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Healthy dieting harder than taxes

By Kay Bell ·
Friday, May 25, 2012
Posted: 10 am ET

Summer is almost here, and that means most of us are counting calories as the season of skimpier attire looms.

Or we're thinking about our taxes.

That's right. We are contemplating tax laws rather than ways to eat healthier (and skinnier) because the tax guidelines are easier to understand. And it's not just me, a certified tax geek, who thinks this way.

Of the more than 1,000 Americans recently surveyed by the International Food Information Council Foundation, 52 percent said it's easier to fill out their own 1040 forms than it is to figure out what they should and shouldn't eat to be healthier.

The food foundation surveyors broke down the tax-versus-health-eating conflict even further.

Genderwise, 55 percent of men say it's harder to figure out a healthy diet than do their own taxes. Women, however, tended the other direction.

Only 48 percent of women said taxes were easier. We could get into all sorts of gender stereotypes here -- men are better at math, women are more body-conscious and therefore more practiced at food evaluations -- but it's still pretty amazing that doing taxes and eating healthy are that close on the difficulty scale.

Taxes also proved to be easier than healthy eating decision for folks:

  • With no college degree, of whom 56 percent found eating healthy harder versus 40 percent of college graduates,
  • Who are overweight, 54 percent as compared to 42 percent who don't need to lose a few pounds, and
  • Who have heart disease and high cholesterol (59 percent) and high blood pressure (57 percent) versus the 48 percent of individuals without health conditions that can be affected by dietary choices.

I've struggled with both taxes and my weight over the years. At least now I know I'm not alone in thinking I have a better handle on the Internal Revenue Code than the food pyramid.

And I guarantee you that when I finish future tax returns, including this one that I extended until the Oct. 15 deadline, I am not going to feel the least bit guilty about the bowl of ice cream I plan to have to celebrate!

How about you? Which is the harder task, doing your taxes or eating healthy food?

I can't help with your menus, but if you decide you'd like to let a tax professional tax care of our filing duties so you can have more time to make meal plans, be sure to check out Bankrate's how to pick a tax preparer slide show.

And keep up with tax news and tax-cutting tips by subscribing to Bankrate's free Weekly Tax Tip newsletter.

You also can follow me on Twitter @taxtweet.

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July 12, 2012 at 5:37 am

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Ralph D
June 09, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Hey, Great article. I'm just glad I have a bookeeper to do my taxes. As for diets I think in the end portion control is the best,and learning how to cook for ourselves again. I have a site about health and nutrition check it out, and thanks.