FDA: Avocados are Officially Heart Healthy | Food Newsfeed

FDA: Avocados are Officially Heart Healthy

January 04, 2017 Industry News
Industry News

Nutrition experts have been touting for years the health benefits of fresh Avocados, and now the FDA is making it official.

In response to a petition submitted by the American Heart Association, the FDA has amended the regulation about the relationship between dietary saturated fat and cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease. With the new amendment, raw fruits and vegetables that previously failed to meet the standards of the “low fat” definition are now allowed to bear the label “heart-healthy.”

“Nutrient-dense and delicious, fresh avocados are now considered heart-healthy, as announced by FDA’s interim final rule. From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, avocados are a versatile ingredient to add to any dish. And, as the only avocado that’s always in season, Avocados From Mexico are a healthy staple all year long,” Avocados From Mexico says in a statement.

The FDA released a document explaining the decision. In it is says, “The petitioner explained that some of our requirements for the dietary saturated fat and cholesterol and risk of CHD health claim prevent a number of fruits and vegetables from being eligible to bear the claim. The minimum nutrient content requirement for all health claims requires that, to be eligible to bear a health claim, a food contains 10 percent or more of the Reference Daily Intake or the Daily Reference Value for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein, or fiber per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) prior to any nutrient addition. Although most fruits and vegetables meet this minimum requirement for one or more of the described nutrients, a small number of fruits and vegetables do not meet the minimum nutrient content requirement. For example, grapes, plums, beets, and cucumbers do not contain 10 percent of the RDI or DRV of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein, or fiber per RACC. Additionally, the dietary saturated fat and cholesterol and risk of CHD health claim requires that a food bearing the claim meet all of the nutrient content requirements of § 101.62 for “low saturated fat,” “low cholesterol,” and “low fat.” Again, most fruits and vegetables meet the requirement for “low fat,” but at least one fruit, avocados, does not meet the requirement and therefore is not eligible to bear the claim, even though the fruit meets the requirements for “low saturated fat” and “low cholesterol.”

It went on to add: “Additionally, the dietary saturated fat and cholesterol and risk of CHD health claim requires that a food bearing the claim meet all of the nutrient content requirements … for “low saturated fat,” “low cholesterol,” and “low fat.” Again, most fruits and vegetables meet the requirement for “low fat,” but at least one fruit, avocados, does not meet the requirement and therefore is not eligible to bear the claim, even though the fruit meets the requirements for “low saturated fat” and “low cholesterol.”

Lastly: “The petition noted that a fruit such as an avocado exceeds the 3 [grams] total fat per RACC criterion of the “low fat” definition and therefore would never be able to bear the health claim for diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol and reduced risk of CHD. According to our nutrient data on the 20 most frequently consumed fruits, avocados contain 4.5 g total fat per RACC and do, indeed, exceed 3 g total fat per RACC. Barring an exemption to the “low fat” requirement, avocados (and any other fruit or vegetable with a total fat content in excess of the criteria for “low fat”) are not eligible to bear the dietary saturated fat and cholesterol and risk of CHD health claim.”

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.