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Under-reporting calorie intake is a diet disaster

Under-reporting calorie intake is a diet disaster

Anyone who has ever been on a diet, or even just kept a moderate eye on what they’re eating, has been there; under estimating your food intake. But shocking new research suggests we’re getting it wrong by a whopping 50 per cent.

Researchers from the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) found that while national studies tend to state that the average adult consumes around 2,000 calories a day, in reality that number is closer to 3,000.

The team behind the new report, titled Counting Calories, point towards scientific and economic data to garner their results. They also state that if the statistics from national studies, including the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and the Living Costs and Food Survey, were correct, the British nation would be losing weight, not gaining it like people actually are. Authors also claim decreasing levels of exercise aren’t enough to account for the growing obesity problem.

Michael Hallsworth, co-author of the paper and director of health at the Behavioural Insights Team, has outlined a new strategy for tackling obesity.

“Counting Calories suggests that strategies to reduce obesity should focus on reducing calorie consumption,” he stated. “Our analysis shows that it's unlikely that calorie intake has dramatically decreased in recent decades. Instead, it seems we are reporting our consumption less accurately.

“We should look at new ways of helping people report what they eat.”

Authors suggest that under-reporting calorie consumption isn’t always a deliberate act, but rather with the rise of snacking and eating outside of the home, it can be harder to recall what you’ve consumed on a given day.

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