You want a healthy dinner. Do you order sushi, make a salad, or blend a smoothie? Just as individuals have a different sense of what "healthy" or "healthful" means, so do nutritionists. And according to a recent survey conducted by The New York Times and the polling firm Morning Consult, Americans' and nutritionists' ideas don't often gel.
For the survey, 672 nutritionists who belong to the American Society for Nutrition and 2000 registered voters rated 52 food items based on how healthy or unhealthy they believed them to be. The list included cheese, sushi, hummus, shrimp, milk, popcorn, steak, and other grocery store staples. Unsurprisingly, the public and the experts agreed that hamburgers, beef jerky, diet soda, white bread, and chocolate chip cookies are not healthy food options. They also agreed that things like apples, chicken, oatmeal, and peanut butter are. But that's just about where their common beliefs ended.
While 80 percent of the public surveyed said they thought that granola is healthy, only 47 percent of the experts agreed; the differing stances on granola bars were even more stark (71 percent versus only 28 percent). Other foods that the public believed to be healthy but, according to the experts, are not, include coconut oil, frozen yogurt, SlimFast shakes, orange juice, and American cheese. The Times says this may be because the general public doesn't consider things like added sugar when weighing the healthiness of their options.
But the survey results weren't all doom and gloom. The nutritionists rated some foods higher on the healthy scale than the public did, including fun things like wine, shrimp, hummus, and sushi. The last of which, The New York Times says, was also the most searched for "Is ___ healthy?" term on Google, followed by things like popcorn, oatmeal, and tofu (in case you're wondering, the surveyed experts said "yes" to all).
Feeling more confused about healthy choices than ever? The Times reassures readers that your overall diet is more important than relegating each ingredient to "good" or "bad" categories—so if you're eating a balanced diet, you're on the right track.
[h/t The New York Times]