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Many Think Healthier Eating Will Only Help OTHER People

Many Think Healthier Eating Will Only Help OTHER People

Dr. Clyde Wilson

A person’s attitude (perceived consequences) about nutrition is a main predictor of eating habits. But how much we think eating healthy will benefit us can be very different from how much we think it will benefit others. In a study looking at perceived benefits of produce (fruit and vegetable) intake to reduce cancer risk, of 1649 randomly-selected phone interviewees who ate fewer than the government recommended 5 servings of produce per day and who that thought produce can provide a cancer-reduction benefit in general, over half (55.3%) thought nothing nutritional they could do would reduce their own personal cancer risk but only 6.8% thought others couldn’t benefit. In other words, when a person does not have a healthy diet, they are almost 10 times more likely to think that healthier eating will help other people than they are to think it will help themselves.

Clyde’s Thoughts: The complexity of the human mind is beyond its own comprehension. Not only do we have opposing emotional and intellectual nutritional interests (e.g. cake as opposed to salad), but these interests are mixed together so that our intellect can believe two opposing things at the same time (e.g. I should eat cake but other people should eat salad). What this means is that knowledge is not enough, and even belief is not enough. We need our belief to extend to ourselves, and we need an environment that does not make it difficult to achieve a healthy eating pattern.

Clyde’s Advice: Remember that research results are done with humans and therefore usually apply to all humans. And you are a human. Know the basics about nutrition, and give that knowledge a chance to improve your life by taking action.

The Bottom Line: Act on what you learn about nutrition. Anything less is an academic exercise. The most important step towards taking action is to pre-plan. If you think ahead before you shop for groceries, follow a recipe in the kitchen, or order food, you will be able to improve your diet dramatically just using your own common sense.

Reference: “Lack of acknowledgment of fruit and vegetable recommendations among nonadherent individuals: Associations with information processing and cancer cognitions” Cerully JL et al., 11 2006 103.

More Health and Nutrition Advice :

What Your Natural Biology Is Saying About Weight Loss
Attitude is a Main Predictor of Eating Habits
How You Can Eat Healthy at Work and Home
How We View Ourselves Affects How We Eat

Quiz: What’s Your Nutrition IQ?

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