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The Week in Both Self-Evident and Counter-Intuitive Food News

People with children eat worse, heavy drinkers exercise more, and nearly everyone eats five fruits and vegetables a day, in their heads.

This week saw the publication of several reports on our frequently predictable and occasionally quite surprising relationship with food. On the "I could have told you that!" front was a study from Consumer Reports, which concluded that "Americans could be fooling themselves when it comes to healthy eating."

Apparently, in our heads, 90 percent of us eat a healthy diet, and more than half consume five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Back in the real world, 57 percent of the survey respondents were overweight or obese based on their Body Mass Indexes, and the Centers for Disease Control estimates that only 26 percents of American adults eat fruit and vegetables even three times a day. When it comes to eating healthily, clearly thinking does not make it so.

On the other side of the predictability spectrum came the news of an academic study that concluded that drinking alcohol makes you exercise more. More specifically (and even more incredibly), the study's authors found that "heavy drinkers exercise about 10 more minutes per week than current moderate drinkers and about 20 more minutes per week than current abstainers," while "an extra episode of binge drinking increases the number of minutes of total and vigorous physical activity per week for both women and men."

Finally, a result that is both sort-of counter-intuitive and sort-of not: The New York Times reported on a British study that found that "couples with children eat a less healthy diet than those who have none." While the Times found the results surprising, Dr. Richard Tiffin, one of the study's authors, disagreed:

This confirms what we as parents know: For whatever reason, the social dynamic in a household with children makes the diet on average more unhealthy.


There's still time to revise your New Year's resolutions accordingly: more booze, no kids, and a food diary.

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