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FDA Speaks, but Walnuts Are Still Good for You

New and Un-improved FDA

I finally found a use for LinkedIn: culling news headlines related to my industry and other core interests. Yesterday, I came across an interesting one.

The headline read, “This popular nut slashed breast cancer risk in mice by 50% [Update: some time after this post was published, this linked article has been archived behind a paywall].” That wasn’t even the interesting part, though I would like to see the data (50%?). What interested me was the antagonist of the article.

The article describes actions taken by the FDA in response to a food label on packages of walnuts, in addition to health claims posted on the food company’s website.

What did the food label say?

It touted the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

Why was that applicable?

Because walnuts are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3.

So, this is where the fun starts. >>>

Common Sense vs. the FDA

Common Sense:

  • Based on clinical studies, omega-3 fatty acids benefit health.
  • Walnuts are a good source of omega-3.
  • Walnuts are healthy.
  • Eat walnuts.


  • Walnuts are a natural, healthy product.
  • Because we are “responsible for protecting the public health,” let us label walnuts as a drug, and regulate its distribution in order to prevent Nature from harming its citizens. For when Mother Nature doesn’t care for you, the FDA’s got your back.
  • If you maintain your health with nutrition, it will adversely affect the billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry and the health of our economy.
  • Besides, why eat nuts when you can eat beta-blockers, statins, nitroglycerin, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors? Which tastes better anyway? [We like the red ones.]

The Product of FDA Deliberations

The FDA gathered their thoughts and issued a warning letter to Diamond Food Inc, the evil distributor of walnuts. In summary, Diamond Food shall no longer educate the public on the health benefits of their nuts (see excerpt below, or the full letter here).

Reactionary, revolutionary, or simply a laughing matter?

My reaction upon reading the above article was vexation. It was maddening. For after all, what can we do? It’s the FDA. But then I was immediately reminded of the author of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand–who had it right and was quite the visionary.

“Who is John Galt?” –Atlas Shrugged

We are John Galt. We are responsible for our own well-being. By exercising our freedom to choose our own healthy lifestyles, thereby upholding our vigor, we can build a heroic nation and accept the responsibility of caring for our dependents–the youth in need of mentors, the inheritors of what we leave behind, as well as the aging seniors who left us something to cherish.

What can we do about the FDA and its abuse of power? We can emasculate it through mockery. And have a whole lot of fun along the way.


From the FDA warning letter to Diamond Food Inc, dated 2/22/10:

“Based on claims made on your firm’s website [and product label], 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 disease.

…they may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application.”


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