People in the UK are way off in their estimate of how much they consume in calories. The office of National Statistics released estimates showing that the average person eats twice as many calories than they realise. Men are more likely to underestimate their intake by 1,000, to 800 for women. While the recommended daily intake for men is 2,500 and 2,000 for women, the research revealed that both men and women claimed to eat less than they actually do. In reality, men consumed over 3,000 while saying they only had 2,000. Women claimed their daily intake was 1,500 while it was actually 2,500.

Underreporting of dietary intake

The inaccurate reporting of dietary intake can be either deliberate or actually not knowing and there could be many reasons for this. Some people just don't want to be labelled an over-eater while others they say they eat less than they do because they assume it is the more acceptable thing to say. A lot of people eat out these days and it is not always easy to know your calorie count since it is not listed on the menu. It may also be due to forgetfulness – not recalling how much or even what you ate. Portion size is always an issue in inaccurate reporting and some people may not consider snacks and drinks in their calculations or may do so incorrectly.

Tracking calorie consumption

Researchers at the National Statistics office set out to discover how many calories consumers used. In the study, 4,000 adults were asked to keep track of the calories they ate over a four day period. The results showed a large gap between estimated consumption and how many calories were expended.

Those participants who were more overweight gave a higher inaccurate account of their caloric intake while women were a bit more accurate than men.

Rising obesity rates

Obesity rates have risen dramatically in some countries more than others over the past decades. In the 1970's just 3 percent of adult Britons were considered obese while today it is at 25 percent.

By the time children are out of primary school, one third of them are obese. According to international research, Britain is the fattest country in Western Europe. On the latest OECD obesity charts, the United Kingdom is close to the top and there are concerns that the rate is rising faster than that of the United States which tops the chart.

Curbing the overweight problem

One way to deal with the increasing overweight problem is to have a more accurate accounting of what is consumed. Help in this area is on the way with the impending introduction of a calorie counting campaign courtesy of Public Health England (PHE) which should help to put the brakes on a runaway obesity problem.