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Picture of Kalleh
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There was an interesting article about our common (at least in the U.S.) use of "healthy food" in the newspaper today. Here is a quote from it:
quote:
“ ‘Healthy’ is a bankrupt word,” Roxanne Sukol, preventive medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, medical director of its Wellness Enterprise and a nutrition autodidact (“They didn’t teach us anything about nutrition in medical school”), told me as we strolled the aisles of a grocery store. “Our food isn’t healthy. We are healthy. Our food is nutritious. I’m all about the words. Words are the key to giving people the tools they need to figure out what to eat. Everyone’s so confused.”
Heck, the FDA has even been asked to "reevaluate" their definition of "healthy:"
quote:
Last March, the Food and Drug Administration sent the nut-bar maker Kind a letter saying their use of the word “healthy” on their packaging was a violation (too much fat in the almonds). Kind responded with a citizens’ petition asking the FDA to reevaluate its definition of the word.
I hadn't thought about it before, but I think I agree. Food isn't healthy; we are. Food is nutritious. What are your thoughts?
 
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quote:
Food isn't healthy; we are. Food is nutritious

I agree completely.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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I like my food to be healthy, running around the fields on its lttle healthy legs shortly before I eat it. As for us. I'll bet we are also quite nutritious if correctly prepared and cooked.

Actually, to be serious for a moment, one of the meanings of healthy is

quote:
1.2 Indicative of, conducive to, or promoting good health:
a healthy appetite
a healthy balanced diet


Surely that would be fine for food?

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"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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OED Online

quote:
a. Conducive to or promoting health; wholesome, salubrious; salutary.


quote:
1748 Wesley Let. conc. Tea in Besant London (1892) 372 A Mixture of Herbs..healthier as well as cheaper than Tea.
 
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It doesn't seem to technically work, and normally I'd say it's one of those words that has evolved over the years. But goofy's link from the OED (1748) seems to refute that.
 
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A similarly odd usage is "big." I often hear an ad proclaiming, "Save big money at Menard's."
Aside from SPENDING, not saving money, nobody's currency is any larger than the standard issue currency; otherwise it's counterfeit.

I do see the term,"eat healthy." Eat healthy what?
 
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Took a quick look at Google's NGram viewer and here's the results for "healthy food".

Mid 18th century on. You can click through on the dates to see the data in the scanned books to check if the dates are relevant.

In a cross with the pleasing no-problem problem thread elsewhere, English hale < Old English hǣl, whence healthy, is used in Old English in the meaning of salvation in a religious context. It can also be used in salutations or greetings. Cf. Latin salve 'hello', literally 'be well'.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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How do you feel about

"healthy lifestyle"
"healthy eating"
"healthy recipe"
"healthy weight"
"healthy environment" etc ?

I can't find a single dictionary that doesn't have "promoting or causing good health" as one of the definitions - usually the second definition after the "not sick" definition.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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That NGram viewer says it all, really. There is a tiny blip in the 1700s, but starting at about 1975 the use really increased.

Bob, I see your point. The author sees the definition of "healthy" as "possessing good health," but actually many definitions cite it as "promoting good health." The thing is, a "healthy lifestyle" (or any of your examples) is hardly black and white. That was one of the author's points. For example, he talked about eggs being fine in the 70s, then terrible for you, and now they are fine again. We don't have the perfect recipe for "healthy food" or "healthy lifestyle" or whatever.
 
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The idea that opinions about what is healthy change (see that's another use of healthy meaning "promoting good health) is entirely unconnected to discussions about what the meaning is.

Most English words have more than one meaning and it causes no confusion at all. If I say "My brother is healthy." it means he isn't sick and if I say "Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is healthy." it means it's good for you. No confusion, just two distinct but related meanings of the word. I can't even see where there is a discussion to be had on this. The only puzzling thing is why arnie agreed.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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quote:
The idea that opinions about what is healthy change (see that's another use of healthy meaning "promoting good health) is entirely unconnected to discussions about what the meaning is.
In that article both subjects were tackled, thus my comment.

Frankly, I don't see how "healthy" means "promoting" good health. While you are right that words have multiple definitions, this is one I can't agree with. I would never use "healthy" to mean promoting health. I wonder how that evolved because it seems quite different from the definition of possessing health. It implies taking action.
 
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So in all those examples above

("healthy lifestyle"
"healthy eating"
"healthy recipe"
"healthy weight"
"healthy environment" etc ?)

what word (or words) would you use. "Healthful" sounds ridiculously archaic to my ear.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Merriam-Webster's Dictionary has an entry on "healthy" vs "healthful". "Healthy" has meant "conducive to health" since the 16th century. "Healthy" is used to mean "conducive to health" much more often than "healthful" is used to mean "conducive to health". The prescription that only "healthful" and not "healthy" should mean "conducive to health" was invented in 1881 by Alfred Ayres.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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I do hear both of you, and I suppose I am wrong. However, this is how I've always understood the difference between healthy and healthful: Link

"Healthful" sounds fine to my ears - it gets more than eleven million hits on Google, though I know that doesn't mean much. However, when I put it in Google's NGram viewer , Bob, you're right. It was found in the highest numbers in about the 1860s. While it is used today, it is much lower.

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