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Experts and Americans Have Very Different Views on What Is and Isn't Healthy

Are your eating habits as healthy as you think?

If you're eating healthy, or at least trying to, your grocery shopping cart is probably full of things that you consider to be healthy … fruits and vegetables and maybe some juices, granola bars and products like protein shakes. A study by the New York Times has found out that the term "healthy" seems to carry different meanings for different people. It turns out the things that you deem to be healthy may not be considered healthy by experts like nutritionists. The study also found that there is some gray area about healthy items for both nutritional experts and the general public. Check out some of the findings from the study to find out whether your healthy habits are really healthy.

The food items that had the biggest discrepancy in whether or not they were perceived as healthy were granola bars (with 70% of average joes labeling them healthy, in contrast to less than a third of nutritionists), granola had a similarly large gap, which was followed by coconut oil, frozen yogurt, SlimFast shakes, orange juice, and American cheese. Although the public felt these foods were healthy, nutritionists felt otherwise.

Frozen yogurt, SlimFast shakes and granola are all healthy at their core, but contain a lot of added sugar, which is a nutritional no-no.

On the other hand, foods that nutritionists deemed were healthy and important for a varied diet were not necessarily perceived as such by the general public. Quinoa, tofu, sushi, hummus, wine, and shrimp were all rated as very healthy by the nutritional experts survey, but the general public felt differently. It's possible that although quinoa has become a superfood in recent years, many people still don't know about it and so don't know what to make of it.

Foods that had both nutritionists and the general public confused were fatty foods like red meat, pork chops, and cheese. Although historically these foods were considered decidedly unhealthy, more recent research has showed that they may have a place in diets in select quantities.

Unhealthy foods that both groups could agree on as being unhealthy included white bread, cookies, diet soda and other snack foods.

It's nice to know that the ever-changing food pyramid is as difficult for experts to navigate as the rest of us—and that even experts don't follow a prescribed diet regimen, but instead try to eat reasonably well most of the time.

Hopefully, the new labels the FDA plans to require on food will help solve some of this confusion as American strive to eat healthier and be better educated on food choices.

[Image via Getty]

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