A Good-for-You Food Hierarchy

Offering further evidence that Americans no longer regard carbohydrates as Dietary Enemy No. 1, whole grains have taken top honors in a Decision Analyst poll that asked adults to identify especially healthful foods. Sixty percent of respondents put whole grains in the pantheon of foods that provide “additional health benefits beyond basic nutritional needs.” Also high on the list were broccoli (58 percent), bananas (57 percent) and oatmeal (56 percent), as well as green tea, garlic and spinach (55 percent each). Carrots had slightly fewer partisans (52 percent).

Meanwhile, a mere 5 percent of respondents included beer among the edible/potable substances that offer additional health benefits, and fewer still (3 percent) put spiritous drink like whisky in that category. Granted, a glass of beer doesn’t exude the same aura of dietary virtue as a stalk of broccoli. But there’s been no shortage of scientific reports in recent years documenting that moderate intake of alcohol helps stave off heart disease, strokes and other nasty conditions. Perhaps people don’t want to spoil the fun of drinking by acknowledging that it’s as good for them as eating spinach.