If you've recently started tracking calories and watching portion sizes, chances are you've been surprised that your morning cereal is really three servings instead of just one. Or that the salad from your favorite restaurant you thought was a healthy option really isn't. It's easy to convince yourself that your diet is fairly healthy until you really start measuring and tracking your food throughout the day. That's why I'm not totally surprised by a new survey that says most Americans consider their diets to be at least "somewhat" healthy.
The survey, conducted by Consumer Reports magazine, found that 9 out of 10 Americans think they are eating better than they really are. 34% of the people who said their diets were "very" or "extremely" healthy consumed at least one regular soda or other high-calorie drink per day. "And when it came to fruits and vegetables, 58% of those surveyed said they got the recommended five or more servings per day. But Consumer Reports has its doubts. When presented with a list of 33 vegetables, 15 of them were consistently described as “rarely” or “never” eaten."
Interestingly, 36% of participants were overweight and 21% were obese based on their reported weights and heights. If their diets were really as healthy as they thought, wouldn't you expect those numbers to be much lower?
I'm always curious to see what other people are eating when I go to restaurants. It's not my place to judge whether or not their choices are healthy or not. I’m sure a lot of people are very conscious of what they are eating and the negative effect it is having on their bodies- and they choose to eat it anyway. But I think many people don't realize how much fat and calories are in the foods they are eating, or that ordering the broccoli dripping in butter and cheese really isn't the healthy choice.
It's easy to think that you've had about 8 glasses of water today or stayed in your recommended calorie range, until you sit down and actually work through the numbers. It's amazing how a few hundred calories here or there can make the difference between gaining a few pounds and maintaining a healthy weight. I don't think you should have to track calories every day for the rest of your life to prevent weight gain. But tracking for a period of time, or even occasionally once you reach your weight loss goals, can be a very useful tool.
What do you think? Are you surprised by these results?
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