Rating categories of foods "unhealthy"

A news article surveys nutritionist and consumer rankings of multi-ingredient foods, like pizza and granola bars, for healthfulness along with single-ingredient foods like kale and nuts. 

 

Citing a survey of “hundreds of nutritionists” and a sample of the American population, the article states that granola bars are rated as being much healthier among laypeople than nutritionists; pizza and hamburgers are rated low by both groups; and foods such as popcorn “split both the public and our panel of experts.” 

One (big) reason could be that multi-ingredient foods are just that – made of many ingredients that, depending on which ingredients are used and in what proportions (i.e., the recipe), can result in widely diverging overall nutrition. A pizza or hamburger can be made with whole grains or not, with lots of veggies or not, with leaner meat and much less cheese... or not.

Sweeping statements about how a nutritionist (or anyone) scores a highly variable kind of food for its nutrition are meaningless. And they promote the fallacy that even traditional recipes for food products and menu items cannot be improved by using better/healthier ingredients and proportions thereof. The science of nutrition would be a lot less “murky” if everyone actually used science to explain it. 

 

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