According to the FDA proposal, products would have to meet new guidelines in order to be considered healthy. Cereal was cited as an example, with the FDA saying a “healthy” cereal would need to “contain ¾ ounces of whole grains and contain no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium and 2.5 grams of added sugars.”
That would disqualify several popular cereals many people consider healthy, including Raisin Bran, Special K, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Honey Nut Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats.
Each of those cereals would contain too much added sugar under the proposed guidelines.
The FDA proposed the rule change to help Americans make sounder dietary choices. It comes after the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, which convened on Sept. 28.
According to the FDA, more than 80% of Americans don’t eat enough vegetables, fruit and dairy. Many each too much added sugar, saturated fat and sodium.
“Nutrition is key to improving our nation’s health,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Healthy food can lower our risk for chronic disease. But too many people may not know what constitutes healthy food. FDA’s move will help educate more Americans to improve health outcomes, tackle health disparities and save lives.”
The change would also allow certain other foods, such as seeds and nuts, higher fat fish, certain oils and water, to use the “healthy” claim on their labeling because they meet new dietary guidelines.
In order to use the “healthy” claim on food packaging, products would need to:
- Contain a certain meaningful amount of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups (e.g., fruit, vegetable, dairy, etc.) recommended by the Dietary Guidelines.
- Adhere to specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. The threshold for the limits is based on a percent of the Daily Value (DV) for the nutrient and varies depending on the food and food group. The limit for sodium is 10% of the DV per serving (230 milligrams per serving).