Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What You Know Matters

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How many calories are in a slice of pizza? Which is more filling, brown rice or white rice? When trying to lose weight, knowledge is power. Knowing about nutrition and how eating affects health allows a person a great deal of freedom and flexibility when making choices about food. It appears that knowledge can also influence peoples motivation to lose weight.
Based on both scientific and market research,
we can conclude that women currently have the nutrition-information advantage over guys, regardless of their weight status. For example, when researchers in England assessed the nutrition knowledge of over 1,000 men and women to help determine peoples understanding of the current dietary recommendations, the  most healthful food choices, and diet–disease links, they discovered that in general the women in the study had more such knowledge than the men.Why do women appear to be more nutrition-savvy than men? Partof the answer may lie in the mass media—television, radio, news- papers, and magazines. For the past several decades, women have been the primary target of publicized information on health and nutri- tion. That means that health news stories and health campaigns have been developed to be more appealing and more intriguing to women than to men.
Being exposed so often to messages about obesity, health, and nutrition may have helped women keep the need for a healthy lifestyle in mind and may have influenced their decision to lose weight. Although knowledge in itself doesnt guarantee behavior change, it does appear to make a difference. In a Swedish study that examined the lifestyle differences in over 4,000 men and women, the women showed more interest in measures of health prevention. They also tended to have a healthier lifestyle than the men. The women in the study were less likely to be overweight or obese, and compared with the men, they consumed significantly more vegetables, fruits, and milk and less meat, fat, and alcohol.If knowledge is power and more is better when it comes to weight loss, can knowledge about nutrition affect the food choices that men make? One study, done in France, seems to point in that direction. It involved more than 350 men between the ages of forty-five and sixty- four. The men were given a quiz that assessed nutrition knowledge. The researchers found that those men with the highest scores made healthier food choices than those with the lowest scores. In particular, the high-scoring men consumed less fat and less animal fat. Since a high-fat diet is associated with excess weight and consequent health problems, the findings from this study are encouraging.
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