How to eat properly? It seems like a simple question. However, we seem to overestimate the health of our diet.
We all know that a healthy diet is very important. This is mainly due to the fact that it significantly reduces the risk of various diseases, including the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is often difficult to maintain a healthy diet. A new study shows that most of us are still remarkably convinced of a healthy diet, even if we really are not.
How to eat properly?
In a new study, researchers asked more than 9,700 Americans a simple question: How healthy do you eat? Initially, participants had to complete a questionnaire about their food ingredients. They were then asked to rate their diet. They can choose between excellent, very good, good, fair and bad.
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After the participants made their own judgments about their diet for the first time, it was the researchers’ turn. They completed completed questionnaires and scores of test subjects and then determined the actual dietary health of each participant. This leads to an amazing discovery. Because the study found significant differences between the estimates calculated by the researchers and the way in which the participants themselves rated their diet. Of the more than 9,700 participants, about 8,000 (about 85 percent) rated the quality of their diet as inaccurate. Of these, almost all (99 percent!) Overestimate the health of the diet.
Healthier than you
This means that we collectively believe that we are eating healthier than we really are. But this is not the most amazing, according to researcher Jessica Thompson. “What surprised us the most was how much people overestimated the health of their diet,” he says. Science. nl† “For example, they thought their diet was very good, when in fact their diet was bad.”
Only a small percentage of American adults have been found to accurately assess the health of their diet. Surprisingly, they were the ones who followed an unhealthy diet. The researchers ‘findings were consistent with participants’ estimates in 97% of cases. In short, the worse you eat, the better you know it.
The real question, of course, is why most people think their diet is healthier than it really is. Unfortunately, Thompson still has to answer us. “Based on the results of our study, I can not explain that,” he says. “More research is needed to determine exactly what factors people take into account when asked to evaluate the health of their diet.”
For example, the reason may be that most people do not really know which foods are healthy and which are unhealthy. In addition, they may not fully understand certain dietary guidelines and may not think about where to buy food or how to cook it. So Thompson hopes the study will push policymakers into action. “People need to be better informed,” he says. “I also hope that more efforts will be made to help people assess whether the food they eat is really healthy.”
What is a healthy diet?
What exactly does a healthy diet look like? You do not need to consume a lot of calories to eat healthily. In addition it should consist of a variety of plant foods and fewer animal products. Saturated fats should give way to unsaturated fats and the menu should be limited to processed cereals, processed foods and added sugars. A healthy diet also consists of less red meat and sugar and more nuts, fruits, vegetables and legumes. You really have to go back to the primitive diet of our distant ancestors. In short, examples of foods that are considered healthy are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, low-fat dairy products, seafood and vegetable proteins. Foods to avoid are processed cereals, very salty foods, added sugars and saturated fats.
Overall, the researchers highlighted a real nutritional illusion in their study. It seems that there is still a lot of work to be done so that people can better assess the health of their diet. And if we know that our diet can be worse than we think, this can improve our diet.