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Nutritionists And Americans Have Different Views On The Nutritional Value Of Common Foods

Nutritionists And Americans Have Different Views On The Nutritional Value Of Common Foods

French fries, bacon, chips, soda and chocolate bars are all poor food choices. We all know this. However, being able to decipher what is good for you and what isn’t–isn’t always so obvious. In fact, the New York Times recently published an article in which both average Americans and nutrition experts were polled on which of the 52 foods presented were good for you and which you should avoid. The results were all over the place. The general public’s views on which foods were healthy and which were not varied greatly from that of the experts on some food choices, but even more surprising was the fact that even the experts could not come to a consensus on quite a few food choices.

The public’s view of nutrient rich foods

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    The largest disparity uncovered by the poll was with granola bars. Are they healthy or not? Seventy-one percent of the public placed granola bars in the ‘nutrient rich foods’ category while only 28% of nutritionists did. Regular people tend to consider the nutritional value and fat content only when sorting foods into the ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ categories while food experts tend to have a broader perspective and include things like sugar and sodium content in their decisions.  And for that reason, coconut oil, frozen yogurt, SlimFast shakes and orange juice topped the general public’s list of healthy but barely made it on the list of the experts.

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      Foods like sushi, humus, wine and shrimp were deemed healthy by the experts but the survey showed that while most of the Americans polled saw them as somewhat healthy, overall, they didn’t rank them quite as high. This fact leads the polling experts to believe that the media plays an enormous role in how the general public makes their food choices. Shrimp, for example, has received its fair share of bad press due to its high levels of cholesterol. Modern media shapes public opinion on many things–including healthy eating.

      Disparities among the experts concerning nutrient rich foods

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        Experts opinions diverged the most when it came to steak, cheddar cheese, whole milk and pork chops. These are nutrient rich foods but the are high in saturated fat. Previously, it was common knowledge that fat–particularly saturated fat should be avoided at all costs. More recent studies render mixed views on the subject and experts are still grappling with the question if these food should be avoided or if they are indeed healthy.

        Choosing foods that are good for you

        The Federal Drug Administration(FDA) is currently updating its standards on which foods it deems healthy in light of new research concerning what our bodies need. This move underscores the notion that finding foods that are truly healthy is, at best, a moving target. Here are 3 easy things you can do to simplify the process of making healthy food choices and remove some of the frustrating guess work:

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        • Know your body and your own health needs. Understanding your health needs and choosing foods that work well with your body’s chemistry is key. Even though shrimp made the experts’ list of nutrient rich foods, if you have problems with cholesterol you may want to think twice before adding significant amounts of it to your diet. Being aware of your genetic makeup, the health history of your family, any predispositions to certain illnesses and your blood type all are key factors in how your body responds to and interacts with the foods you eat.
        • KISS–“Keep it simple silly.” This saying definitely applies when it comes to your diet. Don’t overthink it. There are a few (and I do mean few) rules that you should follow when it comes to what you put in your body. The first is the less processed the better. Eating foods in their natural state with minimal additions of chemicals and manipulation is always a good idea. The second hard and fast rule is eat your greens. No matter who you talk to, the message is the same, leafy greens are the way to go. Adding leafy greens to your diet will have positive impacts on your overall health.
        • Moderation is key. Eliminating entire food groups from your diet is never a good idea. Protein, complex carbohydrates and fats all play a role in keeping our bodies operating optimally. The key to healthy eating for both the body and the mind is to use moderation.

        Food fads come and go, but the facts are clear: everyone does not have the same basic nutritional needs. We all know someone who is a strict vegetarian and their body thrives on that diet, while others swear by Atkins or similar low-carb plans however, those types of diets may not work for you. Get to know yourself and tailor your diet to your own individual needs.

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        Denise Hill

        Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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