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The country is in a state of confusion about the food we put into our bodies, according to new research from AB Sugar.
As a result people are not keeping track of the energy (calories) they consume versus the energy (calories) they burn off, which is contributing to the obesity epidemic currently gripping the UK.
AB Sugar has called for more to be done to help arm people with the right information in order to help them live a healthy lifestyle.
With 94% of Brits only occasionally or never tracking their daily calorie intake, it’s not surprising that there is so much confusion surrounding the food we eat. The research, which polled 2,000 British consumers, revealed: • Over a third (35%) did not know that fish, chicken and eggs are good sources of protein; • Almost a third (28%) didn’t know rice, bread and pasta are high in carbohydrates; and • Over a quarter (28%) did not know that cream, oil and butter are high in fat.
Perhaps more worryingly, half of women (49%) and three fifths of men (64%) also wrongly guessed or simply stated they didn’t know what their recommended daily calorie intake should be in the first place*.
The recent media focus on sugar also appears to have contributed to a few wrongly held misconceptions. Just over half (51%) of Brits believe that there is such a thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ sugar, when instead all sugars, whether honey, white granulated, brown sugar, or even the sugars found in an apple are treated the same by our bodies. Vast numbers of people (98%) also didn’t know that sugar only has 16 calories per teaspoon (4g). In fact the average guess was five times higher at 89 calories.
This lack of understanding paints a particularly worrying picture when considering the nation’s increasingly sedentary lifestyles. The research reveals that over half of Brits (54%) confessed that they do absolutely no sport and, what’s more, the majority of over 55s (70%) never play any sport, compared to two fifths of 25-34 year olds. In fact only a tenth of adults (10%) stated they play sport regularly.
Dr Julian Cooper, Head of Food Science at AB Sugar said: “There’s no denying that the country is currently fighting an uphill battle against obesity but, as our research suggests, consumers are completely overwhelmed by the amount of information they receive about what to put into their bodies.
“Current scientific research points to the over-consumption of calories and a lack of exercise as one of the major factors in rising obesity levels. Our bodies need energy (calories) to function, but when we provide it with more energy than it needs, it leads to our bodies storing the extra energy, which in turn results in us putting on weight.
“It’s clear from our research that it’s not just a lack of understanding about calorie consumption and expenditure that is causing a problem, but confusion about the different food groups, their role in our diet and how to balance it all. It’s therefore crucial that we all start working together to get on top of the points of confusion and to provide consumers with the facts and science needed to help them confidently make informed decisions about their own lifestyle choices.”
Brits fall into four categories when it comes to mealtimes according to Birds Eye, which has conducted a study to reveal the way real people eat and interact at meal times.
The Big Mealtime Audit, which was unveiled to mark the new Birds Eye ‘Food of Life’ campaign, looks at how consumption habits have changed over the last 20 years.
The study found that there are four different types of eater in Britain today – ranging from the Rep-eat-ers who has a meal repertoire of three meals to the Social-eats, the foodie who enjoys social get-togethers and typically has friends and family over for dinner at least twice a week.
The Free Rangers was also identified as a common type of eater in the UK with one in five (20%) of people eating up to eleven times a day.
To better understand the nation’s mealtime habits, Birds Eye has appointed famous photographers to undertake a documentary survey of how Britain eats today.
Martin Parr, who has famously captured the personal tastes and habits of Britons for more than 22 years, will be spending the next four months producing a unique snapshot of British mealtimes.
As well as travelling the country, finding subjects to take part in the project, three members of the public will also be able to win the chance to be photographed by submitting pictures of their mealtime moments to birdseyeview.birdseye.co.uk
According to the findings, over a quarter of Brits (26%) now eat their breakfast on their commute while one in ten (10%) eat their dinner in the office or in the car.
A further 85% said they regularly snack to get them through the day.
At home, Brits spend on average just 25 minutes around the dinner table.
The most common dinner table topic is family (32%) while almost one in seven (15%) use their meal to talk football.
Nearly half of Brits (49%) believe mealtimes are the best time in the day for conversation.
Professor Peter Jackson who contributed to the study said: “British people have moved on from the traditional three meals a day to a much less consistent pattern of infrequent meals.
“While there is a ‘moral panic’ around the decline of families eating together, in reality this is exaggerated as many British people still share meals with family members on a regular basis.”
Margaret Jobling, Birds Eye Marketing Director said: “Mealtimes are still clearly the glue that holds families and friends together, even though the nation’s eating and consumption habits have changed and we might not be sitting down for the traditional three square meals a day.
“The research, combined with the Martin Parr study will help us to understand and celebrate this as we’re passionate about creating food that can be enjoyed every day by everyone.”
Martin’s work and tour will be available to be viewed at an exhibition in London from September.
THE FOUR TYPES OF EATER:
* Rep-eat-ers are those that know what they like to eat and regularly consume the same meal up to three days in a row (20%).
Conscious about food wastage, over three quarters (77%) feel bad when throwing away out-of-date food and as a result 27% will only have a handful of meals that they roll out each week.
* Social-eats are big on food and social get-togethers.
Knowing how important time around the dinner table is (66%), ‘Occasion Eaters’ have friends and family over as much as twice a week (13%) and shop weekly to plan for these get-together meals (66%).
Conversation topics tend to focus on family, work and school, with only (15%) using meals to discuss their relationship.
* All Day Grazers appreciate food but are unable to fit in three square meals a day and more often eating little and often – as much as eleven times a day.
Over a third (34%) have brinner – breakfast for dinner – and 42% snack late at night.
* Free Rangers are made up of time-poor Brits who regularly eat on the go and out of the home due to work pressures.
Over a quarter eat their breakfast on the commute (26%), and one in ten (11%) eat dinner in the office.
Mothers distrust Britain’s £92bn-a-year food industry and want to see a crackdown on unhealthy products, according to recent research.
A national survey by baby and toddler food brand Organix found widespread suspicion among mums about the honesty of marketing claims made for children’s food.
While parents try to choose nutritious meals for their children, most said it was hard to make the right choices – and wanted clearer labelling. A third of parents struggled to understand the ingredients in products.
The survey of mothers across the UK found:
• Fewer than one in 10 (8%) surveyed say they trust the food industry to make safe healthy food.
• Three quarters (74%) say that many foods claiming to be healthy are actually high in salt, fat and sugar
• Two thirds (65%) want more regulation to ensure that food targeted at children is healthy and nutritious.
The survey, conducted by Mumpanel in April 2014, asked mums of children aged 6 months to 5 years about their eating habits and their view of the food industry.
Organix is releasing it to make the launch of the company’s ‘No Junk Challenge,’ which challenges parents to cook for their family using real ingredients for one week (28 April to 4 May). www.organix.com/nojunk.
The research shows parents desperately want to improve the quality of the food they feed their children.
Despite the food industry’s claims to have made their products healthier, nearly half of best-selling children’s brands are high in fat, salt and sugar. Some breakfast cereals aimed at children contain as much as 37g of sugar per 100g.
National surveys in England suggest about three in 10 children aged between two and 15 are overweight – and four times as many children and teenagers are admitted to hospital for obesity-related conditions than a decade ago. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
The Organix survey found:
• Nine out of 10 (90%) of Mums think children eat too much junk food
• Two thirds (67%) are concerned about artificial additives in food targeted at children
• Six out of 10 (60%) are shocked by the amount of sugar found in savoury foods
• More than six (62%) out of 10 think food labelling should be much clearer
• More than a third (37%) say they don't understand what half of the ingredients on the back of the packet mean.
Anna Rosier, Managing Director of Organix, said: “We know that parents want to give their children good, healthy and nutritious food - but it’s not always easy to make good choices.
“Our children are targeted with foods that are often high in salt, fat and sugar and it feels like you need a special qualification to understand all the ingredients and E numbers.
“We’re calling for the Government and the food industry to provide stricter controls on the levels of added salt, fat and sugar and artificial additives in children’s food. We also need clear, easy to understand labelling that will help parents choose the best for their children.”
Ms Rosier, who is available for interview, added: “Parents who want to see just how much healthier their children’s meals can take part in the No Junk Challenge – and learn how to identify a Dirty Dozen ingredients.”
Organix website will have fun ctivities show parents what is in the food, and simple recipes to try out at home.
“Processed food often contains lots of additives to preserve it, unnecessary artificial colours to make it more appealing, and/or extra salt or sugar to make cheap ingredients tastier. The amount of salt in processed food can make children's diets way higher than the recommended maximum of 2g per day for a three-year-old,” says Dr Frankie Phillips, children's nutrition expert and dietitian.
“Snacks designed for older children and adults - even those marketed as 'healthy' - can contain far more salt and sugar than is good for a toddler. As a nutritionist and mum of four girls, I look at labels myself and really think about what they mean, so make as much as I can from scratch and then I know exactly what I'm giving my own family is simply full of goodness.”