Walnuts Listed as Drugs?
Here's a article by Dr. Mercola
As unbelievable as it sounds, current law makes it illegal for food
producers to share certain types of scientific information with you.
So when Diamond Food relayed health information about the omega-3 fats
in walnuts on product packaging and also on their Web site, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attacked.
Even though the information was entirely true, and backed by
peer-reviewed scientific research.
If a Food Can Prevent a Disease, it Must be a Drug
This is the backward thinking that goes on at the FDA, where regulations
currently prohibit manufacturers of dietary supplements or producers of
food from referring to any scientific study documenting the potential
effect of the substance on a health condition, punishable by large fines
and even jail.
Disclosure about the benefits of a dietary supplement or food, no matter
how credible, places the food in the category of an "unapproved drug."
In other words, if a product makes a medical claim, it's automatically
classified as a drug.
This is how the FDA got away with sending Diamond Food a warning
"… we have determined that your walnut products are promoted for
conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are
intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of
The following are examples of the claims made on your firm's website
under the heading of a web page stating "OMEGA-3s... Every time you
munch a few walnuts, you're doing your body a big favor … "
These claims are backed by science2, but it doesn't matter under FDA
rules, which are so counter to rationality and logic that it boggles the
mind. The FDA letter goes on to list several health claims made by
Diamond Foods regarding omega-3 fats, claims such as:
"Studies indicate that the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts may help
lower cholesterol; protect against heart disease, stroke and some
cancers; ease arthritis and other inflammatory diseases; and even fight
depression and other mental illnesses."
"[O]mega-3 fatty acids inhibit the tumor growth that is promoted by the
acids found in other fats... "
"[I]n treating major depression, for example, omega-3s seem to work by
making it easier for brain cell receptors to process mood-related
signals from neighboring neurons."
"The omega-3s found in fish oil are thought to be responsible for the
significantly lower incidence of breast cancer in Japanese women as
compared to women in the United States."
Walnuts are "New Drugs"
Because Diamond Food dared to let consumers know that natural substances
in a natural food may offer some health benefits and protections, the
FDA views this as a new drug. In their eyes, only FDA-approved drugs are
capable of offering such protections …
The FDA stated in the warning letter3:
"Because of these intended uses, your walnut products are drugs… Your
walnut products are also new drugs … because they are not generally
recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced conditions.
Therefore … they may not be legally marketed with the above claims in
the United States without an approved new drug application.
Additionally, your walnut products are offered for conditions that are
not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not
medical practitioners; therefore, adequate directions for use cannot be
written so that a layperson can use these drugs safely for their
intended purposes. Thus, your walnut products are also misbranded… in
that the labeling for these drugs fails to bear adequate directions for
The FDA's current position is that foods such as walnuts, cherries,
broccoli, turmeric, green tea and the like should be subjected to the
full FDA approval process. But obtaining a new drug application, as the
FDA suggested, can cost billions of dollars. And let's face it -- walnut
growers cannot come close to affording that!
Is it Not a Constitutional Right to Share Truthful, Scientific
This is so ridiculous, as censoring a food producer's right to inform
others about scientific research is in violation of the first amendment.
The American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) states:
"The FDA ignores first amendment protections and censors the
communication of valid scientific information. The agency seems to have
lost sight of its mandate to protect the public and has instead come to
see itself as the guardian of corporate interests."
Can you imagine the drug companies not being permitted to tell you what
their products could do for you... do you think they would roll over for
that? Not a chance, but they don't have to simply because they are the
ones who can afford the FDA's approval process. With few exceptions,
it's impossible for food producers to assume such costs for natural and
therefore non-patentable products.
It's ludicrous for the FDA to require natural products to be "vetted"
the same way as drugs. In nearly every case, natural products are safer
and more effective than synthetic drugs, as science has shown, time and
time again. Not to mention that natural agents are much less expensive
than pharmaceuticals, and can even be grown in your backyard!
It's unfortunate that the FDA is so beholden to the drug industry that
it would waste it's time to attack a walnut manufacturer for citing
scientific research while allowing Frito Lay to claim that its Lay's
potato chips are "heart healthy."
And walnut producers are not alone. Cherry growers have also been
threatened by the FDA with jail time if their websites even contain
links to scientific studies from Harvard and elsewhere, outlining the
health benefits of cherries for gout or arthritis pain.4 Green tea
growers have received similar threats. As I said, it truly boggles the
What Should You Know About Walnuts?
The FDA was sure worried that you might get wind of the truth -- that a
food might confer health benefits that drugs currently lay exclusive
claim to. Walnuts are good sources of plant-based omega-3 fats, natural
phytosterols and antioxidants that are so powerful at free-radical
scavenging that researchers called them "remarkable."5 Plus, walnuts may
help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but breast cancer as
In one study, mice that ate the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of whole
walnuts for 18 weeks had significantly smaller and slower-growing
prostate tumors compared to the control group that consumed the same
amount of fat but from other sources. Overall the whole walnut diet
reduced prostate cancer growth by 30 to 40 percent. According to another
study on mice, the human equivalent of just two handfuls of walnuts a
day cut breast cancer risk in half, and slowed tumor growth by 50
percent as well6. Other research has shown walnuts may:
Significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels
Reverse brain aging in rats
Boost heart health in diabetics
Now this is the type of information that we need to hear more of as, no
doubt, if people were made aware of these potential benefits, and
similar ones in other whole foods, they may be tempted to snack on a
handful of whole walnuts instead of a bag of potato chips or pretzels.
You Can Still Support HR 1364 for Free Speech About Science
Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R–UT) and Jared Polis (D–CO) have introduced
the Free Speech about Science Act (HR 1364), a landmark legislation that
would allow the flow of legitimate scientific and educational
information.7 The new bill provides a limited and carefully targeted
change to FDA regulations so that manufacturers and producers may
reference legitimate, peer-reviewed scientific studies without
converting a natural food or dietary supplement into an "unapproved
drug." According to Rep. Chaffetz's website, the provisions of HR 1364
do the following8:
Allow dietary supplements and healthy foods to cite legitimate
Provide a clear definition of the types of research that may be
referenced by growers and manufacturers
Ensure that referencing such research does not convert a food or dietary
supplement into an "unapproved (and therefore illegal) new drug"
Retain the authority of FDA and FTC to pursue any fraudulent and
According to Rep. Chaffetz9:
"It is important for individuals and families to take charge of their
personal health by making the right decisions to get and stay healthy.
This includes accessing information so that individuals can adjust
habits, eat healthfully, and take appropriate dietary supplements to
prevent and even treat health conditions.
The Free Speech About Science Act helps insure their access to
legitimate scientific research to make the necessary decisions to
improve their personal health and the health of their families."
Rep. Polis adds10:
"Today's science has shown that vitamins and nutritional supplements can
offer successful, natural alternatives to drugs. As we begin to reform
our nation's healthcare system, supplements are an innovative way to
help reduce costs.
The Free Speech About Science Act is a common sense act that will make
it easier for doctors and consumers to learn about the cheaper,
healthier alternatives to costly medicines that food and nutritional
As of December 2011, HR 1364 is in the first step in the legislative
process and has been referred to committee. The majority of bills never
make it out of committee, so we need your help.
Please lend HR 1364 your support by signing on as a co-sponsor TODAY.
Use the Alliance for Natural Health's HR 1364 page to send a letter to
your representative in support of this bill.11 And forward or post this
article to all of your friends and loved ones who care about their
health and their right to informed consent. With your combined influence
we can be a powerful force for much-needed change.
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