« The ‘mistress’: Jessica Bennett on the persistence of a demeaning word | Main | “What are you afraid of?”: San Joaquin Valley College on going back to school »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Annette Marsden


When you say professional nutritionists, who exactly are you talking about? Are you surveying Registered Dietitians? If you are, please say so, so that you do not lump us Nutritionists (of whom there are very few) in with the RD's. There IS a difference, and if you are writing about "professional nutritionists", please know who you are talking about and define it. Are you talking about professionals licensed by their state to provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT)?? If you are wanting more information, please look up the Center for Nutrition Advocacy, and you can see lists of the laws for each state's department of health about what it means to be an RD vs. a CD or a CN or a CDN. . . .

One of the problems with a lot of the contradictory information in the nutrition field, is that not all RD's at this point are not required to hold advanced degrees. The laws vary from state to state. Having done research helps a lot in reading research and understanding what it means. There is currently no requirement for an RD (registered dietitian) to hold an advanced degree, but according to the Commission on Dietetic Regulation (CDR) this will be changing, but not until 2024. Astonishingly, the advanced degree portion of the requirements will not be required to be in a field related to health or nutrition!   For more information, about nutrition licensing laws in your state, check the website for the Center for Nutrition Advocacy, at www.nutritionadvocacy.org.  

If you want to turn to professionals in the nutrition field for expert opinion, in the future, how about poll the ones with a Masters or PHD in nutrition. . .Just an idea.

Annette (an M.S., C.N. Certified Nutritionist (licensed by the Washington State Department of Health)


The argument that the author is making is to see which foods we think is healthy compared to nutritionist. The author focuses mainly on sushi. The author is suggesting that we all have different view points on what healthy is or not. Bottom line is that sushi is pretty healthy for you due to their research.
I agree with this article. I think that each person has their own idea of healthy and what foods are linked to that. For example, they used diet Coke/Pepsi, the public said it is not healthy but the professionals say there are worse things. After reading this article I think, who really is to say what healthy is or not? We continue to find things everyday that aren't good for us that used to be. It is constantly changing and I think all of our view points are valid.

Abigail Sirek

Well I see this conversation isn't really on sushi, but I do have to agree with Annette with the fact you aren't being specific in if you actually talked to real, professional, licensed nutritionists. It seems like you are only getting your information from the New York Times rather than getting the information yourself. Annette states that there is a difference between professionals with a license and when there is not. So in conclusion I believe that Annette believes that the information you have could be false information.
In general what I do have to agree with is that I have herd many debates about if granola bars are really healthy or not. In my view though ( like I have some what stated in the last paragraph) is that I would have to agree with Anette with questioning where you are getting your information or not. Even though not much was stated in what you believe in the argument but if you were to post more make sure you have good facts. I on the other hand think granola bars can be healthy, depending on what is in it or not or the brand that you buy. So in conclusion I think the question that is stated with " are granola bars healthy" and the fact that it is a very argumentative thing now to this day, it true. Even though the title of this conversation is " Is sushi bad for you" and we didn't really talk much about sushi and more granola.

Jacob Oberle

Our perceptions of healthy or not healthy as it relates to food are formed from the time we are young children. Ever since I was little, I can remember my Mom trying to make me eat healthier and make better food choices. When I ate something unhealthy she would suggest that I have a granola bar or frozen yogurt instead. But now that I have read the article “Is Sushi Healthy? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree” by Quealy and Sanger-Katz, I know different. Only 28% of nutritionists thought granola bars were healthy and 32% considered frozen yogurt healthy. Some of the foods investigated in the article that are listed as healthy I would list in the ranks of unhealthy. For example, I thought tofu was unhealthy but, it could be only that I thought it did not taste very good. I agree with Taylor that each person has their own idea of healthy and what foods are linked to that thought.


I also agree with Anette when she questions what classifies a person as a nutritionist. Does it have to be a person with a college degree or could it be just a person with a lot of background and experience in the field? I also have to disagree with the fact that the article only talks about sushi. It does mention the food once and has it listed in the graph as well. I thought this was a very interesting article and it is not something that an average individual would think about. It makes me question: what made most Americans assume or think that things like granola or frozen yogurt was healthy in the first place? It could be advertisements and the passing down of information, like Jacob mentioned. I also think that determining whether a food is healthy for you or not depends heavily on the person themselves. All different types of people react to different types of food in all different ways. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed this article and found the differences in opinion very fascinating.

Cassidy Taylor

This article poses the question "Is (blank) healthy?" but what I would truly like to know is "what makes a food healthy"? Although nutritionists and the public sometimes have a gap, most of the population could be given a specific food and tell you whether or not it is considered healthy; but why is this? I believe Jacob would agree with me in wanting to know where he definition of healthy come from. Is it from the culture we are immersed in or the facts we are receiving from educated professionals? Also, is a food considered healthy because of what it contains or how it effects your body? I would have to agree with Annette about where specifically Quealy and Katz are getting their information from, because that might lead us to a definition of "healthy" and why these specific foods were deemed rightfully so. I also agree with Abigail and her point that one brand may make a specific food "healthier" than other brands; but again, where does this definition of healthy come from? In conclusion, this article guides the public to specific foods that are considered "healthy," although it does not describe what the basis of the labeling process is.

Emma H

I agree with Taylor’s response to Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz’s article. I support Taylor’s idea that everyone is subject to their own beliefs regarding the healthiness of various food items. One specific problem I had with the article is that there was no definition or classification for what “healthy” really is. How can we decide what foods are “healthy” and “unhealthy” if there is not one guideline for everyone to follow that determines whether foods are healthy or not? The fact that each person has different qualifications to define whether a food is healthy or not diminishes the validity of this article. I also agree with Taylor’s statement that “We continue to find things everyday that aren't good for us that used to be. It is constantly changing…”. I know that I have consistently observed changing patterns in diets and trends in the food industry. Fads are common when it comes to dieting, cleansing, and other tendencies of consumers looking to lose weight, gain weight, or become healthy.

Leah Adams

Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz’s co-written article, “Is Sushi ‘Healthy’? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree,” discusses typical foods many people eat often and whether or not they are deemed “healthy” by both nutritionists and the general populace. In this article, a number of nutritionists and people are asked about a certain food, such as sushi, granola bars, white bread, and apples, and they decide just how healthy the food really is. There are a variety of foods in which the nutritionists and public agreed, disagreed, and met in the middle because many Americans believe certain foods are healthy that are not and vice versa. However, according to the comments, people are unsure of how to interpret the data presented in this article. Annette Marsden, along with several other commenters, emphasizes that the authors of the original article should define the term “nutritionists.” It seems commenters like Annette Marsden and Emma H., who both question the definition of nutritionists, are confused; the only information on the specificity of Quealy and Sanger-Katz’s definition of nutritionists are in both the second and third paragraphs of the article and the fine print at the end. These say that the nutritionists surveyed were members of a professional organization called the American Society for Nutrition. So, it is unclear as to the specific degree of those the article deems “nutritionists.” The other commenter, on the other hand, suggests that healthy is based solely on the individual. Taylor suggests the idea of health is fluctuating and says the concept concedes with the article because the general public has a different idea of healthy than the nutritionists. In concession with Taylor’s comment, various people do require different diets I agree with Annette’s idea of further clarification of nutritionists, a point that needs emphasizing since so many people are unsure of how to interpret this article. Not only does the article not clarify the degrees of those they deem nutritionists, the authors do not specify the type of nutritionists. There are different types of nutritionists, and I am sure that, while they could probably all come to a general conclusion, the individual nutritionists would hold different opinions on what they consider healthy. Furthermore, I agree with Taylor’s comment addressing the idea of “healthy.” What is healthy for heart patients will be different than the diet of a professional athlete. Also, someone with an eating disorder will have different foods that healthy for them as compared to a person who is perfectly healthy. Who properly defines health? Overall, Quealy and Sanger-Katz’s article seemed to create controversy while still attempting to educate their online audience on the nutritional information of certain foods.


Read this. Its ok.


I found this article interesting because I never thought about the differences in what I considered to be healthy and what a nutritionist would consider healthy. I agree with Annette’s concern that the nutritionists polled were never validated with any specific credentials, so it seemingly looks like a poll that anyone could have taken as long as they consider themselves “nutrition experts”. I think that articles like this are meant to increase awareness as to what is healthy and unhealthy in the eyes of health professionals but I agree with Emma H that we should be educating people on what healthy is, not just foods that they think are healthy. For instance, my brother has Crohn’s disease so he can’t eat the traditional “healthy” foods so I think that adding caveats to labeling foods as healthy would be more beneficial. Yes, you can offer a blanket definition of healthy, but that may not be accurate for everyone.


Although I agree with Taylor up to a point, I cannot accept her overall conclusion that how healthy a food is differs person to person. As said in the article, there are foods like coke, fries, and kale that are widely agreed upon to be health or unhealthy. I do not think that a food has different nutritional benefits for different people based on their belief of how healthy that specific food is. Yes, people have different thoughts about which is better for you but that doesn’t mean what they think dictates how good it is for you. One thing that is unclear about this article is the definition of healthy, I know that I think certain things aren’t that bad when they are. Also, it is difficult to put all foods on one scale because certain people are looking for certain things in their diet. For example, meat is considered healthy in moderation but vegetarians don’t eat meat. That doesn’t mean they are unhealthy, they don’t eat meat. That doesn’t mean they are unhealthy, they just need to get their nutrients from somewhere else. I found this article very interesting, I always thought that Coconut Oil was good for a person’s health but the article states, 73% of nutritionists say that it is not. This shows how people have different conceptions about what is healthy and what isn’t and that the facts are always evolving. The more research that is done, the more we know.


I agree with this article. I think that each person has their own idea of what healthy food is. According to Quealy and Sanger-Katz the uncertainty about these foods, as expressed both by experts and ordinary Americans, reflects the nutritional evidence about them. 99% of nutritionists said their diet was very healthy. The most popular special diet type that was picked was “Mediteranean food". But the most common answer, even for experts, was “no special rules or restrictions.” in my opinion there is healthy foods and there is not, but for a dieter or someone who has no restrictions, its all about how much food you actually take in.

Dylan G

Although I partly agree with Taylor’s overall belief that everyone is entitled to their own ideas about what is healthy and what isn’t, I cannot fully agree with her on this topic. I believe that where she says “who is really to say what is healthy for us and what is not” seems misguided due to the fact that there are professional nutritionists whose job it is to advise us on what is and is not healthy. These people put in the time and the effort in order to be able to help others and I think they should be respected as such. I believe that there is one main view point on what is healthy that is commonly accepted and then people take the common view point and mix in their own biases to decide what they believe is and is not healthy. I do not believe that this makes every person’s idea of healthiness valid as Taylor says because some things are naturally accepted as unhealthy in massive amounts such as sugar or massive amounts of meat in a diet. While I do agree with her that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I do not agree with her that it makes that opinion valid.

ever c.

After reading “Is Sushi Healthy? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree,” I fully agree with Emma H’s response to the validity of the article itself. Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz do a wonderful job of presenting information and showing the difference in how Americans and nutritionists think. However, they do not provide a standard idea or guideline that suggests what they are referring to when they say the word “healthy.” Because of the lack of specificity, it is difficult to pinpoint if the data that they are presenting is consistent. Emma is correct when she says that everyone has different ideas and views on what is healthy. Each individual has certain aspects of health that they put before others, which enables the word “healthy” to have various different meanings to various different people. It is relatively hard to put a label on something of such importance when it is presented in such a broad category.

Ciania Fajardo

This topic focuses on the diverse views between nutritionists and the public on the subject of which foods are healthy. It did not focus on sushi alone, but also argued about the most searched foods in google. Whether sushi is healthy or not seems to be what most people search about. To answer the question if the author agrees or not, I believe it is a combination of both. Because of the different perspectives on food, it is difficult to say that everybody agrees on a certain food to be healthy. Since the author provided evidence on what the public deems to be healthy, and what nutritionists really think are beneficial. An example mentioned was a granola bar, 71% of the public agreed it is healthy, while only 28% of nutritionists agreed. In contrast, sushi is considered healthier by 75% of experts and only 49% of the public. This difference leads to the idea that beliefs differ. Moreover, even research possibly varies as time passes and it is confirmed in this article. I agree with what Quealy and Sanger-Katz mentioned that it is possible that nutritionists are aware, but most of the public are not informed of the added sugar contained in many food to heighten flavor. I can relate with this study because once I saw the percentage on coconut oil, I was surprised. There were only a few nutritionists who think it is healthy compared to the general public. This article should be further known to cause awareness on certain foods that individuals and experts believe to be healthier.

MidEast Paleo

Whatever's healthy will change in a few years, won't it?

Hanwen Gong

I also agree with Kara’s view that is the health and badness of the food which determined by the human constitutions. Absolutely, as the author said in the article, the current food health information is becoming more and more diverse. Since our diet rules are constantly being broken, we are all at a loss. What food is healthy and what we should listen to? In my opinion, I think the most important thing is to understand how the food digest in the body, and what is the essential relationship between food and the human body. According to the physical condition of each person, so as to achieve a requirement of balanced diet. Make sure your body has vitamins and minerals to keep it healthy and strong.

Crystal Chang

I agree with the article. I agree that what foods are ‘healthy’ and what foods are ‘unhealthy’ are often just socially constructed. For instance, the article stated that 71% of Americans believed that granola bars were healthy to eat. However, only 28% of nutritionists said that they were healthy to eat. 80% of Americans said that granola was healthy to eat. However only 47% of nutritionists said they were healthy. There are opposite opinions as well, where the nutritionists believe that a food is healthy, while the average American does not believe the food is healthy. For instance, only 58% of Americans said that Quinoa was healthy. However, 89% of nutritionists believe that it is in fact, healthy. The article states that a plausible reason for these misconceptions relates to what the average American is used to consuming. Quinoa, for instance, is a relatively new staple to the American diet. The foods that Americans are used to consuming were often deemed less healthy, such as shrimp. Many people said that shrimp had high cholesterol, therefore it is unhealthy. This is simply not true, because most foods will have some sort of negative health characteristic, but that does not mean that it is automatically unhealthy. There were also a long list of foods that both the public and experts had mixed opinions of. For instance, popcorn received a very similar rating between both parties. 61% of nutritionists deemed it healthy, while 52% of the public deemed it healthy. What matters the most in one’s diet is variety. The article states that there should be no special rules or restrictions for most foods because to keep a healthy diet, one must consume a wide variety of foods, regardless of what perceives it to be. Consuming foods should not be a black and white choice.

Kevin R.

Our view on what food is healthy or not comes from our childhood. We are thought at home and in school, that we must eat fruits and vegetables to be strong and healthy. To my mind, I always thought certain foods were always healthy to eat because my school would give them, or my mom would buy them. While I read this article, my perspective changed on what foods are considered healthy and which ones are not. As Taylor and Jacob stated in their responses, each person has their own idea of healthy and what types of foods go under the topic. The article used this example, many people think that steak and pork chops are unhealthy because of the amount of fat they contain, while other people say that steak and pork chops are healthy because of the amount of protein they contain and that the fat they have is heathy fat. Every person is different in what they eat and consume. It is up to us to decide and find out what is good for us.

Valencia Andov

I am 90% in agreement with Kevin. In my opinion, people's perspectives on each food must be different; they will consume what they need. For example, eggs contain both egg whites and egg yolks. Both of these parts have their own advantages. Egg whites are rich in protein and have low calories, so they are suitable for consumption by people who are building muscles or losing weight. While egg yolks are high in vitamins, it can be seen that this is just an individual choice. The other 10% I don't agree with is the way you generalize whether all food is healthy or not, just depends on the person's view? Foods like Coke, burgers, or fries are definitely not healthy, and no matter how you grew up, these foods are definitely not healthy. This article also helps those of you who want to know more about healthy foods. Maybe there are some foods you want to add to your diet, or maybe there are things you want to change.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

By signing up you agree to W. W. Norton’s
privacy policy and terms of use.

About They Say / I Blog

  • New readings posted monthly, on the same issues that are covered in “They Say / I Say” with Readings—and with a space where readers can comment, and join the conversation.

Follow us on Twitter to get updates about new posts and more! @NortonWrite

Become a Fan