If you haven’t seen the documentary Fed Up, do yourself a favor and download it now. It’s a fascinating investigative look at how the American food industry is responsible for more sickness than most of us have previously realized. Why? Because money talks and food giants have a seemingly endless supply of it, allowing them to exert an inordinate amount of power in Washington.
For proof, look no further than the failed attempts to pass mandatory GMO labeling, junk food lobbyists, agricultural subsidies (there’s a reason the corn syrup that’s rampant in the U.S. is near nonexistent in Europe) or the fact that many processed foods in the U.S. are formulated with ingredients banned in other countries. Repeatedly, we are seeing evidence that food giants are taking zero accountability for the social costs of their mission to get us addicted to the processed foods they’re churning out. It appears, however, that the tides may be turning, albeit very slowly. Just this week, the FDA has cracked down on Kind bars.
If you’ve ever wondered why you don’t find nutrition bars like Kind in the produce section, it’s because they’re more like candy bars than fresh fruits and veggies. The problem is many shoppers don’t have the time to closely read nutrition labels, so when a product is splashed with healthy, they more or less believe it. Now, the FDA is saying that at least four of Kind’s self-proclaimed healthy bars are in violation of “healthy” labeling requirements. The U.S. regulatory agency said in a letter that the Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot, Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut, Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein and Plus Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants Kind bars all have too much saturated fat to be considered healthy.
One may argue that saturated fats are the least of Kind’s problems since most of the fats in the bars come from nuts. What is harder to overlook, arguably, is that most of the bars (40 grams) have around 10 grams of sugar and 200 calories, and we can attest firsthand to how easy it is to eat more than one bar. On the plus side, Kind bars do have a good amount of fiber, at least some protein and a clean list of recognizable ingredients (think whole foods like raisins, pomegranates, blueberries, apples, plums, brown rice, pecans, almonds, honey…), so as far as nutrition bars go, you definitively could be doing worse. Nevertheless, this news serves as a good reminder to carefully read food labels and not fall prey to marketing jargon.