You probably know how important it is to eat well if you want to keep your body in good shape. However, a new study has found that many people think their weight-loss diet is much healthier than it actually is.
“We found that while people generally know that fruits and vegetables are healthy, there may be a difference between what researchers and health care professionals consider to be a healthy and balanced diet compared to what the public thinks is a healthy and balanced diet. it,” he said. study author Jessica Cheng, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and in general internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to EurekAlert!
The study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2022 event, looked at 116 adults from the greater Pittsburgh area, between the ages of 35 and 58. Those involved all wanted to lose weight and checked in with a dietitian before using a Fitbit app to record what their diet included for a year, while also tracking their physical activity and weight.
In addition, they gave themselves scores between one and 100 to rate how healthy they thought their diet was. The researchers also scored the diets based on a Healthy Eating Index (HEI), which used the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a reference.
The results showed that 75% of the participants scored their diet incorrectly, with the majority believing their diet was healthier than what was considered truly healthy by the researchers. Specifically, the participants gave themselves an average score of 67.6 out of 100 compared to 56.4 which was the average score when using the established IHO. After the one-year period, participants generally felt they had improved their diet by 18 points, when it was only about one point, according to the HEI.
“I’m not surprised by the results,” Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDNthe author of Finally full, finally slima nutritionist in private practice and a member of Eat this, not that! board of medical experts, says. “There’s a lot of confusion about what exactly constitutes a healthy diet.”
“So,” continues Young, “while people know they should be eating more veggies, many people don’t pay attention to the fact that a big salad with toppings, like croutons, honey-roasted nuts, and dressing can lead to weight gain.”
“This is a problem because when you think a food is healthy, you pay less attention to how much you eat, which can ultimately lead to weight gain,” explains Young. That’s why if your goal is to lose a few pounds, Young says that “it’s so important to watch how much food you’re eating.”
“It’s important that healthcare professionals discuss these nuances of healthy eating with patients,” Young also emphasizes.
Desirée O is a freelance writer whose topics include lifestyle, food and nutrition news. Learn more about Desiree