We’ve all had that moment when we eat something because we assumed it was healthy, but upon doing so someone immediately notifies us otherwise. Honestly, it kind of sucks when this happens. But it isn’t, like, your fault necessarily.
You don’t initially assume something is healthy just because you have a slight hunch. You’re usually told something’s healthy by another person and you continue to believe that person until someone else counters the claim. And yes, that other person is wearing beads and a headscarf made from organic and sustainably sourced hemp. But really, trying to eat healthfully is a slightly viscous cycle (ironically), and it demonstrates the lack of certainty surrounding the question: What foods are healthy?
The New York Times was fascinated with this very question, so along with the Morning Consult, a media and polling company, they conducted a survey in which they polled hundreds of nutritionists and regular Americans, asking whether they thought a certain food item was healthy or not. The results demonstrate the difference of opinion between the general populace and experts.
What we found most fascinating was that 70% of nutrition experts say that wine is healthy. A lot of research has been conducted in the past couple of years aimed at answering the specific question of whether wine is healthy or not, and what we’ve seen is that the research overwhelmingly agrees that it is, but only when consumed in moderation. According to nutritionists, wine is actually more healthy than orange juice, granola, diet soda, and steak. Kind of surprising, right?
Also surprising, the general populace doesn’t think it’s as healthy as the experts do. When polled, just slightly more than 50% of the public thought wine was healthy. This is most likely because wine is seen as an indulgence and indulgences are easily thought of as unhealthy (like this). But The Times survey shows that even if something makes you slightly buzzed, it can still be good for you.
Other food items that a higher percentage of nutritionists found more healthy than the general populace are sushi (75%/47%), popcorn (62%/47%), hummus (92%/65%), olive oil (97%/83%), beer (25%/12%), and even butter by a slight margin (40%/35%). So remember, just because something has the connotation of being bad for you it doesn’t mean that it is. In fact, more often than not, it isn’t.