As a big fitness/nutrition geek, I am constantly consuming the latest information on how to improve the health of our overweight & inactive society.
And when it comes to improving public health, the experts are forever saying that it all comes down to education.
If only “they” could teach “us” how to…
- Eat healthier
- Move healthier
- Live healthier
…we would all take that knowledge…and stop eating junk food while watching re-runs of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
Too bad they’re wrong.
In this new study, researchers presented 124 test with a fake food buffet consisting of 55 replica food items.
- Participants in the control group were instructed to serve themselves a meal, as they would normally eat from the given selections.
- Participants in the instruction group were asked to select a healthy, balanced meal.
- People in the instruction + information group were also instructed to select a healthy meal, but in addition, they received nutrition information based on the Swiss Food Guide Pyramid.
- Both the instruction group AND the instruction + information group reduced their consumption of sweets & desserts.
- Both the instruction group AND the instruction + information group increased their consumption of fruit.
- No other food categories (including vegetables) were significantly altered.
- There was very little caloric difference between the meals of all 3 groups
- Both the instruction group AND the instruction + information group perceived their meals as healthy
- The control group perceived their meal as less healthy
- All 3 groups considered their chosen meals equally tasty
- When people aim to compose a healthy meal, they replace the dessert with a fruit.
- Nutritional information on portion sizes fails to increase the amount of vegetables in a meal
- People, who were asked to choose a healthy meal, chose meals that they perceived as similarly tasty.
- We like to eat tasty food…and we’re not willing to abandon yummy to get healthy
- We already know which foods are healthy and which are unhealthy
- We need more nutrition motivation and less nutrition education.
So, where do we go from here?
- How do we motivate ourselves to eat healthier???
That’s the billion dollar question.