A third of people in the UK underestimate how many calories they’re taking in, according to an analysis of the Office of National Statistics data.
The data suggests that men eat more than 3,000 calories a day while claiming to eat a leaner 2,000.
Women claim to eat around 1,500 calories while actually getting almost 2,500 a day.
The recommended daily calorie allowance is 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women. The study of more than 4,000 people looked into energy expenditure and how accurately we report what we’re eating.
Public Health England chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said under-reporting of calorie intakes has always been a feature of all diet surveys.
“Some people forget what they’ve consumed and some change what they record knowing they are part of a survey. There’s no way to get rid of under-reporting, but the steps we take to minimise it makes the National Diet and Nutrition Survey the most robust data on the population’s diet.”
WHY ARE WE EATING TO EXCESS?
Public Health England recommends breaking down our daily calories into around 400 for breakfast and 600 calories each for lunch and dinner, with a few extra drinks and snacks throughout the day.
Though we eat more, and more than we actually need thanks to the abundance of convenient foods available to us. We work more, leaving less time for exercise thanks to challenging careers, family life and busy social schedules. Plus, we’re uneducated on the benefits of physical activity in the fight against obesity and related life-threatening illnesses.
Many eateries also don’t inform us of what’s in our meals, with very few listing the nutritional info or calorie figures to enable us to keep a check. Throw in the tendency for much larger portion sizes than we’d make for ourselves at home and it’s easy to be quickly thrown off balance when trying to keep tabs on how many calories we’re eating.
It’ not just a case of getting our calories from food. We’re also ignoring those we quaff, in the form of wine (one glass containing up to 250 calories), fruit juices packed with sugar and that daily coffee to get us going in the morning (we won’t mention the whipped cream and caramel syrup… you get the picture).
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
Educating the nation on what the body needs to function effectively is crucial to crunching down on the calorie excess. It’s not about counting every single calorie obsessively, though a stronger understanding of exactly how much we’re eating, based on what we actually need, will make a huge impact in the number of diet and obesity-related health issues within the UK. Not to mention the 33,000 premature deaths linked to being overweight.
Our Obesity & Diabetes Specialist course will equip you with the tools required to plan and monitor effective programmes for the overweight and obese, as well as teach clients how to properly measure their calorie intake to avoid underestimating their daily eats. We’ll cover the nutritional basis of healthy eating, the physiology and psychology of dieting and educating calorie criminals on the proper analysis of food labels.
If you’re ready to help tackle obesity and diet-related illnesses, speak to the Focus team about our Obesity Specialist course, and get yourself prepared to shape the nation!
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