How much do you consider what you’re eating, especially when you’re hungry and you’ll eat anything to fill the gap? New research reveals that the average Brit consumes a huge 121 different ingredients every single day – three times more than what we think we are actually eating.
The poll found that we believe we’re eating and drinking just 37 separate ingredients in food and drink a day, but the reality is there are so many more hidden ingredients in our food and drink.
Over breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks, adults will take in on average 84 more ingredients than they thought were on their plate.
The survey was conducted by Ryvita, whose nutritionist Rob Hobson said: “Our 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. I would urge shoppers to look at the labels on their food so they are aware what ingredients they are consuming.”
Nearly eight in ten confessed that they never stop to consider what ingredients are in their food and drinks before consuming them and how many E-numbers and additives are contained in seemingly ‘normal’ foods.
The most popular food choices and what they actually contain
Cornflakes were crowned the most popular breakfast choice, containing 13 ingredients such as maize, sugar, salt and multiple additives such as dextrose and artificial flavouring. The humble tin of ‘Cream of Tomato’ soup topped the lunch menu, stacking up with 16 ingredients including acidity regulator, sugar and modified maize starch. Dinnertime favourite, lasagne, has a surprising 51 ingredients – nearly double to what we think we consume in a single meal – consisting of ingredients such as xanthan gum, milk proteins and coconut fat.
Snack fans might think twice when reaching for the biscuit tin, as chocolate digestives can have 24 ingredients or more, including soya lecithin, flavourings and E476.
One in five respondents confessed to glugging down a glass or more of fruit squash a day, taking in sweeteners like acesulfame K and artificial colourings.
Rob 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.
“For a nutritious lunch, why not make a delicious beetroot hummus that is rich in iron and ladle it on top of a fibre-packed Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread made of three simple ingredients: rye, water and salt.”
An eye-opening 75% of respondents unveiled 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% of Brits confessing ignorance. Nearly nine in 10 respondents believe that ingredients, salt, sugar and fat content should be labelled more clearly on food packaging to clear up some of the dietary confusion.
Top 5 foods that have 5 or fewer ingredients
1. Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread (3 ingredients)
2. Dannon Plain Yogurt (2 ingredients)
3. Meridian peanut butter (1 ingredient)
4. Ombar Cacao Bar (3 ingredients)
5. Tesco Organic Apple Juice (1 ingredient)