You Can’t Trust the Numbers on the Packet

If you want to know how many calories there are in a sandwich from tesco, you can find that information on the company’s website: it’s 526kcal. The specificity of that figure is designed to reassure you – a pinch more than 520kcal, not quite breaking 530kcal. But how accurate is this? After all, your dressing was dished out in spoonfuls, not calibrated on precision scales. And rightly so: it’s a sandwich, not a scientific equation.

But this does make fussing over your exact macro intake a waste of headspace. We don’t know how tesco stacks up, but research suggests that many food chains fall short when it comes to accurate reporting.

Analysis of 269 meals published by the American Medical Association, found one in five had 100kcal more than claimed on the menu, and lighter dishes such as soups and salads (because of dressings) were the most likely to be under-reported, reports Obesity journal.

Your New Rule

A third of the UK population eat the same lunch every day, but by placing too much trust in the same old café-chain salad, you’re essentially trusting your health to busy kitchen staff.

What should you eat? 

IF EATING OUT: Go for salad plus a source of protein and avoid using all the dressing; you can’t go wrong.