That might sound like a trick question, unless the question is being asked in a conference room at the FDA.
Cherries contain antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory components. The scientific evidence behind that statement is irrefutable. But when owners of cherry orchards made antioxidant and anti-inflammatory claims and backed them up with evidence, the FDA ruled that the claims “cause your products to be drugs.”
So the trick answer to the trick question is: Yes — cherries are drugs that, so far, have no FDA approval.
Does that sound crazy? We’re just getting started.
Recently, Dannon settled a dispute with the FDA by paying out $21 million to several states where the company had advertised Activia yogurt and DanActive dairy drink. In those ads they said the products, “help regulate your digestive system…naturally.”
That claim is based on what we know about the benefits of living cultures in probiotics.
But the FDA decided that Dannon was actually claiming that “Activia provided consumers with bowel movements at fixed, uniform or normal intervals.” Clearly, that was not the case, but the agency’s absurd decision ended up costing Dannon millions.
And FDA officials were just as picky and difficult when it came to walnuts.
They told walnut distributor Diamond Foods that multiple studies showing heart health benefits of walnuts were not sufficient to allow such claims on the Diamond Foods website. Again, the FDA ruled that the health claims classified walnuts as drugs.
Now…if all that seems completely bat-house crazy, brace yourself — seriously — because here’s what the FDA allows the king of snack foods, Frito-Lay, to say about their products…
“You might be surprised at how much good stuff goes into your favorite snack. Good stuff like potatoes, which naturally contain vitamin C and essential minerals. Or corn, one of the world’s most popular grains, packed with thiamin, vitamin B6, and phosphorous—all necessary for healthy bones, teeth, nerves and muscles.”
Potatoes and corn — two of the WORST foods you can eat, even before the processing begins!
So you CAN’T say cherries provide antioxidants that benefit health, but you CAN tell consumers that FRITOS help keep bones and muscles healthy.
It’s lunacy! And potato chips?
As I mentioned last summer, a Harvard study found that these three food items top the list for contributing to yearly weight-gain spikes:
- Potato chips
- Potatoes (any type of serving)
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
So if you’re struggling to manage your proper weight, a serving of potato chips may actually be WORSE for you than a 12-ounce Coke!
In any rational world we’d be able to storm FDA headquarters and take them all away in straitjackets.
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
Visit www.hsionline.com to sign up for the free HSI e-Alert.
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