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Charity exposes UK's 'troubling' lack of knowledge over calories.

Byline: Jane Kirby

MOST Britons have a "troubling" lack of understanding about the calorie content of everyday foods, according to a charity poll.

The survey, commissioned by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), found two out of three adults underestimated the calorie level of foods such as houmous and light mayonnaise.

Only 32% said houmous was high in calories, while only 29% said the same about the mayonnaise.

Houmous contains an average 332 calories per 100g, while light or reduced fat mayonnaise contains an average of 259 calories.

The WCRF said this exceeds their definition of foods that are high in energy density - containing more than about 225 calories per 100g.

The poll of more than 2,000 people also found 20% mistakenly believe bananas are high in calories (despite them being just 95 calories per 100g on average).

READ Bartlett's But most people (75%) recognised flapjacks as high calorie (an average of 439 calories per 100g).

The WCRF said the findings of the poll are a worry because being overweight or obese is linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Maya Monteiro, senior education manager at the WCRF, said: "Despite decades of increasing awareness about calories and healthy eating, it seems a lot of people are still confused about the calorie content of everyday foods.

online "This troubling lack of understanding is perhaps not helped by labels such as 'light' and 'reduced fat' when these are applied to foods which still have a high calorie content.

views at "If people are unaware which foods contain lots of calories, then it makes it even more difficult to adopt a diet that can help maintain a healthy weight.

"This is important because being overweight is a major factor in several potentially fatal diseases, including cancer.

"We hope the findings of this survey help to raise awareness of the importance of checking food labels, because it is clear that it is not always obvious which foods are high in calories.

"The study also highlights the importance of having a system of food labelling that is both easy to understand and widely used."

The WCRF has launched an energy density calculator on its website to help people better understand food labels.

People can search for the calorie content of specific foods or type in the calories per 100g from a food label to work out if the product is low, medium or high energy density.

* THE calculator is at prevention/weight/ energy_density_calculator online READ David Bartlett's views at dalestreetblues .liverpooldailypost
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 3, 2012
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