Bridging the Gap: Why Can’t Americans Eat Healthy?

fried chicken nuggets and fries

Living a healthy lifestyle should never be a choice; it should be the norm. Doing so keeps your body strong and protects you from several health problems, like cardiovascular diseases. Switching to a healthier lifestyle, however, is easier said than done for many people, especially when their finances are taken into account. Some people view healthy eating as a luxury. It makes sense because junk food can be cheap, tasty, and filling.

Despite the reality, more Americans still value the importance of consuming healthy food, making it a great opportunity to franchise healthy food business. A report from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation and the American Heart Association (AHA) says 95 percent of shoppers in the US seek healthy food options but only 28 percent say they’re easy to find.

More Americans Can’t Access Healthy Food

The American diet is changing as people are getting more conscious of their health and shape. A separate IFIC survey shows 36 percent of 1000 Americans, ages 18 to 80, say they follow a specific diet, including plans focusing on a high-protein, low carbohydrates, and healthy fat.

The survey shows Americans’ willingness to eat healthily as long as they have access to what they need. But the IFIC-AHA survey shows more than half of the respondents can’t access or have difficulties finding healthy products.

Researchers suggest misinformation is a factor that challenges consumers to find healthy options. Conflicting information about what makes food healthy often confuses consumers. Some products, for instance, say they are “rich in vitamin D” on the label even if they’re not. They make you believe that such products are healthier than others.

Additionally, signs in some stores can be confusing. Some may have a “health section,” “dietitian-approved,” and “superfood.” Most consumers don’t have enough time to learn what these messages mean given the limited time they have in a grocery store.

Food labels also play a role in why consumers have a hard time picking healthy products. The survey shows consumers look to different labels to determine if the food is healthy, where:

  • 69 percent of people use the Nutritional Facts
  • 67 percent use the ingredients list
  • 45 percent look for ingredients they specifically seek
  • 31 percent check if the product contains ingredients they need to avoid

Providing More Access to Healthy Food

man getting fruits and vegetables at the grocery store

The AHA recommends eating a variety of nutritious food from all the food groups to give the body the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Food products rich in nutrients contain minerals, whole grains, and protein but are low in calories. These are helpful for those who control their weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

You can take this opportunity to help your community eat healthily without spending too much. Start a restaurant that offers affordable, delicious, and nutritious meals, for example. This could encourage your patrons to reduce their consumption of unhealthy food from some fast food chains.

When buying food, experts suggest looking for products with the least processed ingredients. Purchasing fresh produce is also a better option. Learn recipes that are easy to make with readily available ingredients.

A healthy lifestyle goes beyond maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. You should incorporate proper exercise to make your diet more effective. Make sure to invest time on research before trying out a new diet plan or food products to determine if they suit you.

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