Clueless about calories: Survey shows many Brits still lack basic calorie knowledge

Clueless about calories:
Survey shows majority of British adults still lack basic calorie knowledge

• 82% of people think being overweight or obese has a negative effect on someone’s health
• BUT 69% of men and 57% of women don’t know how many calories they should be eating in a typical day
• 18% use the ‘traffic light’ food labeling system as a visual guide to monitor their health

We may be a nation of dieters in the UK: more than half the population* has turned to dieting at some point to ward off problems associated with weight gain.

But as many of us struggle to cut back on calories, a YouGov survey has revealed that the majority of Brits simply don’t know their calorie numbers.

The survey, carried out for calorie counter App, Nutracheck, revealed that just 31% of men and 43% of women knew how many calories the average man and woman should consume during a typical day.

The NHS recommends an average man needs 2,500 calories a day and a woman around 2,000, depending on age and other factors.

Yet despite this lack of basic calorie knowledge, The YouGov figures also show that 82% of people believe that being overweight or obese has a negative impact on a person’s health.

Said Nutracheck nutritionist, Emma Brown: “This survey shows that people are getting the message about the dangers of obesity, but they need help to understand the calorie numbers so they can proactively manage their weight. It’s no use guessing. Whilst some people seem to be using the ‘traffic light’ visual labeling – which is encouraging – it seems that the important calorie numbers are still not hitting home.

“As we approach summer, the motivation to become fitter and healthier is strong. Yet without basic knowledge about how many calories to eat, people have little chance of managing their food intake accurately and many will simply give up. Resolutions are consigned to the bin, along with unused gym memberships.

“Incredibly, 8% of men and 1% of women thought that their gender needed 3,000 or more calories a day. Eating an extra 500 calories a day equates to an extra 1lb a week weight gain. Multiply that over a year and that’s over 3 stone.

“The key to weight loss is being calorie aware, which means knowing how many you need each day, and understanding portion sizes. People need educating about what a realistic portion is, and the easiest way is to buy a digital food scale and use a calorie App to measure out your food until you get a good feel for how many calories are in the portions you are eating.

“When we repeated the YouGov survey questions with our members, 74% said using a calorie counter App had increased their calorie knowledge. Lack of understanding could hinder any progress towards leading a healthier life.”

Created back in 2005, Nutracheck is the UK’s original calorie counter and food diary App and one of the top selling diet Apps in the UK Apple Store.

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All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2256 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 7th January 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

*Source: Mintel

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