Survey finds consumers confused about nutritional messages and reluctant to play sport regularly
SCOTS are in a state of confusion about food and nutrition. According to AB Sugar, a subsidiary of Associated British Food, 96% of Scots never, or very rarely, monitor their daily calorie intake and three-fifths of all men had no idea what their daily intake of calories should be.
An on-line survey carried out by AB Sugar showed widespread ignorance over the nutritional make-up of basic foodstuffs. A third of Scots (34%) did not know that fish, chicken and eggs are good sources of protein. More than a quarter (28%) didn’t know rice, bread and pasta are high in carbohydrates and almost a third (29%) did not know that cream, oil and butter are high in fat.
AB Sugar researchers identified what the company calls “misconceptions” about sugar. The survey found that over half (52%) of Scots believe that there is such a thing as “good” or “bad” sugar. Some 98% overestimated the number of calories in a teaspoon. (It’s 16.) The average guess was five times higher, at 89 calories.
The research also covered lifestyle and levels of activity and discovered that nearly three in five Scots (58%) do absolutely no sport, compared to 54% across the whole of the UK. Only 7% play sport regularly, compared to a tenth of adults UK-wide. The government recommendation for adults is for 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.
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 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.”