Are You Eating as Healthy as You Think?

January 27, 2011

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healthy eatingA recent study by Consumer Reports National Research Center asked people if they had a healthy diet—and produced some interesting results.

Perhaps the most striking was that of the 1,234 people surveyed, a full 90 percent said they felt they ate a healthy diet. However, when questioned about what exactly their dietary habits were (if they ate breakfast and, if so, what they ate, how many fruits and vegetables they ate a day, etc), it turned out that most were, in fact, not eating a very healthy or balanced diet.

Similar to national averages, about 35 percent of those polled were at a healthy weight, 36 percent were overweight, and 21 percent were clinically obese. That says to me that if more than half of those surveyed were overweight or obese, not everyone was eating as well as they thought they were.

The study also found that about 1 in 10 participants were out of touch with their weight, saying their weight was in a healthy range when in fact it wasn’t.

In general, most people surveyed were not eating nearly enough fruits and vegetables, drank too many sugary drinks (like soda), and seemed to be falling for marketing messages that claimed certain foods were “healthy” when in fact they really weren’t the best choices, nutritionally speaking.

So are you eating as healthy as you think? One of the first things we do when someone starts our medical weight loss program is analyze their current diet to see how well they are eating and what the possible trouble spots contributing to their weight gain might be.

What we often find is that people are eating more calories and larger portions than they think. They typically also eat more highly processed but nutritionally poor foods than they should, favoring ready-made or fast food to meals cooked from scratch using fresh ingredients. Empty calories from soda pop and other sweet drinks often are also a problem.

The danger of all of this is that many people’s health is at risk as a result, and they may not even be aware they are in danger. Many are on the verge of developing diabetes, or have diabetes already and don’t know it, and others suffer from metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that increases one’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, and a whole host of medical problems.

So don’t kid yourself. What you eat does matter. It may take time and effort to change your diet and get used to eating in a new way, but most of my patients report that once they do, they feel better, look better, and have more energy, and that the way they used to eat doesn’t even seem appealing anymore. If they can do it, you can too!

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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Comments (16)

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