Studies have revealed that almost half of Brits ‘obsess’ over calories but are unaware of their micronutrient intake.
What’s more, a quarter regularly check-in with calorie-counting apps and a fifth scan every single food purchase for its calories. Almost a half will exercise if they believe they’ve overeaten, and nearly a third prefer to eat low-calorie food despite how healthy it is.
Perhaps surprisingly, almost 60% admitted they don’t bother looking at the vitamin and mineral content of the food they purchase. As a result, nutritionists fear there may be a ‘nutrition gap’ in UK diets. The appetite for calorie-counting is high, but there appears to be a disregard, and perhaps misunderstanding, for the importance of nutrients.
There are fears in the nutritionist community that short-term weight-loss goals are compromising longer-term health benefits. It is well-known that a low-calorie diet does not automatically translate to a healthy diet. Well-meaning Brits may be pursuing a highly-processed diet to lower calories but are perhaps inadvertently missing out on organic ingredients essential for a healthy lifestyle.
These fears are compounded by reports of increasingly sedentary lifestyles – particularly affected by lockdowns and the growing work-from-home culture.
75% of those in the study say they review the nutrition of their shopping, but sugar and fat content are top consumer concerns. Vitamins and minerals are of minor concern.
Nearly one in 10 respondents did not think minerals were necessary at all.
The ‘nutrion gap’ may be leading to an epidemic of vitamin and mineral deficiency in the UK. The National Health Service must recognise that an obsession with calories overshadows nutrient intake and that individuals should acknowledge their overall health may benefit from rethinking their diet behaviour.