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Are we fooling ourselves about healthy eating?

Jan 6, 2011

Americans could be fooling themselves when it comes to healthy eating, according to a Consumer Reports survey.

Nearly 90 percent of 1,234 U.S. adults surveyed said they were eating a “somewhat," "very," or "extremely" healthy diet. Only 11 percent described their diet as “not very” or “not at all” healthy.

Most people made efforts to eat healthier. For example, 60 percent of the participants said they chose whole grains over white rice or refined carbs. More than half also reported that they ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day - although this could also be a miscalculation of serving sizes by respondents.

A CDC survey conducted last year found that only 26 percent of adults ate vegetables at least three times a day.

Regardless of healthy efforts, about 57 percent of the respondents were overweight or obese according to their body mass indexes, calculated from their self-reported height and weight.

Fifty-nine percent said they were either "careful" or "strict" about their food intake. But of these people, more than a third indicated that they did not limit fats or sweets.

This led Consumer Reports to ask, “Are we fooling ourselves?”

The participants were asked which vegetables they regularly consumed once a week or more:

Lettuce or salad greens: 78 percent

Tomatoes: 71 percent

Carrots: 63 percent

Potatoes: 61 percent

Broccoli: 57 percent

When asked why they didn’t eat more vegetables, the frequent responses were:

You already eat an amount you are satisfied with: 66 percent

Vegetables are hard to store or they go bad: 29 percent

Someone else in your household does not like vegetables: 17 percent

Vegetables are too expensive: 14 percent

You don't like vegetables: 13 percent

This survey was conducted in November 2010 and the author cautions that there could be seasonal variations in the responses.

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