Think You Eat Healthily? 75% Of People Are Too Optimistic

How do people rate the quality of their diet and are they accurate?

How do people rate the quality of their diet and are they accurate?

Most people overrate their diet quality and sometimes they believe what they eat is very healthy, despite the reverse being true.

When American adults were asked about how healthy their diet was, three-quarters were too optimistic, a study reveals.

Dr Jessica Thomson, the study’s first author, said:

“We found that only a small percentage of U.S. adults can accurately assess the healthfulness of their diet, and interestingly, it’s mostly those who perceive their diet as poor who are able to accurately assess their diet.

Additionally, most adults overrate the quality of their diet, sometimes to a substantial degree.”

The research team wanted to know if a simple but effective question could be introduced as an assessment tool to complement or replace the food frequency questionnaires in nutritional studies.

Self-rated health is a single question like “how would you rate your general health? Excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?”.

It is well known that self-rated health is a good predictor of diseases, illnesses and death.

But it is not clear if self-rated diet could foresee how good people’s diet is.

85% were incorrect

The team analysed data from 9,700 American adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

They found that 85 percent of participants scored their diet quality incorrectly.

About 75 percent considered their diet healthier than it was and 63 percent rated their diet quality as “very good”.

Only 15 percent of adults were accurate — surprisingly it was those who had rated their diet quality as “poor”.

Women, adults with lower income, and those with lower education were more likely to value their diet quality correctly.

Dr Thomson said:

“It’s difficult for us to say whether U.S. adults lack an accurate understanding of the components of a healthful versus unhealthful diet or whether adults perceive the healthfulness of their diet as they wish it to be — that is, higher in quality than it actually is.

Until we have a better understanding of what individuals consider when assessing the healthfulness of their diet, it will be difficult to determine what knowledge and skills are necessary to improve self-assessment or perception of one’s diet quality.”

Related

  • What you eat has a bigger impact on your health than any powerful drug.
  • The Green Med diet leads to more weight loss and improves heart health.
  • People fed a healthier diet from an early age have a higher IQ.
  • Women’s mental health is more sensitive to what they eat than men’s.

The study was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion (Thomson et al., 2022).

A Proven Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Around one-quarter of people may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Around one-quarter of people may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Memory and thinking problems can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

Similarly, people experiencing a mood disorder, like depression, can also be deficient in vitamin B12.

The body uses vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and to keep the nervous system healthy.

Around one-quarter of people may have a vitamin B12 deficiency

Other, more common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include feeling tired, experiencing muscle weakness and being constipated.

Memory and thinking problems can strike from an early age.

One study of Colombian children found that children deficient in vitamin B12 were at more than twice the risk of repeating a grade.

Deficient children were also almost twice as likely to be absent from school as those who were not.

The study included 3,156 students aged 5-12 who were attending primary schools in Bogotá, Colombia.

They were tested for a range of nutritional markers, including B12, folate, zinc and vitamin A.

The results showed that 15 percent were marginally deficient in vitamin B12.

Only a deficiency in vitamin B12 was linked to a child having to repeat a grade.

Dr Eduardo Villamor, who led the study, said:

“Vitamin B12 is necessary for adequate brain development.

Deficiency very early in life or in old age has been linked to cognitive and behavioral problems, but it was not known whether it could be related to academic difficulties during school age.

Grade repetition and school absenteeism are important outcomes because they predict school dropout and impair children’s options for educational advancement and development.”

Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to rectify with supplements or by dietary changes.

Vitamin B12 levels can be boosted through supplementation or by eating foods such as dairy, liver, salmon and eggs.

The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition (Duong et al., 2015).

8 Simple Steps To Live 10 Years Longer

Live a decade longer and be free from chronic illnesses by following 8 heart healthy metrics.

Live a decade longer and be free from chronic illnesses by following 8 heart healthy metrics.

Paying attention to 8 cardiovascular health factors will considerably increase life expectancy, research suggests.

In this study, adults with higher scores for 8 cardiovascular health metrics lived nearly a decade longer than those who scored poorly.

The metric is known as Life’s Essential 8 and has been developed by the American Heart Association.

It is based on a scoring system which measures a set of health factors and lifestyle behaviours.

To estimate people’s life expectancy, the research team assessed cardiovascular health levels based on the Life’s Essential 8 score, which consists of:

  1. a healthy diet,
  2. physical activity,
  3. not smoking,
  4. correct sleep duration,
  5. maintaining a healthy weight,
  6. controlling cholesterol,
  7. healthy blood glucose,
  8. and healthy blood pressure.

Another study previously suggested that people who committed to these metrics lived longer and were more healthy.

According to the study’s senior author, Professor Lu Qi, the findings indicate:

“That you can modify your lifestyle to live longer.”

More than 23,000 adults participated in this study with an eight-year follow up.

The scoring system ranged from zero to 100 points, from low as below 50, moderate as 50 to 79, and high as 80 or higher.

Compared to adults who scored lowest, those who scored 80 or higher, at age 50 had a life expectancy of nine more years.

Smoking, sleep, blood glucose levels, and physical activity appeared to be the most important life expectancy factors.

Non-smokers lived 7.4 years longer than those who were heavy smokers.

Participants who slept between seven to nine hours a night lived five more years compared to those with either not enough or too much sleep.

Higher score for maintaining blood glucose levels showed a life expectancy of 4.9 more years.

A life expectancy of 4.6 more years was seen in people with higher physical activity than those with the least.

Professor Nathan Wong, a cardiovascular epidemiologist, commenting on this study, said:

“Information on psychosocial factors such as stress and depression, as well as on social determinants of health such as access to health care, may also play an important role and modify the impact that the key cardiovascular health metrics have on cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular outcomes.

As the study looked exclusively at mortality, effects on non-fatal cardiovascular outcomes should also be examined, given their substantial impact on health care utilization.”

Related

The study was published in the journal Circulation (Ma et al., 2023).

A Mental Sign of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is relatively high in foods including fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk.

Vitamin B12 is relatively high in foods including fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk.

Difficulties with thinking and memory skills might be a sign of a lack of vitamin B12, research suggests.

People with a vitamin B12 deficiency find it hard to learn words and names and solve puzzles, a study finds.

In addition, vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to problems maintaining attention.

A deficiency in vitamin B12 has also been linked to brain shrinkage.

One study of 1,459 older people measured their folate and vitamin B12 levels, as well as giving them cognitive tests.

The results were explained by Dr Martha Savaria Morris, the study’s first author:

“We found a strong relationship between high folate status and good cognitive function among people 60 and older who also had adequate levels of vitamin B12.”

Some good sources of folates include:

  • fruits,
  • vegetables,
  • chickpeas,
  • lentils,
  • liver,
  • and whole-grains.

Vitamin B12 is relatively high in foods including fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk.

Dr Morris said:

“People with normal vitamin B12 status performed better if their serum folate was high.

But for people with low vitamin B12 status, high serum folate was associated with poor performance on the cognitive test.”

In contrast, low vitamin B12 was problematic:

“For seniors, low vitamin B12 status and high serum folate was the worst combination.

Specifically, anemia and cognitive impairment were observed nearly five times as often for people with this combination than among people with normal vitamin B12 and normal folate.”

People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.

Dr Morris concluded:

“Our findings support the often-expressed idea that many seniors would benefit from more folate, but the research shows that we must look at the effects this would have on seniors with age-related vitamin B12 deficiency, who may be more numerous than once realized.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Morris et al., 2007).

The Vitamin Deficiency Linked To Inflammation And Disease

Low-grade inflammation may be a sign that your body is missing this vitamin.

Low-grade inflammation may be a sign that your body is missing this vitamin.

Inflammation is the immune system’s response to an infection, injury, or disease and is part of the healing process.

However, ongoing low-grade inflammation can contribute to serious disorders such as autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Genetic researchers have now found a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and high levels of an inflammatory marker known as C-reactive protein.

This protein is made by the liver and released into the blood: elevated levels are an indication of inflammation in the body and serious health conditions.

The study suggests that chronic inflammation could be reduced by improving vitamin D levels in people with a deficiency.

This means vitamin D status can be a key indicator to identify individuals who are more likely to have chronic inflammation associated with severe illnesses.

Getting enough vitamin D

The research team analysed genetic data from nearly 300,000 patients provided by the UK Biobank.

The genetic evidence revealed a direct link between Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and C-reactive protein levels.

They noticed that with increasing vitamin D levels, the C-reactive protein sharply goes down and levelled off when the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level was about 50 nmol/L.

Dr Ang Zhou, the study’s first author, said:

“Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting your tissues if you’ve been injured or have an infection.

High levels of C-reactive protein are generated by the liver in response to inflammation, so when your body is experiencing chronic inflammation, it also shows higher levels of C-reactive protein.

This study examined vitamin D and C-reactive proteins and found a one-way relationship between low levels of vitamin D and high levels of C-reactive protein, expressed as inflammation.

Boosting vitamin D in people with deficiencies may reduce chronic inflammation, helping them avoid a number of related diseases.”

Furthermore, the study suggests that getting enough vitamin D could reduce problems linked to obesity and chronic inflammatory illnesses such as autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Professor Elina Hyppönen, the study’s senior author, said:

“We have repeatedly seen evidence for health benefits for increasing vitamin D concentrations in individuals with very low levels, while for others, there appears to be little to no benefit.

These findings highlight the importance of avoiding clinical vitamin D deficiency, and provide further evidence for the wide-ranging effects of hormonal vitamin D.”

The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (Zhou & Hypponen, 2022).

A Common Sign Of Vitamin D Deficiency

Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.

Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.

Weak muscles and general tiredness can be signs of vitamin D deficiency, studies find.

For muscles to work effectively, vitamin D is essential.

When these levels are low, it can lead to tiredness and low levels of energy.

Other signs of vitamin D deficiency include poor sleep, symptoms of depression and headaches.

The vitamin is thought to play a role in regulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter important for mood.

One study that included 12 people with severe vitamin D deficiency scanned their muscles for their response to exercise.

Taking vitamin D supplements for around 12 weeks led to participants feeling much less tired.

Dr Akash Sinha, the study’s first author, explained the results:

“The scans provided a unique window into what is really going on in the muscle as it works.

Examining this small group of patients with vitamin D deficiency who experienced symptoms of muscle fatigue, we found that those with very low vitamin D levels improved their muscle efficiency significantly when their vitamin D levels were improved.”

The tiredness people experience is probably caused by problems with the mitochondria, the ‘power stations’ within each cell in our bodies.

After supplementation, participants’ mitochondria recovered more quickly from exertion.

Dr Sinha said:

“We have proved for the first time a link between vitamin D and mitochondria function.

Of the patients I see, around 60% are vitamin D deficient and most people living north of Manchester will struggle to process enough vitamin D from sunlight alone, particularly during winter and spring.

So a simple vitamin D tablet could help boost your energy levels – from within the cells.”

Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish and eggs, but most people get their vitamin D from the action of sunlight on the skin.

That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in more northern climes.

Studies have also linked vitamin D deficiency to dementia.

The study was published in the Journal of Endocrinology (Sinha et al., 2013).

A Mental Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Up to 25 percent of people may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Up to 25 percent of people may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Difficulties with thinking and memory can be symptomatic of a deficiency in vitamin B12, research suggests.

People low in vitamin B12 can report having a worse memory for both ideas and events.

Low levels of vitamin B12 may also contribute to brain shrinkage and has even been linked to depression.

Vitamin B12 is critical for the body’s production of red blood cells and for keeping the nervous system healthy.

Other, common signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include experiencing muscle weakness, feeling tired,  and being constipated.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to rectify with supplements or by dietary changes.

Vitamin B12 levels can be boosted through supplementation or by eating foods such as dairy, liver, salmon and eggs.

A study of 3,156 children in Columbia has found that those who are deficient in vitamin B12 were twice as likely to repeat a grade.

They were also at double the risk of being absent from school.

The children, aged 5-12, were all tested for various nutritional markers, including B12, folate, zinc and vitamin A.

Fully 15 percent were marginally deficient in vitamin B12 and it was the only deficiency linked to repeating a grade at school.

Dr Eduardo Villamor, who led the study, said:

“Vitamin B12 is necessary for adequate brain development.

Deficiency very early in life or in old age has been linked to cognitive and behavioral problems, but it was not known whether it could be related to academic difficulties during school age.

Grade repetition and school absenteeism are important outcomes because they predict school dropout and impair children’s options for educational advancement and development.”

People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians, older people and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.

The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition (Duong et al., 2015).

A Nasty Psychological Sign Of Vitamin D Deficiency

The study found that 68% were vitamin D deficient.

The study found that 68% were vitamin D deficient.

Chronic headaches could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, research suggests.

People with low levels of vitamin D are at twice the risk of chronic headaches.

These headaches are also twice as likely to occur in the winter months, when vitamin D levels are at their lowest in the body.

During the winter, less sunshine striking the skin means the body is not able to produce enough vitamin D.

The conclusions come from a Finnish study of 2,601 men.

It found that 68% had deficient vitamin D levels.

The current medications for migraine — painkillers — could be doing more harm than good in some cases.

People are frequently taking the wrong medication, or too much of it, the study’s authors write:

“Primary headaches, including migraine, are among the leading health problems and causes of disability in the modern working population.

Currently, there is a global trend in chronification of migraine and a growing number of cases of medication overuse headache due to improper use and/or overuse of painkillers.”

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports (Virtanen et al., 2017).

The Psychological Sign Of Omega-3 Deficiency

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential as our body cannot make them.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential as our body cannot make them.

Feeling depressed can be a sign of a poor diet, research suggests.

Indeed, healthy diets are often overlooked as a major factor in recovering from depression.

An important component of a healthy diet is omega-3 fatty acids.

Studies have found that omega-3 supplements can be beneficial for people with depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential as our body cannot make them.

Omega-3 can be obtained from the diet or through supplementation.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, chia seeds, soybean, hemp seed, salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel.

While the standard treatment for depression is antidepressants, many people discontinue them for fear over the side-effects and start using alternative treatments.

Dr. François Lespérance, who has studied the effects of omega-3 on depression, said:

“Despite significant progress in neuroscience over the past two decades, depression is difficult to treat.

Many of these treatments have not been adequately evaluated.

That is why it was important to assess the efficacy of Omega-3, one of the most popular alternative approaches.”

The study included 432 people with depression.

Half took 1050mg of EPA each day for eight weeks.

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is one of the three main omega-3 fatty acids.

The other group took a placebo that was flavoured with fish oil so they would not know the difference.

The results showed that for people who were depressed, but not anxious, the omega-3 fatty acid was effective at reducing depression.

The study’s authors conclude:

“In this heterogeneous sample of patients with MDE, there was only a trend toward superiority of omega-3 supplementation over placebo in reducing depressive symptoms.

However, there was a clear benefit of omega-3 supplementation among patients with MDE without comorbid anxiety disorders.”

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Lespérance et al., 2011).

One Sign Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency Is Mental

Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to correct for most people.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to correct for most people.

Memory and thinking problems can be a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, research finds.

People with low vitamin B12 can find it harder to sustain attention, learn words and names and solve puzzles.

Low levels of the vital vitamin have also been linked by research to brain shrinkage.

Vitamin B12, along with folate, help to protect the cognitive function of older people.

Good sources of vitamin B12 include fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk.

Fortified breakfast cereals also contain vitamin B12.

The study included 1,459 older people whose vitamin B12 and folate levels were measured.

They were also given tests of their cognitive skills.

Dr Martha Savaria Morris, the study’s first author, explained the results:

“We found a strong relationship between high folate status and good cognitive function among people 60 and older who also had adequate levels of vitamin B12.”

Folates include vitamin B9, folacin and folic acid.

Some of the best dietary sources of folates include:

  • vegetables,
  • fruits,
  • liver,
  • and whole-grains.

Folate levels are particularly high in chickpeas, yeast extract, lentils and broad beans.

Dr Morris said:

“People with normal vitamin B12 status performed better if their serum folate was high.

But for people with low vitamin B12 status, high serum folate was associated with poor performance on the cognitive test.”

In contrast, low vitamin B12 was problematic:

“For seniors, low vitamin B12 status and high serum folate was the worst combination.

Specifically, anemia and cognitive impairment were observed nearly five times as often for people with this combination than among people with normal vitamin B12 and normal folate.”

People who may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B12 include vegetarians and those with some digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease.

Dr Morris concluded:

“Our findings support the often-expressed idea that many seniors would benefit from more folate, but the research shows that we must look at the effects this would have on seniors with age-related vitamin B12 deficiency, who may be more numerous than once realized.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Morris et al., 2007).

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