You might think you make healthy food choices, but what do you see when you look closely?
According to some new research, you might be surprised about the quality of your diet.
A new study found that many Americans believe they make healthy food choices but do not.
Researchers asked participants to rate their diet as excellent, very good, fair, or poor. Participants also completed 24-hour food questionnaires about what they ate, and researchers compared how the answers and the data matched up.
Of the more than 9,700 participants, roughly 85 percent were wrong about the quality of their diet, and nearly all of them overestimated its healthfulness.
Many perceived that they had a good diet when it was poor. And those who rated their diet as poor tended to be the most accurate in their assessment.
In the four rating categories, only between 1 percent and 18 percent of participants accurately assessed the quality of their diets.
Now researchers have to figure out why and how such a huge disconnect exists.
It’s hard to tell exactly why people think they eat healthier than they do. Perhaps there is a belief that putting some fruit on ice cream is a healthy decision, or maybe there is confusion over what constitutes “healthy.”
What’s interesting is that most people know that fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good for them and that junk and processed food are not. They know they should eat more of the former and have fewer sugars, unhealthy fats, and fried foods.
The key may lie in expanding people’s knowledge of cooking healthy meals at home. Making it easier to eat nutritious foods that taste good, perhaps with easy-to-follow recipes provided by state or federal agencies, may help.
If you want to change how you eat, remember that it won’t happen overnight. Many people try to make big changes all at once and struggle. Or they try a “diet,” which is implied as temporary.
Look to implement slow changes, one at a time, to create a long-lasting change by focusing on overall patterns.