As consumer demand for healthy foods increases, so do claims about what’s good and bad for you, what to avoid, and what to eat more of.
So how do you know what’s what? Daniel Lubetzky, CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks, wants to help you separate food fact from special interest fiction.
He’s pledging $25 million to fund a new initiative, called Feed the Truth, which aims to fight the food industry’s influence on public health and scientific research.
“In establishing Feed the Truth, my intent is to elevate reputable science, bolster the voices of the nutrition community, and improve the guidance and information offered to Americans,” Lubetzky said.
Sound counterintuitive? According to Lubetzky, it’s not. While funded by KIND corporate money, Lubetzky says he and the KIND corporation will have no further involvement in the project. Instead, Feed the Truth will be steered by a team of superstar veteran public health advocates and policy analysts.
Debra Eschmeyer, FoodCorps co-founder, school food reformer, and Executive Director of the Obama White House nutrition policy Let’s Move!. She is also a fifth generation farmer at the Ohio-based, organic Harvest Sun Farm.
Michael Jacobson, co-founder and president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit health advocacy organization. Jacobson holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from MIT, and is responsible for coining the terms “junk food” and “empty calorie.” He advocates for nutrition labels on all foods, and mandatory warning labels on all sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
Marion Nestle, food activist and author, founder of the Food Studies program at New York University. Nestle holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition.
In May 2015, the nutritional value of KIND products was called into question by the FDA. The agency claimed KIND’s products did not meet the standards required to be labeled as “healthy.”
“We learned that their guidance was established over 20 years ago and didn’t reflect modern nutrition science, particularly when it came to fat,” Lubetzky said to Forbes.
The FDA later reversed the decision, but Feed the Truth will tackle issues like misleading and conflicting health guidelines and standards.
The website, for example, cites almonds, avocados, and salmon as not meeting the requirements to be labeled “healthy” under current food labeling guidelines; while sugary cereals, fat free puddings, and low-fat toaster pastries do qualify as “healthy.”
Feed the Truth will also take on biased or corporate-funded science, citing the Journal of American Medical Association report published last year showing in the 1960s, the Sugar Association funded scientific research to shift the focus from sugar to fat.
More specific Feed the Truth programming will be decided by an Executive Director, and overseen by a Board of Directors.
Lubetzky pledged an initial contribution of $5 million, with an additional $20 million over the next 10 years.