Is Your Diet Really as Healthy as you Think?

According to research from the Office for National Statistics, many of us are eating 30% more than we realise. Do we really know our own diets?

To keep our body and mind healthy, we need to be consuming the right amount of food each day. In terms of calories, most adult men and women should consume around 2,500 and 2,000 calories per day respectively – these numbers are only a guideline and everyone's suggested calorie intake changes with age, metabolism, lifestyle and other factors1. A worrying report from the Office for National Statistics has suggested that as a nation, we're often eating 30% more calories than we realise2. Why could this be?

Research has shown that people of all ages struggle to estimate how many calories different foods contain. For example, a large burger from a fast-food chain often contains around 830 calories. Adults typically believe this burger same will contain around 600 calories, significantly less. Adolescents and school-age children perform even worse, thinking the burger would contain around 500 calories3. Unless you read the nutrition label on everything you eat or drink, you won't know exactly how many calories you're consuming.

Calories are used to represent how much energy foods and drinks contain. They're an easy way to track how much food you're eating and provide an estimate of how much energy they will provide your body. Some people now use kilojoules instead, which are a more accurate measurement of energy – these are shown as kJ and can be worked out by multiplying the number of calories in a product by 4.21. If you look at the nutrition label on an item of food, both calories and kilojoules are often given.

When we consume more calories than we need, we're said to be in a calorie surplus. Over time, this may lead to weight gain and could raise a person's chances of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels4. Not consuming enough calories, being in a calorie deficit, can be equally as damaging to health over time. A lack of sustenance can lead to low energy levels, hair loss, mood problems and poor-quality sleep.

According to new research from the British Nutrition Foundation, we've dramatically changed our eating habits due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A survey of over 2,000 British adults discovered that 27% of us are eating less healthily than we were pre-lockdowns. However, 22% of those surveyed said their diet has improved since coronavirus restrictions began5. Now more than ever, it's important to take care of our health. This means following a healthy, varied diet and keeping physically active.

Perhaps even more worrying is our sugar intake. In the UK, people are advised to consume a maximum of 30g of sugar each day – this is roughly equal to 7 sugar cubes. To promote a healthy lifestyle, less than 5% of the calories we consume should come from sugar6. But a 2018 report has found that we generally get over 12% of our energy from the sweet stuff7. Cutting down on sugar and salt intake can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, helping your heart stay healthier for longer. If you're worried about your diet, talk to your GP, pharmacist or registered nutritionist.

Living a heart-healthy lifestyle can be a challenge. Kwai Heartcare+ with Japanese Black Garlic has been formulated to support normal heart function. Each tablet contains 450mg of Black Garlic, 2,700μg of Allicin and Vitamin B1. Its unique formulation helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and resist temporary oxidative stress. We use cutting-edge techniques, strict quality controls and GMO-free garlic to produce this daily dietary supplement, yielding a wide range of micronutrients, polyphenols and flavonoids. Kwai Heartcare+ with Japanese Black Garlic is available in packs of 30 and 100 tablets and is intended to support a healthy diet and active lifestyle.