The Debate on Healthy Food: Americans And Nutritionists Have Conflicting Opinions On What They Consider 'Healthy'

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald July 06, 09:14 am
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Americans and nutritionists don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to what they consider healthy food. For instance, plenty of Americans think granola bars are healthy because it has oats, dried fruits and nuts. Nutritionists, however, have low opinions about the overrated granola and granola bars.

The Truth About Granola

There's nothing bad about oats, dried fruits and nuts, but that tune changes when excessive amounts of sugar are added to the final product or in this case, a granola bar. According to a recent survey conducted by The New York Times and media and polling firm the Morning Consult, only 28 percent of nutritionists think that granola is healthy.

Americans, meanwhile, have opposing beliefs. Seventy-one percent of people in the United States are fooled into thinking that granola is good for their health.

Granola is filled with extra sugar and calories, according to Shape. If it's hard for you to ditch this easily accessible snack, opt for high-fiber granola bars with low sugar instead.

Sharon Zarabi, a nutritionist and fitness expert at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told CBS News that it's more advisable to eat homemade granola. Zarabi advised toasting your own oatmeal but don't add sweeteners like sugar, honey or light syrup. Just add fruits instead like dried blueberries, dried cherries and dried apricots to make your homemade granola sweet.

What's Healthy And What Isn't

In the survey, foods that ranked high in nutritionists' healthy list are hummus, quinoa, kale, shrimp, wine, tofu, sushi, kale, eggs, apples, almonds, olive oil, chicken and spinach. Quinoa carries nutritious elements such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, dietary fiber and vitamins B and E, BBC Good Food listed.

Foods that are considered unhealthy by both nutritionists and Americans are soda, French fries, chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, bacon, white bread, beer and SlimFast shake. Orange juice, American cheese and coconut oil also have poor nutrition content.

In May, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it will introduce a new Nutrition Facts label design. The updated design will display calories and serving sizes that correspond to the amounts of food Americans consume.

The new design will also declare grams and a percent value for added sugars. This way, consumers will know how much sugar was added to the product and allow them to monitor and lower their chances of developing obesity, diabetes and heart disorders.

However, food manufacturers aren't required to display the new label design on their packaged foods until July 26, 2018. Until then, consumers should just watch what they eat. According to the American Heart Association, people shouldn't consume more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day.

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