Your weight-loss diet may not be as healthy as you think, study says

Surely you 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 fruit and vegetables are healthy, there can be a disconnect between what researchers and health professionals think is a healthy and balanced diet compared to what the public thinks is a healthy and balanced diet,” he said. Study author Jessica Cheng, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and 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 who were between the ages of 35-58. All involved wanted to lose weight and engaged with a dietician before using a Fitbit app to record what their diet consisted of for an entire year while tracking both their physical activity and their weight.

In addition, they gave themselves scores between one and 100 to rate how healthy they thought their diet was. The researchers also rated the diets based on a Healthy Eating Index (HEI), which used the US government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a reference.

food diary

The results showed that 75% of participants incorrectly rated their diet with the majority believing that their diet was healthier than what the researchers actually thought was healthy. Specifically, participants gave themselves an average score of 67.6 out of 100 compared to the average score of 56.4 when using the designated HEI. After the one-year period, participants generally believed they had improved their diet by 18 units, compared to only about one unit, per HEI.

“I’m not surprised by the results” Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDNits author Finally Full, Finally Slimnutritionist in private practice and member of Eat this, not that! expert medical board, says. “There is a lot of confusion about what exactly constitutes a healthy diet.”

“For example,” Young continues, “while people know they should eat more vegetables, 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 an increase in weight. “

“This is a problem because if 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 drop a few pounds, Young says “it’s so important to watch how much food you eat.”

“It’s important for healthcare professionals to discuss these nuances of healthy eating with patients,” Young also points out.

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