Do You Fool Yourself About Healthy Eating?

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diet foodI've been in restaurants a lot this week because our dishwasher broke. It's really not that hard to hand-wash dishes--but things have been so hectic lately. That's my excuse.

Yesterday, in a fast food chain, I heard a 20-something woman say to another person: "I ate a banana today, so I can have the combo meal with a shake, right?"

Trading off healthy items for unhealthy ones isn't really how good eating habits work, but we've all done it.

It reminded me of a recent story in the New York Times that said Americans live in a dream eating world. They called the phenomenon a health halo.

One French researcher asked: Why have Americans paid more attention to eating healthily, but they have kept getting fatter and fatter? His findings:

  • Americans thought there were less calories in a big meal when that meal was served with a diet item like low-calorie cookies.
  • When the big meal was alone, they assumed it had more calories.
  • They’ve found that all of us, even professional dietitians, make systematic mistakes when estimating how many calories are on a plate.
  • This researcher believes it's because American restaurants and food makers sell us on diet items, and overdoing it on diet items is not good either.
  • He thinks we obsess about "good" eating versus "bad" eating too much.

Along the same lines, one CafeMom recently asked Do you have an addiction to fast food? This week, I guess I do.

What do you think? I think I've been guilty. Have you ever fooled yourself and thought if you eat one healthy thing (say carrots) then you can have another (like French fries)?

bad habits, eating healthy, in the news, nutrition, obesity, weight loss