Health Advice



Not-so-sweet news about the 'healthy' food label

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

There's a strawberry yogurt -- a supposedly "healthy" food -- that's loaded with 13 grams of added sugar per serving. White bread and highly sweetened cereal have also been allowed to be labeled "healthy" under existing Food and Drug Administration regulations. But water, avocados, nuts and seeds, higher fat fish, such as salmon, and certain oils have been denied the right to declare they're "healthy."

What? You might as well decide that up is down, left is right, and night is day.

The FDA established that ridiculous definition of "healthy food" in 1994, allowing manufacturers to add the word "healthy" to products containing a limited amount of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium and 10% of the daily value of at least one of the following: vitamin A, and C, the minerals calcium and iron, and protein or fiber.

But finally, the FDA has proposed a new definition for "healthy" foods. Shifting from having NO restrictions on added sugars, "healthy" food will be allowed to contain no more than 2.5 grams (half a teaspoon) per serving for most products. (I think NO ADDED SUGARS should be allowed!) Sodium will be restricted to 230 milligrams per serving; there are limits on saturated fat and the existence of healthy fats (olive oil, omega-3s, etc.) is acknowledged.

The FDA says these new standards may appear on food labels next year. In the meantime, keep reading the nutrition labels and dodge all added sugars and limit saturated fats as you boost your nutrition by choosing great-for-you healthy fats, unprocessed plants and grains.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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