Brits Underestimate Calories In Food, Warn Experts

Brits Underestimate Calorie Count In Food

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 3/01/2012 17:52 Updated: 3/01/2012 17:52

A recent study has discovered that two out of three Brits underestimate the calorie levels in their food, in particular 'healthy' food dips like houmous and mayonnaise.

The study of 2,000 people by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found that only 32% of adults recognised that so-called healthy houmous dips are high in calories and only 29% thought the same about mayonnaise.

In fact, houmous contains around 332 calories per 100g and light mayo clocks up 259 calories.

However, although they failed to recognise the sky-high calories in these dips, the people polled mistook bananas as high in calories (despite them being just 95 calories per 100g).

The WCRF experts are worried that Brits lack of calorie knowledge could be the driving force behind the increase numbers of obese and overweight people in the UK.

It's currently recommended that the average woman consumes 2,000 calories a day and 2,500 calories for men.

"Despite decades of increasing awareness about calories and healthy eating, it seems a lot of people are still confused about the calorie content of everyday foods," says Maya Monteiro, from the WCRF.

"This troubling lack of understanding is perhaps not helped by labels such as 'light' and 'reduced fat' when these are applied to foods which still have a high calorie content. If people are unaware which foods contain lots of calories then it makes it even more difficult to adopt a diet that can help maintain a healthy weight.

"The study also highlights the importance of having a system of food labelling that is both easy to understand and widely used," adds Monteiro.

Houmous and mayonnaise aren't the only undercover fat traps lurking in seemingly healthy food...

The WCRF has launched an energy density calculator on its website to help people better understand food labels.

If you love dips but want to maintain a healthy diet, take a look at the surprise calorie content in your favourite dips and their healthier alternatives.

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Olive Oil: 1 teaspoon/ kcal 119.
Swap: Balsamic vinegar: 1 teaspoon/ kcal 4.6.


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