Welcome to Play Smart, a column to help you play golf smarter and better from Game Improvement Editor Luke Kerr-Dineen (who you can follow here on Twitter).
When golfers struggle to lose weight, one of the biggest obstacles they face doesn’t change what they eat. It is realizing what they eat. That is the first step towards change, and it is difficult for most to make clear.
And a recent in-depth study from the American Society for Nutrition proves it.
The ASN study collected data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which surveyed nearly 10,000 Americans as they detailed their daily diet, and then asked those participants to rate how healthy they thought their diet was. Studies then analyzed how healthy these people’s diets were actually were, following the dietary guidelines, and found a major disconnect.
“We found that only a small percentage of American adults can accurately assess the health of their diet,” writes author Jessica Thomson, PhD, a research epidemiologist with the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in the Southeast, in Science Daily. “In addition, most adults overestimate the quality of their diet, sometimes significantly.”
Specifically, the study found that roughly “about 85 percent inaccurately rated their nutritional quality,” and that a total of 99 percent of participants “overestimated the health of their diet.” Only those who admitted that their diet was unhealthy tended to rate themselves more accurately.
Simply put, almost everyone thinks they are eating healthier than they actually are.
How to *actually* improve your diet
After sharing the results, the study outlines ways in which this discrepancy can be remedied in the future. Are people especially consciously ignorant of what their diet is? Or do they just not know what a healthy diet is? looks like Like it?
As for what golfers can take away from all of this, get a handle on what the ASN describes some “healthy” and “unhealthy” foods.
Examples of foods rated as “healthier” by the ASN include…
- Whole grain
- Healthy fats
- Low-fat dairy products
- Vegetable proteins.
And some “less healthy” foods…
- Refined grains
- High Sodium Foods
- Foods with added sugars
- Saturated fats
Having a healthy diet generally does not mean eliminating the last food completely. It just means you enjoy it in moderation. Portion control is another big part of it all. You don’t have to cut out the unhealthy stuff completely to upgrade your diet, but if you’re going to enjoy some “refined grains” like pasta, keep an eye on how much you eat. When I was working hard to lose weight, I literally started weighing those things, using a scale, and found it really helped.