Most would-be dieters don’t change their eating patterns as much as they think they do, and have misconceptions about diet quality, according to researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital.
What to know:
Dieters actively try to make healthier choices, but most people overestimate how much change they’ve made to their overall eating habits.
People generally know that fruits and vegetables are healthy, but what the public considers a healthy and balanced diet differs from what researchers and healthcare professionals know to be.
Only about 1 in 4 people have realistic views of their diets and about how well the diet is going.
Diets can be more successful when people seek out information on what areas of their diet can be improved and find ways to make healthy nutritional changes. When this occurs, people are less likely to give up on their weight loss goals after minor setbacks.
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.
This is a summary of the article, “Relationship Between Perceived and Measured Diet Quality Improvements in a Randomized Weight Loss Trial,” by Jessica Cheng, PhD, and colleagues and presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions on November 7, 2022. The abstract can be found at abstractsonline.com.
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