Several hundred nutritionists —all members of the American Society for Nutrition—were recently sent a survey which asked: do you think this food is healthy? Here are the results, which were just published 5 July 2016 in the New York Times.
We have arranged the foods in order from most healthy to least healthy, and the number after each food is the percentage of the nutritionists who said the particular food was “healthy”. This chart should not be taken as an absolute ranking of what is healthy and what is not, but it gives you a general idea for many common foods.
Whether or not a particular food is healthy depends on various factors. Let us take as an example, the food at the very top of the list, apples. Apples are healthy but are often also rated near the top of the list of fruits with a high pesticide content. So, to maximize the health benefit of an apple you eat, you should try to find organic apples. If you can’t find them, at least pay attention to careful washing of the fruit.
Another example is popcorn, which overall seems to be considered a fairly healthy food, with a 61% rating. But this is for popcorn itself, without any additions such as butter, salt, or sugar. So always keep in mind how you prepare the food if you want to maximize the health benefits. In this blog, we have featured more detailed articles about some of these foods (such as apples, peanut butter, eggs, and olive oil). In the list below, if a food is in a blue color, you can click on that to see more details.
% of Nutritionists who regard each food as healthy
Cottage cheese 84%
Baked potato 72%
Coconut oil 37%
Frozen yogurt 32%
American cheese 24%
White bread 15%
Ice cream 13%
Chocolate chip cookies 6%
French fries 5%
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