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Study finds dieters may overestimate the healthiness of their eating habits
Adults who were making lifestyle changes to lose weight tended to overestimate how healthy their diet was, according to a new study in the US. In addition, self-perceptions of how much their diet improved over the course of the 12- month study were often inaccurate, most thought they improved the quality of their diet, yet there actually was not much change based on researchers’ assessment. Future research focused on perceptions vs. reality about nutrition may lead to healthier eating patterns.
“We found that while people generally know that fruits and vegetables are healthy, there may be a disconnect 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,” said the researchers.
Nearly half of adults in the US try to lose weight each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a majority attempting to eat more fruits, vegetables and salads.
“Overestimating the perceived healthiness of food intake could lead to weight gain, frustrations over not meeting personal weight loss goals or lower likelihood of adopting healthier eating habits,” said Deepika Laddu, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on Lifestyle Behavioural Change for Improving Health Factors.
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