I would like to know the differences between health food and healthy food. I have looked them up in a dictionary, but, I can find no entry for healthy food, just health food.

So, what is difference between them?

3 Answers 3


The term health food is a compound noun and refers to foodstuffs such as muesli, etc. Usually, but not necessarily, you will go to a health food shop to buy such items. There is no guarantee (in the UK) that health food is especially good for you, and some health foods, such as muesli bars, may be frowned upon by dietary experts.

Healthy is simply an adjective, so healthy food is food that is generally acknowledged to be good for you, such as fresh fruit and vegetables. The opposite, of course, is junk food.

Cambridge Dictionary: Health food

Collins Dictionary: Health food shop

Healthline: 10 Processed Foods to Avoid


Healthy food is comestibles that are supposed to be good for you. In the US, such foods are those that fall below government thresholds in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. There is no guarantee that such foods will enhance your well being.

Health food is comestibles that are recommended by various dietary cults. There is no standard for and no agreed-upon list of such foods. Other terms are natural food, organic food, and whole food. Suppliers of these foods in the US may not make unsubstantiated claims about the curative or preventative of such foods with regard to disease, and they may not call these foods healthy unless they meet the guidelines mentioned above. There is no guarantee that health foods are good for you either.


Answered above, "health food" is a compound noun and "healthy" is an adjective. "Healthful" also is an adjective. The two often are used interchangeably, but "healthy" more commonly implies state or sense of health and "healthful," benefitting or promoting health. (Stay healthy with a healthful diet.)

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