Monday, May 28, 2007

Will Doritos soon have a Heart and Stroke Health Check?

Not yet, but in the States, they're likely soon to have this FDA approved health claim on their bags,

"Replacing saturated fat with similar amounts of unsaturated fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. To achieve this benefit, total daily calories should not increase"
Why will Frito Lay be allowed to advertise that Doritos are heart healthy?

Apparently they've petitioned the Food and Drug administration in the States for the rite to make the claim and this past Friday the FDA agreed!

So why did the FDA agree?

According to Frito Lay spokesman Charles Nicolas, the FDA agreed because Frito Lay switched to corn and sunflower oils in their products which in turn removed trans fats and lowered saturated fats while boosting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Charles was also quick to point out that Frito Lay,
"understands that as with any food or beverage, moderation, balanced with exercise, is an important part of managing weight and well-being"
My take?

I can think of no better way of proving that nutritional packaging claims are both dangerous and misleading than to see a heart healthy claim being made on a bag of Doritos.

So back to my title question, will they get a Heart and Stroke Foundation Health Check?


Looking at the Health Check's criteria for snack food, it turns out that there are only two criteria for potato chips - Serving sizes of 30grams with less than 3grams of fat per serving.

Looking at Frito Lay's product line, there are multiple products that meet Health Check's incredibly non-stringent criteria and Doritos' single servings are only 0.5grams of fat away.

If I were Frito Lay I'd be reformulating as I type and applying for that helpful Health Check (helpful to sell my foods that is) for all my "healthy" foods ASAP.

Think I'm being overly dramatic or critical of Health Check? Think there's a mechanism in Health Check to weed out such obviously ridiculous foods?

Stay tuned tomorrow.

UPDATE July 23rd, 2009: So two years later Health Check has finally figured out that perhaps potato chips don't deserve health checks and have removed them from consideration.