Ask EN

April 2000 Issue

Buyer Beware: Wholesome May Not Be Healthful

Q. I see ads touting the wholesomeness of foods that don't always seem healthful. What exactly does the word "wholesome" mean?A. Not much, legally. Yes, the dictionary defines wholesome as "conducive to sound health or well-being." But the Federal Trade Commission, which is responsible for regulating food advertising, has no guidelines for use of the term, despite its frequent use in food advertising. Wholesomeness has nothing to do with the nutritional value of

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