Written by Grace Hunter
When hunger strikes and you reach for a granola bar for a quick pick-me-up, are you
making a healthy snack choice? It turns out that while the public often thinks of granola bars as healthy, nutritionists feel differently on the matter. The divide between what the American public thinks is healthy versus what nutritionists think was investigated in a poll by the New York Times. While the public and nutritionists were in agreement on the health benefits of foods such as apples, oatmeal, and chicken, other foods brought on stark differences in opinion.
Foods that experts deemed healthy that the public didn’t included quinoa, tofu, wine and
shrimp. In contrary, the public thought of frozen yogurt, granola, and coconut oil as healthier choices than nutritionists did. The biggest source of disagreement came from those granola bars – while more than 70% of Americans thought of them as healthy, only a meagre 30% of nutritionists agreed.
So why is there a disagreement between what nutritionists and the public think is health?
The Times speculated that because ingredients like quinoa and tofu are new additions to many American diets, the public hasn’t quite caught wind of their health benefits yet. On the other hand, while foods like frozen yogurt and granola bars can contain healthy ingredients such as oatmeal and fruits, they often contain a whopping amount of added sugar.
The take-away message from this poll is that our concept of nutritious food is always
evolving, both for nutritionists and for the public. When you head to the grocery store, it’s worth reading labels to see what sort of ingredients might be hiding in your granola bar. And at the end of the day, the Times supports eating a balanced overall diet, rather than focusing on the health benefits (or lack thereof) of one specific food.
If you’d like to learn more, you can read about the results of the poll here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/05/upshot/is-sushi-healthy-what-about-granola-where-americans-and-nutritionists-disagree.html