Americans may be good at recognizing which food items are healthy, according to a new study conducted by The New York Times and nutritionists. Granola is mostly considered as healthy, although experts do not recommend it for having too much added sugar.
A correct nutrition is fundamental for having a healthy life. Federal institutions such as the Food and Drug Administration are currently re-classifying which foods are healthy are which are not. The journal hired a polling firm to analyze how the perception of “healthy” varies in the nation.
The polling firm Morning Consult surveyed nutritionist experts, including staff from the American Society of Nutrition. They also asked a portion of the American electorate whether they considered 50 items as healthy.
Dariush Mozaffarian of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy told the NT Times that knowledge about what we are currently eating has been increasing over the last two decades.
Apples, kale, and oatmeal, are generally considered as healthy by both bands surveyed, while soda, cookies, and french fries are seen as the bad guys. Granola was the most controversial food item in the survey.
— Dr Alessandro Demaio (@SandroDemaio) July 6, 2016
Americans think granola is healthy. Experts believe it contains too much added sugars
NY Times researchers selected 52 foods for the poll. An estimated 70 percent of Americans said granola bars were healthy. This favorite snack is mostly composed of oat, nuts, honey and puffed rice. However, one ingredient may be hidden from everyone’s view: sugar.
Less than a third of polled nutritionists recommended granola bars, said the NY Times. Other foods classified as healthy by Americans include SlimFast shake and frozen yogurt. All those items may contain high amounts of added sugars.
The White House, alongside the Food and Drug Administration, announced in May a new Nutrition Facts label for products sold in American soil. New regulations encourage manufacturers to provide more information about nutrients in food, including added sugars.
Added sugars include table sugar, honey, and syrup. They should only account for five percent of all calories consumed in one day, said the U.K.’s National Health Service in a blog post.
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) May 20, 2016
Americans think that wine, shrimp, and sushi are not as healthy as experts believe
Specialists and nutritionists have classified wine, shrimp, sushi, and quinoa as healthy foods, while the public differs. Analysts at the NY Times said people might be unaware of their benefits because they are relatively new items in the American diet.
Most experts who participated in the poll agreed with healthiness levels of the majority of foods. However, some things caused controversy among nutritionists and the public, including steak, pork chops, whole milk and steak.
Those foods have high percentages of saturated fat. Over the last decades, most nutritionists had agreed that fat consumption was not appropriate for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This view has been changing in recent years.
“Newer studies are less clear, many of the fights among nutritionists tend to be about the right amount of protein and fat in a healthy diet. The uncertainty about these foods, as expressed both by experts and ordinary Americans, reflects the haziness of the nutritional evidence about them,” said the NY Times.
45% Americans have at least one chronic disease. Let's invest in healthy food, public transit, & clean energy instead of what makes us sick.
— Dr. Jill Stein (@DrJillStein) July 2, 2016
Nutritionists and the public agree: hamburgers, diet soda, and cookies are unhealthy
Both polled groups agreed that burgers, beef jerky, diet soda, white bread and chocolate chip cookies are unhealthy items. On the other hand, both groups recognized apples, oranges, oatmeal, chicken, and peanut butter as healthy foods.
High consumption of added sugars has been linked to obesity, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 78.6 million adults in the nation are obese. The CDC said overweight people face a higher risk of developing heart disease and type II diabetes.
“Ninety-nine percent of nutritionists said their diet was very or somewhat healthy. The most popular special diet type was “Mediterranean”; 25 percent of our nutritionists picked it. But the most common answer, even for experts, was ‘no special rules or restrictions’.” added the NY Times.
— Jillian Michaels (@JillianMichaels) June 29, 2016
Americans might not be eating enough fruits and vegetables
People in the country might be improving their eating habits by decreasing consumption of sugary drinks, while they are eating more yogurt, nuts, and whole grains. However, most Americans might be skipping fruit and vegetables.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that healthy food consumption might variate depending on racial groups. For instance, African-Americans may consume high amounts of white potatoes while Mexican-Americans have diets full of refined grains.
Study author Dr. Darius Mozaffarian of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy told Times that the United States should create laws for regulating food. He argued that Americans have policies for cars, workplaces and toys but not for foods.
Sesame Quinoa Spring Rolls pic.twitter.com/425t1Zp1hy
— Healthy Food (@BeFitFoods) July 2, 2016
Source: The New York Times