Three out of four British men are oblivious about the calories in their favourite foods, according to a new study. So great is the lack of awareness that the average man will unknowingly consume DOUBLE their daily intake of calories on Rugby World Cup match days. The poll of 2,000 men, commissioned by Fitness First, reveals blokes are baffled by the nutritional content of foods such as burgers, kebabs, crisps, curry and pizza.

The research revealed that alarmingly, as England play Wales tonight, men will consume an average of three pints, a bag of sharing crisps and a portion of chips – which equates to an additional 2,544 calories. This means that those die-hard fans who intend to watch all 48 matches look set to consume an incredible 122,112 calories – the equivalent of 386 cheeseburgers – in addition to their usual diet over the course of the Rugby World Cup.

Kate Toland, Head of Marketing at Fitness First said: “Tonight, those men congregating at the pub or at a mate’s house to watch the England v Wales, can expect to enjoy free flowing beer or cider and snacks on tap – it’s par for the course. Without taking the fun out of the tournament, simply partaking in additional exercise and being more careful on other meals through the day can alleviate any worries about game-time treats.”

Never Taking Note

However, what is more concerning is men’s approach to food in everyday life – a staggering 75 per cent of men admit they never take note of what they are eating, claiming they are too busy to worry and are unconcerned about the calorie content of what they are consuming.

  • One in six blokes believe they are allowed to eat between 3000 and 5000 calories a day – considerably more than the recommended 2,500.
  • And many men reckon they’re okay to consume 53 grams of saturated fat daily, which is twice as much as they should be having.
  • The study found the average male believes there are only 350 calories in a standard 225 gram bag of sharing crisps, when in fact there are almost 1200.
  • Blokes also assumed there were only 444 calories in a portion of chips, when the reality is at least 795.
  • And many men would think nothing of consuming a chicken korma curry with rice and naan, but would underestimate the number of calories by 400.
  • Even a pizza can leave blokes puzzled – with many assuming a cheese and tomato is 706 calories rather than the actual 1296, and a pepperoni is thought to be 787 calories rather than a stonking 1712.
  • Other foods which caused bewilderment include hotdogs, salted peanuts, tortillas and kebabs.
  • In fact, the only snack food where men OVER-estimated the calorie content was a standard cheeseburger, with men guessing the calorie content to be around 540, when it’s closer to 300.

The survey questioned blokes about their eating habits during sporting events – in particular the Rugby World Cup.

Men admitted they usually snack and drink more while watching sports, with 53 per cent saying an evening out with friends often contributes to their unhealthy eating habits.

Busy Lifestyles

Kate Toland from Fitness First continues: “Our researchers discovered that while the average male likes to look lean and stay fit, being low on time or energy can affect their approach to food.” Most men cite their busy lifestyles as the reason why they don’t pay much attention to what they eat, and this is likely to affect the amount of times they exercise as well.

“The key is to find a good balance between exercising and eating, you don’t necessarily have to count every calorie, but being aware of which foods easily tip you over the 2,500 mark would really help. Equally, exercising regularly to counteract calorie intake is a great way to achieve all round health. Even 30 minutes of exercise three times a week will put men on track for a win in the fitness stakes.”

The Breakdown

Food type estimated calorie content vs actual content.

  • Cheeseburger – 539 cal  – 316 cal
  • Doner Kebab 600 grams – 741 cal – 1000 cal
  • Chips 333 gram – 445 cal – 795 cal
  • Sharing crisps  225 gram –  350 cal – 1179 cal
  • Sharing tortillas, 225 gram – 362 cal 1117 cal
  • Pint of beer / lager – 343 cal – 180 cal
  • Pint of cider – 342 cal – 210 cal
  • Korma curry, naan, rice –  637 cal – 1069 cal
  • Margherita pizza, 8 slices – 707 cal – 1296 cal
  • Pepperoni pizza, 8 slices – 787 cal – 1712 cal
  • Hotdog 455 grams – 494 cal – 1078 cal
  • Salted peanuts 100 grams – 410 cal – 619 cal

Top Burning Exercises

Fitness First personal trainer Simon Cowen recommends these top calorie burning exercises:

  • Burpees: Five minutes of burpees could burn up to 250 calories – the equivalent of two packets of monster munch pickled onion crisps.
  • Road running: going for a 5k run at a steady pace could burn around 500 calories – the equivalent of two pints of cider.
  • Skipping: a 12 minute round of 30 second skipping sessions followed by 10 seconds of rest could burn between 180-300 calories – that’s a slice of American hot, stuffed crust pizza.