• Lauren Humphreys


I wanted to switch gears from sweets and running, and put on my dietitian hat for a moment to give you some food for thought. I am sure you have seen the claim “healthy” on food packages or in recipe titles all over social media. We all want to be “healthy” but what does this term mean to you? Think about it for a second…

It probably means something different to everyone and depends on the context, did you know that “healthy” is actually a regulated term? In the US, “healthy” is defined by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 21 CFR 101.65 and by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 9 CFR 317.363. The requirements do vary based on product type, but generally speaking, products labeled as “healthy” must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Total Fat (3g or less)

  • Saturated Fat (1g or less)

  • Cholesterol (60mg or less)

  • Sodium (480mg or less)

  • At least 10% of the Daily Value for Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Dietary Fiber, or Protein. 

In September 2016, the FDA updated the definition to also allow “healthy” claims on products that are not low in Total Fat, but have a fat profile of mostly polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, or on products with at least 10% of the Daily Value for Vitamin D or Potassium.

Additional information about “healthy” from the FDA can be accessed here.

Unfortunately, there are false claims out there and even products that are seemingly "healthy" may not be. The most important thing is to use your best judgment when determining whether a product or recipe is truly "healthy" for you!  

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