healthy foods: the public vs. the experts – Healthy Foods: The Public Vs. The Experts

Healthy Foods: The Public Vs. The Experts

healthy foods: the public vs. the expertsHave you ever thought that your perception of what foods are healthy and what foods are unhealthy might be misguided? Have you ever planned your diet around the newest “healthy food” craze and neglected to research its health benefits? If you’ve done either or both of these things, we hope to shed some light on the situation with this week’s blog post!

It’s easy to be influenced by our peers in what to eat – whether we’re eating healthy or not. It’s been discovered, however, that the public’s view of what foods are healthy and unhealthy vary from the actual expert’s opinion. So in this week’s blog, we’re going to touch on a few food items and set the record straight on their healthiness.

  1. Granola Bars aren’t as healthy as you think.

According to an article from the New York Times, in a survey from The Morning Consult with nutritionists vs. the public, the public ranked granola as 80% healthy and granola bars as 71% healthy, while nutritionists ranked granola 47% and granola bars at 28%. Granola, though not extremely unhealthy, should be eaten in moderation and most granola bars likely contain added sugars.

  1. Sourdough bread is healthier than whole wheat.

According to an article from, nutritionists say that sourdough bread is “made with a lactic acid starter that undergoes fermentation, which alters the bread’s starches.” The Registered Dietitian says, “This helps prevent your blood sugar from spiking better than white or wheat bread.”

  1. You should add shrimp to your diet.

In the same New York Times article, shrimp was ranked 69% healthy by the public and 85% healthy by nutritionists.  According to, shrimp contains both omega-3, which helps to prevent risk for heart disease and diabetes and 17.8g of protein in a serving. Shrimp also contains  iron, phosphorus, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A. This food, however, is only 85% healthy for a reason. Shrimp contains low amounts of mercury which could lead to health problems if eaten in excess too quickly. In addition, if you need to keep an eye on your cholesterol, says, “you might consider lower-cholesterol seafood selections.”

  1. Choose a healthier snack than popcorn.

The New York Times article ranked popcorn at a 52% healthy from the public and 61% from nutritionists, with only a 9% difference in rating. It appears to be that the public and nutritionists are on the same page in terms of this movie snack food, but at a 50-60% healthy food rating, popcorn is a bit of a gray area in terms of health. According to an article from WebMD, popcorn “is one of the few products that still contain trans fat. Just 3 tablespoons of unpopped popcorn (which ends up being about 3.5 cups popped) contains 4 to 5 grams of trans fat. It’s easy to end up eating twice that amount, which can be 8 to 10 grams of trans fat and 24 grams of total fat.” So be careful with popcorn, it’s not as healthy as you may think!

It can be tricky understanding what foods are healthy and why they are, which is why Nutrition Experts are so important. The Harrisburg Area YMCA wants to help the community in this way by providing Expert Personal Nutrition Counseling where registered dietitians are available to help those seeking nutritional counseling as it relates to weight management, heart health, or diabetes.

Make more informed decisions about food in 2017 by understanding what you’re eating and what the experts think about the food. You never know what you might discover!

Emily Sanville, Digital Communications Coordinator

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