More American adults say they have changed their diets to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables (71%) than say they have changed their diets to lose weight (65%). Right away, you have to wonder how honest the people polled were. Or you have to wonder if they know what constitutes a fruit and vegetable.
Two-thirds of Americans say they changed their diet to improve their health. Only one-third say it was to change their appearance. I’m with the majority on this question, but who are we kidding?
When it comes to identifying specific foods or nutrients they have targeted for reduction in their diets, Americans name fat the most (66%) and carbs the least (45%).
The data comes from the AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll (PDF file) of adult Americans conducted in June 2011.
As the above bar chart shows, other items targeted for reduction are sugar (59%), processed foods (54%) and salt (52%). I’ve reduced three out of the five items (sugar, carbs and processed foods), so I feel almost main-stream.
Considering how much the government, medical establishment and popular press have badgered Americans to cut dietary fat for over three decades, it’s amazing that sugar has become nearly as big a target of condemnation.
Given my age — a mid-range Baby Boomer — I am part of a noteworthy trend in low-carb dieting:
That’s right: the older you are, the more likely you are to say you’ve tried reducing carbs in your diet. OK, the same trend exists for every other reason people give for changing their diets. It takes time to try a bunch of diets.
Interestingly, a higher percentage of people say their doctor told them to diet to cut carbs (24%) than say their doctor told them to diet to cut fat (23%). However, a whopping 56% say their doctor told them to diet to lower their cholesterol.
So the conventional diet wisdom still lives.