With the new year also new resolutions; since many of the readers here (or all) will be athletes, these good intentions will often have to do with sport or physically; And since the month of December is just behind us, it is winter and cold and dark outside (and so you will generally not be able to find much on the beach) you may have been a bit sloppy with your food lately; result? Well not immediately a reserve layer where you can go on hibernation, but you find yourself totally not ready for the coming spring ..
So lose weight!
'' No hey .. Another article! Are you going to tell us again how we should lose weight? '' I hear you think. Well no. I want to give it a slightly different twist; I'm not going to give you any diet tips now, or tell you how and when to do your cardio, or that you have to switch supersets with lots of reps to 'dry train' (who makes up this bullshit anyway), but what I'm talking about now want to have is underreporting. Under? Underreporting. In other words, the fact that people are not honest about what they eat, consciously or unconsciously, and as a result often get a lot more calories than they think. This is important to realize, since there are people who claim to eat only 1000 kcal per day on average and not lose weight (which is of course nonsense in 99% of the cases) and then all kinds of expensive and sometimes ridiculous diets or schedules go follow; a waste of your money and, more importantly, sometimes a waste of your health. In (8), a study of nearly 6000 people, the average underestimate was around 30%, even rising to 45%. Spicy.
All nice and nice, but how big is this problem? Well, a lot of research has been done on this subject. (1) found that underreporting can go up to SEVENTY !! per cent. This may not sound very interesting, but this means that person A claims to eat only 1200 kcal while this person actually eats 4000. Oops. And it's crazy that you don't lose weight. These are of course extreme outliers, but keep this in mind when you read the rest of the article. In addition, this study found that women report underneath more often than men, and that underreporting occurs more often as the severity of overweight increases. We also see that people generally think that they eat less unhealthy food than they actually do, while with healthy food it is exactly the other way around. (2) has been caused by this because people misjudge their portions or forget to write things down. "Did I have 1 or 2 cookies with coffee?"
Suppose you forget a cookie of 150 kcal every day, you are counting 4500 kcal a month. Only by that one cookie every day. Does it count?
From this we can slowly start to conclude that everything at the end of the day in your app is probably not enough. A study was also done on this (3), which showed that even multiple inquiries (multiple pass 24h recall method) did not provide an accurate representation of the daily intake. Again the fat percentage was a predictive factor of underreporting; the higher the fat percentage, the higher the underestimate. This Dutch study (4) found the same thing again, just like (5). In addition, this study found that the higher the BMI, the lower it was thought that their energy was burning.
Does it start to sound like a pattern, doesn't it? Remember that a scientific study, even a poorly designed one, is much better information to hold than that advice from that gym dude. If so many different studies say the same thing, you can really assume that we are on the trail here. But we continue!
(6) has also looked at this and found that obese people not only more and more underreport their calorie intake with increasing BMI, but that this underreport is mainly based on high-fat and carbohydrate-rich foods, according to (7) mainly snacks.
Back to (6) for a nice fact; the only group that reported reasonable to good in this study were women with a fat percentage below 22.5; perhaps also logical, because such a fat percentage for women is not very easy to achieve, so probably these were sport girls who kept their food well in order to achieve this fat percentage. A point of light for us in all this darkness!
Nice, all that depressing info, but what are we going to do with this?
Well, there are a number of solutions to the various problems that have to do with this. We are already convinced that we are simply bad at keeping track of what we eat; underreporting occurs. And many. A good solution for this?
And I do not mean that thing that is printed somewhere in a corner of your bathroom with dried-up tears on it, but a kitchen scale. Make it a digital one. Weighing what you eat can be a huge step in understanding how much kcal you eat every day.
This does not mean that you will always have to weigh everything for the rest of your life; at a certain point you will have such an ability to judge / your relationship with food will be so healthy that you can reasonably eyeball your food (of course not accurate enough for extreme results). More about that relationship with nutrition.
Furthermore, not all calorie tracking apps are equally accurate. People can sometimes fill in food themselves and this sometimes gives strange figures; always check the food packaging first! Also take into account prepared and unprepared products; mistakes like that can count a lot!
In addition, we also have the problem of the outliers at the weekend or the eating moments; even if you eat 6 days with pain, pain and hunger, you eat that 1800 kcal, if on day 7, or as far as I am concerned, even on day 14 you have that huge outlier with pizza, sushi, beer, 14 frikandels with whipped cream, and 4 plates lasagna, of which 2 portions including a plate, will raise your average intake enormously this day, so that your weekly average may still end up with a surplus. Precisely for this reason, it is absolutely not advisable to do those extreme diets; This will cause huge cravings from time to time, but also a very unhealthy relationship with food.
What you have to do Take as much time as possible to achieve your goals; this ensures that you do not have to take extreme measures. Also, do not follow diets that totally exclude complete food groups. Do you occasionally want a piece of chocolate? Fine. Take that piece now and then, keep in mind the rest of your energy intake that day and there's nothing wrong. Are you avoiding that piece of chocolate for 6 days and are you also in an extreme shortage? Well, order new kitchen cabinets for the moment that you have your next cheatday / bingeday, because you eat up the cupboard doors. Well macrofriendly, then again.
In the end you can naturally ask yourself where the enormous underreporting comes from; something that the studies do not look at. Purely speculation from me, but we no longer dare to think and be honest with ourselves; we are ashamed of our eating behavior, of what we eat, of how much we eat. Everyone is a nutrition expert nowadays because they watched an episode on 'organic is better' on RTL latenight and everyone can tell you that e-numbers are bad. Or sugar. Or that you should eat as little fat as possible. Some people even claim that you can lose fat on a keto diet even if you are in an energy surplus.
Dare to think for yourself, dare to be honest with yourself. Do you fancy that cookie? Just grab that cookie! But be aware of it. Nothing to it, just great food if the rest of your diet meets your needs. Dare to enjoy it, dare to be aware of how much you eat and what you eat. Healthier relationship with nutrition as a result, less bingering, better control of your eating behavior; a good chance that your eating behavior will become balanced with time.
Jan Willem van der Klis