Americans want to eat healthier, but many still can't resist indulgences, survey finds

Cargill's Truvia business surveys consumers in U.S., U.K. and France

WAYZATA, Minn. — Everything from lack of motivation to stress can cause people to find maintaining a healthy diet difficult, according to a new survey by a company that makes stevia-based sweeteners.

Truvia, a brand owned by agricultural giant Cargill, found that 77% of consumers in the United States emphasize generally healthy eating habits, while 55% experience setbacks, such as snacking on junk food or eating an indulgent meal. Overall, 37% cited lack of motivation as something keeping them from maintaining a healthy diet, while 33% cited a busy schedule, 30% cited stress and 29% cited lack of money. The survey, conducted by Toluna PLC, asked 11 questions about eating habits among nearly 3,200 adults in the United States, the United Kingdom and France, including 1,051 in the United States.

Among Americans, health-related reasons were the top motivation to help maintain healthy lifestyles, while slightly less than a quarter wanted to set a good example for their families or look good at an important event. But 28% of Americans didn't want to give up their favorite food indulgences for any reason, including 42% who didn't want to give up sweets, 40% who didn't want to give up savory foods and 36% who wanted to keep drinking coffee or tea, and nearly three-quarters said they would only give them up for a high payoff, such as being rich, skinny or loved.

"Consumer interest in managing calories without compromising favorite foods is clearly reflected in these results and has contributed to the growth of available reduced-calorie offerings in the market," Truvia brand global business director Mark Brooks said. "The growing popularity of stevia-based sweeteners, such as Truvia natural sweetener, is just one example of how consumers are making changes in their lifestyles."

Among all respondents, the French were most reluctant to give up their favorite indulgences, with 45% refusing to do so, compared with 28% of Americans and 33% of Britons. Meanwhile, Americans were most likely to reward themselves for eating well with food or drink, with 74% saying they would, compared with 72% of Britons and 66% of French. Only 9% of French admit snacking on junk food throughout the day, compared to 19% of Americans and Britons. And while french fries originated in Belgium, the French themselves admit to a weakness for them, with 52% admitting they would steal them off a fellow diner's plate when out to dinner.

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