DIETS

Where are you on the UK healthy eating scale?

More than 60% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese according to the latest data. Diet is a key factor in staying healthy and minimising your risk of Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. But how does your diet compare with other people in the UK and are you staying within the Recommended Dietary Intakes for important nutrients and foods?

Use this calculator to find out how five key aspects of your diet compare with the rest of the UK. You'll also get useful links to healthy recipes and information on how to improve your diet.

Click on the hand to start the calculator

The questions in this calculator are based on the foods and nutrients highlighted in the NHS Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet 2018. The national averages are taken from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey and The Health Study for England. The recommended food and nutrient intakes are the Government Recommended Dietary Intakes.

Nutrients not included in this calculator are also important for good health. In particular, aim to keep track of your fibre and salt intake; we have not included them because it is difficult for you to measure them on a day-by-day basis.

Fibre

The latest report on fibre from researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand and the University of Dundee says adults should eat a minimum of 25g fibre per day, while the UK government recommends 30g per day for everyone aged 16 and over. However, on average women consume 17g per day and men 21g, while fewer than one in ten adults in the UK eat 30g. To put this into context, a potato in its skin contains 2g of fibre, a banana or carrot contains 3g, an apple in its skin contains 4g. You find fibre in fruit and vegetables, some breakfast cereals, breads and pasta that use wholegrains, pulses such as beans, lentils and chickpeas, and nuts and seeds.

To increase your fibre intake, cook potatoes with their skins on, swap white pasta for whole wheat, white rice for brown, eat wholegrain bread, add chickpeas, beans and lentils to your salads and soups and eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day.

Salt

It is also important to limit your intake of salt. The World Health Organisation says that reducing salt is as important as stopping smoking when it comes to reducing heart disease. Too much salt also raises blood pressure – a major cause of strokes. The Government recommendation is no more than 6g (1 teaspoon) of salt per day, including salt found in ready-made products such as ketchup, bacon and baked beans. When reading the label, remember that 1g of sodium equals 2.5g salt. Many ready-meals contain large amounts of salt, so cooking from scratch more will help to keep your salt levels in check.

Notes on this calculator

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey samples around 1,000 people living in the UK. Each person is interviewed, keeps a four-day dietary diary and submits blood and urine samples. The people sampled are divided into groups according to age, including 19–64 and 64-plus, and gender.