Dieters’ food intake may not be as healthy as they think, study suggests
(NaturalHealth365) More Americans are dieting than ever before. Almost half of Americans try to lose weight each year. Yet, diet-related problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are on the rise.
A new study from the American Heart Association may hint at why this disconnect exists. The study revealed that dieters might overestimate how healthy their food intake is.
Dieters overestimate perceived healthiness of their food intake, study finds
The recent study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions this year. It revealed inconsistencies between perceptions of a healthy diet and what’s actually considered healthy.
The research involved 116 dieting adults in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area. The study participants recorded their food and drink intake on an app for one year. Researchers then used a healthy eating index, or HEI, to score the food intake of the participants in the study and how it measured up to U.S. dietary guidelines. The HEI scale goes from 0-100, and the higher the score, the better.
Ultimately, most of the study participants gave themselves much higher HEI scores than the researchers. This means participants perceived they had eaten healthier and improved their diets over the year significantly more than they did.
These results are striking. Most people would agree that fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet. Yet, the study suggests that many people attempting to diet or lose weight aren’t actually changing their diets enough.
Conflicting dietary advice leads to healthy eating confusion
Dietary guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy protein, non-fat dairy products, and lean meats. Guidelines also advise limiting sugar, alcohol, and processed foods.
These guidelines may seem straightforward, but we live in a society filled with unhealthy and misleading food choices. Many people may become frustrated when they can’t meet their weight-loss goals. But for some, this could be due to miscalculating the healthiness of their diets.
With so much conflicting advice and numerous fad diets out there, it’s easy to get off track. Working with a health coach, or integrative healthcare provider can help dieters realistically assess their food choices.
Avoiding common dieting pitfalls
Many confusing dieting myths exist. For example, carbs aren’t always the enemy, gluten-free isn’t always best, and low-fat is not the sole answer. Both exercise and a healthy diet are important if you’re trying to lose weight. In addition, you can’t go wrong opting for whole foods and food labels with short ingredient lists. Go for healthy fat sources like organic avocado, nuts, and seeds rather than processed, toxic fats.
Instead of completely omitting carbs, choose complex ones. Avoid sugary beverages like soda that are full of chemicals and empty calories. Drink plenty of purified water instead.
You might aim for locally raised meat and clean protein or trade animal protein for whole plant sources like legumes. Ultimately, everyone’s body is different, and it is possible to lose weight. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will keep your body well and support healthy weight loss.
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