What does “wholesome” mean, anyway?

February 12, 2007

So I’ve taken a closer look at food labels lately, and I notice that a lot of them toss around words like “wholesome”.  What does this mean, anyway?

Best I can gather is that it’s supposed to be healthful or good for you.  Sounds great, right?

So I flip over a few packages of so-called “wholesome” foods.  Hmmm, partially-hydrogenated oils?  Check.  High fructose corn syrup?  Checkity check.

How can these foods possibly be deemed wholesome or even be good for you?

Here’s some fun information.  “Wholesome” has nothing to do with nutritional value.  Nothing.  So why do food manufacturers print it freely on their labels?  Because they can.

The term “wholesome” when printed on a food label has nothing to do with nutritional value.   Basically, “wholesome” is a synonym for “edible”. According to the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA, a wholesome food is simply a food “fit for human consumption.”  In fact, for a food to be sold in the U.S., it needs to be deemed “fit for human consumption”.  Or, in other words, “wholesome”.

Too bad it doesn’t need to be deemed “nutritious”.  Just sayin’.

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One Response to “What does “wholesome” mean, anyway?”

  1. kellyjn Says:

    Fit for human consumption?

    Niiiice.

    So much for the theory that what sounds good for you MUST be good for you.

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