WTF Fun Fact 13269 – Eating Healthy is Hard

On some level, eating “healthy” is pretty straightforward. We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us and processed food is bad. And for the most part, we own our decisions, even when we don’t like the outcome. But when you dig a little deeper, eating healthy is hard – really hard. Especially since “healthy” food guidelines change and quality food options aren’t readily available or affordable to everyone.

So maybe it’s not such a surprise that 52% of Americans surveyed in the 2012 “Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health” found that doing taxes seemed easier than figuring out how to eat healthily.

Why healthy eating is hard

The 2012 study is over 10 years old now, we’ll grant you that. But if anything, nutrition is even more confusing these days with new studies coming out every week to tell us that what we were told was good for us a few years ago (a glass of wine, anyone?) is not slowly killing us.

The poll was commissioned by the International Food Information Council Foundation. It was conducted during the month of April with 1,057 American subjects ages 18 to 80 who were polled online. They were asked about “their health, diet, influences on food selection, and related knowledge and beliefs.”

People showed a large amount of confusion over healthy eating in general, most of which traces to the shortcomings of the food industry. The bit about taxes comes from a specific question:

Which do you think is harder to do well?
1) Figuring out how to do your own taxes – 48%
2) Figuring out what you should and shouldn’t eat to be healthier – 52%

People who said taxes were less confusing were more likely to be men (55%), those without a college degree (56%), those whose BMI put them in the overweight or obese range (60%), and those who had heart disease or high cholesterol (59%), or high blood pressure (57%).

Other interesting findings included:
– Americans believe their physical activity and sleep have more of an impact on their health than their diet.
– Half of Americans feel that enjoying their food is more important than worrying about what’s in it.
– Only 20% weren’t trying to do anything to change their weight.
– Only about one in seven Americans correctly estimate the number of calories they need to maintain their weight.

Let’s face it, the nutrition landscape is hard to navigate!

The latest American food survey

The 2022 survey is a bit different. More consumers than ever are trying to decipher food labels. And while more consumers than ever are concerned about the environmental impact their food has, it still doesn’t always translate to eating healthier.

Food choices aren’t just about knowledge. We also make them based on availability, price, emotion, and other values.

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Source: “Americans Find Doing Their Own Taxes Simpler than Improving Diet and Health” (pdf) — Food Insight

WTF Fun Fact 12675 – Very Superstitious

Apologies in advance for getting that Stevie Wonder song stuck in your head, but a recent survey found that Americans as surprisingly superstitious. We say surprisingly only because we all tend to brag about being so truth-based and yet still admit to behaving in ways that are based on either fear or some sort of magical thinking.

Also, Stevie Wonder warned us quite clearly:

When you believe in things
That you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way

Anyway, the survey asked 1,000 Americans about 30 different superstitions and their overall belief that the world could even work in a way that superstitions made sense.

They found that, on average, more people believe in good luck superstitions than those that bring bad luck (so, apparently, we’re optimistic about our magical beliefs).

The superstitions Americans are most likely to believe in are:
– Making a wish while blowing out birthday candles (28%)
– Seeing a shooting star (28%)
– Saying bless you when someone sneezes (27%)

When it comes to bad luck superstitions specifically, the most common are:
– Walking under a ladder (21%)
– Broken mirrors (21%)
– The number 666 (21%)

Also interesting is that 12% of Americans always or frequently carry a lucky charm, while19% say they do occasionally. Still, the majority (65%) don’t bother.

It’s also important to note that while a minority believe in superstitions, there’s a large chunk of the population that’s just unsure and were unwilling to say they didn’t believe in these superstitions!

If you want to learn more about the methodology of the poll, click here.

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Source: “Which superstitions are Americans most likely to believe?” — YouGov

WTF Fun Fact 12675 – How We Prefer Our Potatoes

At first, it seems unsurprising that Americans prefer their potatoes as french fries. Until you remember just how great mashed potatoes are. Then you really have to start thinking about it. But either way, we love our potatoes and we prefer them in their most convenient form (for eating, at least).

The details come from a YouGov survey of 20,000 Americans, and they even broke down the results between region, political affiliation, genders, age, and income. (However, if you’re a 50-something woman from the West who doesn’t bother with political affiliations, you come pretty close to preferring a baked potato – but french fries still win in every category.)

Here’s how it breaks down:

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Source: “Which, if any, of the following ways to eat potatoes is your favorite?” — YouGov