Do you know how many calories you consume on a daily basis? If you had to estimate, how accurate do you think you would be?
An analysis of Office of National Statistics data shows that one-third of people in the UK underestimate how many calories they are eating. The research shows that British men eat more than 3,000 calories a day, but claim to only eat 2,000, while women say they eat around 1,500, when, in fact, it’s closer to 2,500.
The NHS says the recommended daily calorie allowance for people who want to maintain their weight is 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women.
So why the discrepancy?
It’s actually a pitfall that hampers many diet-related surveys. Many people simply forget to list everything they’ve eaten, while others deliberately underestimate because they know they are part of a poll.
Public Health England guidelines state that people should be looking to consume around 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and then 600 for dinner, which leaves some extra for drinks and snacks throughout the day.
Eating out is one of the hardest factors for people trying to count calories. That’s because restaurants rarely list calorie information and portion sizes vary from establishment to establishment.
The bottom line is that unless you are specifically counting calories, chances are you’re underestimating your daily consumption. Why not give it a try – estimate how many calories you’re consuming and then make a conscious effort to count them, you might just be surprised at the difference.