Today’s Headlines: The FDA’s Standards for Healthy Foods, Why You Should Wear Sunscreen in the Car, and The Factors That Determine Sleep

Do you know what the word “healthy” means on a food label? ​The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is redefining the criteria for labeling foods as “healthy” and are now allowing KIND Snacks to use the word “healthy” to describe their snack bars. The current guidelines measure the amount of fat in food products and although KIND’s products are high in fat, they’re high in good, healthy fats. “While not everyone may agree that rigid cutoffs of fat and sodium levels are the ideal criteria for ‘healthy,’ some nutrition experts worry that the distinction between a ‘healthy’ philosophy and ‘healthy’ nutrient content may be lost on consumers.” The issue that’s being raised is a valid one. KIND bars, for example have lots of nuts which have a high fat content but are also considered healthy. (ABC)

You should wear sunglasses and sunscreen when you are driving. A new study has shown that car windows are not effective in keeping harmful UV rays from affecting the skin. “On average, car windshields blocked about 96 percent of UV-A rays. The protection afforded by individual cars ranged from 95 to 98 percent. But side door windows were far less dependable. The percentage of UV-A rays blocked varied from 44 percent to 96 percent. Only four of the 29 cars had windows that blocked more than 90 percent of UV-A rays.” UV rays are very harmful to unprotected skin and can potentially cause cancer, so it’s important to protect yourself. (Reuters)

How much sleep you get may depend on factors you cannot control. A new research study based on data from a sleep activity-monitoring app suggests that age, nationality, and gender may be some of the driving forces that determine how much sleep you get every night. “Most people in the data set schedule between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, with a mean of 7.88 hours. Of all the factors considered in their analysis, gender plays the biggest role in how long a person sleeps. On average, women schedule 8.07 hours of sleep, while men schedule 7.77 hours. Age also seems to be an important factor for when people sleep. On average, older people schedule sleep earlier than younger people. Nationality also plays a role in sleep duration. Residents of Singapore and Japan had the shortest sleep duration of the 20 countries represented in the study, getting an average of 7 hours and 24 minutes of shut-eye a night. People in the Netherlands were the most well-rested, averaging 8 hours and 12 minutes of sleep a night. In the United States, the average sleep duration is 7.87 hours.” This study raised more questions that need to be considered in further research. (LA Times)