We eat many more ingredients than we think, survey shows

Rob Hobson nutritionist ingredients
Nutritionist Rob Hobson: We eat more ingredients than we imagine
03/07/2017 - 09:58
The average Briton consumes 121 different ingredients every single day in the food and drink they have – which is three times more than people believe they are consuming.

A poll of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Ryvita, has revealed that on average we estimate we are eating and drinking about 37 separate ingredients in food and drink a day.

But over the course of breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks, adults will actually take in on average 84 more ingredients than that.

Rob Hobson, Ryvita’s nutritionist, said: “The research found that each day, we consume far more ingredients than we think.

“Most people think that the food they eat is much more simple and pure than it actually is and I would urge shoppers to look at the labels on their food and drink so they are aware of what ingredients they are consuming.”

Cornflakes for instance, the most popular breakfast choice, contain 13 ingredients including maize, sugar, salt and multiple additives such as dextrose and artificial flavouring.

A tin of tomato soup was a top lunch menu choice and typically has 16 ingredients, including acidity regulator, sugar and modified maize starch.

And dinnertime favourite, lasagne, has 51 ingredients – nearly double what people thought they consumed in a single meal – with xanthan gum, milk proteins and coconut fat added to the recipe’s core ingredients.

Snack fans might think twice when reaching for the biscuit tin, chocolate digestives can have 24 ingredients or more, including soya lecithin, flavourings and E476 (Polyglycerol polyricinoleate.)

One in five people say they like to drink a glass or more of fruit squash a day, potentially taking in sweeteners like Acesulfame K and artificial colourings, which contain further sweeteners such as Aspartame.

The survey also showed that 75% of respondents admitted they have no idea what the maximum amount of salt they should consume each day is. Even fewer know the maximum amount of sugar they are recommended to intake each day, with 85% confessing ignorance.

However, nearly nine in 10 believe that ingredients, salt, sugar and fat content should be labelled more clearly on food packaging to clear up some of the dietary confusion.

Hobson added: “By either making things from scratch or becoming savvier in the supermarket by reading labels, we can understand what we are consuming and help manage our RDA for things such as salt, sugar and saturated fat.”

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