I’m very troubled by the American Heart Association’s (AHA) willingness to lend its logo and stamp of approval to a multitude of garbage foods like Cocoa Puffs and Berry Kix cereals.
So I contacted the AHA and spoke to the manager of the Food Certification Program, Ms. Linda Rupp. Ms. Rupp proved very helpful in helping me to understand.
I originally called her to find out just how many products were turned down. In view of 768 products on the approved list, I wondered how many had been rejected to generate this “select” group.
Unfortunately, she said that the number of products rejected was not tracked, though she did intimate that it was not a lot. Sometimes, she added, a rejected product will undergo a few “improvements” to help it achieve the criteria necessary for AHA approval.
What exactly is considered in an application for the Food Certification Program?
A food must have 1)total fat 3.0 grams or less, 2) saturated fat 1.0 gram or less, 3) 20 grams or less cholesterol, 4) 480 mg or less sodium, all per serving.
She also pointed out that, given the fact that a food as useless and lacking in health qualitites as jelly beans could meet this criteria, the AHA employs a special “Jelly Bean Rule” that stipulates that 10% of the Daily Value of 6 nutrients (e.g., fiber, vitamins A and C, etc.) must also be contained in a serving.
So those are the startlingly lax requirements to gain the privilege of affixing the AHA Heart Check Mark on your product and informing the public that your box of Cocoa Puffs, Cookie Crisp cereal, or Berry Kix is “heart healthy.”
There is an epidemic of obesity in the U.S. I don’t believe that the AHA endorsement helps. In fact, I believe that it has been a contributor to obesity.
Pardon me while I eat this bag of M&M’s for my heart.
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