The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently determined that walnuts sold by Diamond Foods cannot be legally marketed because they “are not generally recognized as safe and effective” for medical conditions such as heart disease. According to the FDA, walnuts are now classified as “drugs” and the “unauthorized health claims” cause them to become “misbranded,” thus subjecting them to government “seizure or injunction.” These are the allegations made by the FDA in a letter to Diamond Foods asking them to remove the claim on their website that walnuts are “heart healthy.” This is not the first time the FDA has done this. Similar rulings have been made against manufacturers of pomegranate juice and green tea.
The FDA Ignores Scientific Research
The FDA’s ruling makes it clear they chose to ignore the plethora of research supporting Diamond Foods’ health claims. There are at least 35 research studies supporting the claim that consuming walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce heart attack risk. Studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Heart Association for example, have found reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol and improvements in endothelial function (healthy inner walls of arteries).
Meanwhile, FDA Allows Potato Chips to be Advertised as “Heart Healthy”
You might not associate potato chips and other fried snack foods as being good for you, but the FDA has no problem allowing the Frito-Lay website to state the following:
“Our all-natural sunflower, corn and soybean oils contain good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which help lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and maintain HDL “good” cholesterol levels, which can support a healthy heart.”
It is true that some polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat can lower bad cholesterol and possibly maintain or improve good cholesterol, but what they do not tell you is the bad news about these oils. These oils are extremely high in omega-6 fat and extremely low in omega-3 fat. Oils of this nature are known to be highly inflammatory to the human body and is associated with heart attacks, thrombotic stroke, arrhythmia, arthritis, osteoporosis, inflammation, mood disorders, obesity, and cancer (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2006). Inflammation is far more responsible for causing disease than cholesterol.
They also do not tell you these foods are high in acrylamide. Acrylamide is a toxic compound formed when carbohydrate foods, such as potatoes are cooked at high temperature. According to the National Cancer Institute, acrylamide is considered to be a cancer causing compound and an FDA funded study found that potato chips and other fried carbohydrate foods were especially high in acrylamide. The FDA, however, has not stopped companies selling high acrylamide-containing foods from promoting them as healthy.
For the FDA to allow Frito-Lay to make misleading claims there are heart benefits from consuming their highly inflammatory, disease-producing snack products, while censoring the ability of walnut companies to make scientifically-substantiated health claims is harmful to the health of the American public.
Censoring Health Information and the FDA’s Apparent Hidden Agenda
It is quite apparent the FDA is censoring health claims that have been shown in studies to be good for you. Their actions also imply who will benefit from these actions. It is certain that the pharmaceutical companies and processed food companies will benefit from the FDA’s misdeeds. The more people that eat unhealthy processed foods, the more diseases will emerge and more drugs will be required to control these diseases. As a result, pharmaceutical companies will reap tens of billions of dollars each year in profits. An obstacle standing in their way is scientific evidence showing that eating healthier food can prevent diseases from developing in most people.
It appears the FDA is functioning to enrich Big Pharma and processed food companies, while the public shoulders the financial burden of today’s health-care cost crisis.
Does this latest proclamation that healthy foods are now illegal drugs show the FDA has the public’s health interest in mind or do they have an agenda?