According to University of Essex researchers, most people eat the equivalent of three extra McDonald's cheeseburgers a day than they admit. This is true across the board, regardless of a person's weight. The findings are published in the American Journal of Human Biology.
The study looked at 221 adults with an average age of 54 years and various body shapes. The results show that obese and thin people fib about the food they consume to about the same amount regardless of the number on their bathroom scale.
As per the study, obese people misreported how much they ate by an average of 1200 calories and slimmer participants by 800 calories. However, the obese participants burnt 13% or 400 calories more energy. Obese people burn more energy doing day-to-day tasks. Therefore they do not need to lie about food more than slimmer people.
These findings challenge the claim that bulging waistlines in Britain may be due to obese people not telling the truth about their diet. These findings also come at a time when the British government is backtracking on a proposed ban on 'buy one get one free' junk food deals and a 9 pm watershed for sugary snacks. Study researchers are hopeful that these recent findings will push policymakers to revisit guidelines on energy intake.
According to Professor Gavin Sandercock from the School of Sport, Rehabilitation, and Exercise Sciences, "The gap between reported intake and actual expenditure was bigger in obese adults than normal-weight adults but not because they lied about how much they had eaten; instead, it was because they expended much more energy each day than their thinner peers."
These findings show that the perception that obese people lie about their food intake is wrong. The deviation in what they report and what they consume may be because their energy requirements are higher due to their larger body size.
Overall, this study showed that everyone lies about how much food they consume - whether they are obese or not. Study researchers highlight the importance of changing the narrative around obese people fibbing about their energy intake and focusing more on investigating dietary risk factors for obesity, such as foods with high-energy density, processed foods, high-fat, low-fibre foods and sugary beverages.
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