A New Study Says We Are All Officially Confused About What Nutritious Food Looks Like

07.06.16 2 years ago 5 Comments

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You’re looking to shed a few pounds for Speedo season, so what do you do? You go Paleo, replacing your normal cream-and-sugar a.m. coffee routine with coconut oil and butter. It’s healthy, right? And it’ll get you through the morning, or at least, that’s what your cubical-mate says.

Only, it doesn’t. So at 11 a.m., desperately in need of some actual carbs, you cave and have a serving of granola, which you make sure to mix into a bowl of yogurt. Because, protein! Never mind the fact that that yogurt is frozen. It’s good for you. That’s what the lady running the shop said as she urged you to try a sample of her latest flavor, The Way the Cookie Crumbles. And would she lie?

Well, no. But she probably doesn’t know what’s best for you. And, according to a new report out from the New York Times, in conjunction with polling group the Morning Consult, you probably don’t either.

For the report, the Morning Consult asked hundreds of nutritionists, as well as a “representative sample of the American electorate” to give their opinion of the healthiness or unhealthiness of approximately 50 different food items — everything from kale and olive oil to chocolate chip cookies and french fries. Yes, there were the soft balls — no one really considered diet soda to be healthy — but the surprising results came with the more ambiguous foods, including steak, whole milk, and popcorn.

Because, as it turns out, not even nutritionists have a firm grasp on what’s healthy and what’s not.

“Twenty years ago, I think we knew about 10 percent of what we need to know” Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, told the Times. “And now we know about 40 or 50 percent.”

The top foods that baffled the nutritionists? Popcorn, with a 61 percent healthy rating from nutritionists (versus 52 percent from the public); pork chops, with 59 percent (versus 52 percent); whole milk, with 63 percent (versus 59 percent); steak, with 60 percent (versus 63 percent); and cheddar cheese, with 57 percent (versus a very close 56 percent from the public).

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