When women talk (as many often do) about adopting a healthier diet, what do they have in mind? The latest release from a large survey conducted last summer for Better Homes and Gardens gives some detail. Sixty-three percent of the women said they’d followed a “health-related” diet in the past year, aside from dieting aimed specifically at weight loss. Thirty-six percent of these regimens were low-sugar and 35 percent were low-fat. Fewer were low-carbohydrate and high-fiber (25 percent), low-cholesterol and low-sodium (22 percent) or “heart-healthy” (21 percent).
The women were also asked what they look for when reading the nutritional data on food packaging. The most mentions went to calories (cited by 69 percent). More of the women said they check on “total fat grams” (62 percent) than “saturated fat grams” (49 percent), which may not be what their arteries would recommend. Sixty-one percent cited sugar and 50 percent mentioned sodium. One telling statistic: 63 percent said they’ve decided not to buy a product after reading nutritional information on packages or in recipes.
The survey had some bad news for dessert lovers. Fifty-eight percent of the women are serving fewer cakes, and 55 percent are providing fewer pies/pastries. Forty-four percent are serving fewer cookies.
A release earlier this spring of data from the same survey showed 88 percent of the women citing fruit as a kind of food they believe offers “a specific health benefit.” Vegetables (mentioned by 84 percent) and whole grains (79 percent) were close behind.