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Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol
Eating healthy isn't always easy, which is why it's important for people to get blood tests and lab tests to help show them if they are on the right track. It has been difficult for researchers to pin down exactly why people choose unhealthy foods over ones that are good for them. While there are certainly many theories - it can be hard to determine what factors influence food choices the most. However, recently, a researcher from the University of Alberta analyzed consumer data and found what he believes to be some of the top reasons why people choose unhealthy foods, even when they have a medical problem that requires them to eat better.
According to the researcher, Alberta School of Business professor Yu Ma, after being diagnosed with a condition such as diabetes, people initially make decisions about their food that they think are healthy ones, but that may not always be. Furthermore, the price of food plays a large role in the decisions people make.
Cutting sugar is not enough
Ma found that once individuals are diagnosed with diabetes, they will cut back on soda and sugary foods in their diet. However, they tend to still consume foods that are high in sodium and fat. These foods can increase people's risk of experiencing obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Also, even when people were eating healthy food, they consumed too much, leading to high calorie intake. Ma explained that people tend to put food into two categories - healthy and unhealthy, but that may not always be in their best interest.
"What we found is that people paid too much attention to categorization, but they failed to monitor how much of those healthy alternatives they actually take in," said Ma. "It's what we call the health halo effect."
Price also plays a role
It's not just taste and hunger that determine what people consume, but price as well. Ma found that many people may not be able to afford to eat healthy foods, since they can be more expensive than their junk food counterparts.
"If you compare the price of healthy, whole-grain bread versus regular white bread, there's a cost increase between them," he said. "Sometimes, if you have a family to feed, it's hard to justify the price difference."
Ma said that simply lowering the price of healthy food could go a long way in improving the well-being of many people. Ma added that companies should recognize that even though lowering their food prices could cause them to lose money in the short term, in the long term they may benefit from expanding their market to other communities and making the brands more well-known.
Not all healthy food is expensive
WebMD explained that not all healthy food is pricey, and there are many things that can be found in most supermarkets that are both good for people and inexpensive. For example, a 1-pound bag of brown rice can cost less than $2 and is packed with fiber and protein. Additionally, beans and legumes are known to be some of the healthiest foods around, and quite inexpensive, especially the dried varieties.
Furthermore, non-fat Greek yogurt is often sold at an affordable price and can have as much as 14 grams of protein per serving. There are also many varieties of fruits and vegetables that are inexpensive, though the organic kinds may not always be.
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