In a day and age where we seem to be bombarded with health information, it’s hard to keep track of what is and isn’t good for you. This is where LiveLighter come in. The Australian health programme have teamed up with Cancer Council Victoria and the Heart Foundation, to reveal some of the foods you think are healthy – but really aren’t.
A team of researchers asked about 1,097 Victorian adults aged 18-64 and 134 Victorian nutritionists and accredited practising dietitians to label 57 foods and drinks as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’.
From coconut oil to muesli bars and orange juice, some of what they came up with might surprise you.
Sadly the nutritionists and dietitians that were consulted didn’t rate orange juice as a healthy option, whereas the public did. Seventy-one percent of adults rated orange juice as healthy, while 76 percent of health experts disagreed.
‘The reason the nutrition experts wouldn’t have put that as healthy is because in the Australian Dietary Guidelines it’s recommended only as an occasional option, not as a regular way of consuming fruit as it’s very high in sugar,’ LiveLighter campaign manager and dietitian Alison McAleese told HuffPost Australia.
GLUTEN FREE CAKES
Most people know cakes aren’t healthy, but 44 percent of respondents assumed that gluten-free alternatives were. This came in stark contrast to 94 percent of health experts, who argued that they weren’t.
Although for people with coeliac disease gluten-free cakes are a better option, they are definitely not a health food.
Unfortunately for parents wanting to provide their children’s lunchbox with a healthy option, muesli bars are a food that aren’t as healthy as we think.
Very few nutritionists said they were a healthy option, with only 18 percent of experts deeming them so.
Meanwhile 52 percent of adults rated them as ‘healthy’ which all comes down to how they are marketed as most of the time they are high in sugar.
Frozen yoghurt is another contentious food, with 62 percent of adults saying it was healthy and 69 percent of health experts disagreeing.
‘Frozen yoghurt sounds like it’s yoghurt, but generally it’s closer to ice cream than a tub of yoghurt,’ Alison explained.
‘Particularly the ones you buy in the store, you tend to add lollies and chocolate on top, as well.’
With such a big discrepancy between what people think and what experts think, Alison advised people to see frozen yoghurt as ‘an occasional food, not an everyday one’.
Recently there has been a large debate around coconut oil, with different health experts speaking out to sharing different opinions.
Highlighting people’s confusion surrounding the oil, 75 percent of adults said it was ‘healthy’, while 85 percent of experts disagreed, making it the food with the biggest difference in results.
‘Coconut oil has been very popular in a number of diets and it’s often sold as a health food. What we know about it is that it’s very high in saturated fat and it does seem to raise cholesterol,’ Alison said.
‘The research also shows it might be better than some of those other animal fats like butter, but it’s certainly nowhere near as good as plant oils like olive oil, so we encourage people to choose them instead.’