CaloriesNewsletterPublic Health

Brits are lying about calorie intake (allegedly)

On Monday 8th August 2016 British people woke up to the accusation that we’re basically greedy, lying rascals. According to a report by an organisation called The Behavioural Insights Team, we’re eating 1,000 calories a day more than we’re declaring.

The most recent Family Food Survey (2014) – (Annual Family Food surveys are available here – reported that average UK calorie intake was 1,916 for 2014. The Behavioural Insights Team estimated that we are under-reporting by approximately one third and hence declarations close to 2,000 calories per day could, in reality, be nearer an intake of 3,000 calories per day.

We’ll come to the facts and the report in a moment ... BBC Breakfast covered the story and reminded us that women need an average 2,000 calories a day and men an average 2,500 calories a day. A quick back of the envelope shows how absurd the calorie calculations are from the outset. If women and men do need approximately 2,000 and 2,500 calories on average respectively, and if we are eating closer to 3,000 a day, the 3,500 calorie theory says that women should be gaining 104lb and men 52lb each and every year in fat alone – more on top in water and probably some lean tissue (Note 1).


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