Only 12% Of Americans Know How Many Calories They Should Eat Each Day

While calorie information is available for most of the food we eat, that data doesn’t really do the eater any good if you don’t know how many calories you should be consuming each day. Unfortunately, a new survey shows that an overwhelming number of Americans are either mistaken or clueless when it comes to that information.

According to the survey funded by the International Food Information Council Foundation, 63% of those surveyed couldn’t accurately estimate the number of calories they should consume, 25% couldn’t even venture a guess, leaving a slim 12% who were properly informed. 58% of respondents say they don’t try to balance the calories they consume with those they burn.

A good deal of the problem comes from the fact that there are so many factors — age, height, gender, activity level — contributing to one’s ideal caloric intake.

Says a dietician from the Foundation, “Adult calorie requirements can range from 1,400 to 1,600 a day for a small sedentary woman to 4,000 or more calories a day for a highly trained endurance athlete.”

Another dietician wasn’t surprised by the survey’s results:

Nobody knows how many calories they should be eating, nobody knows how many they are eating, and nobody knows how many calories are in foods… I would say it’s beyond calorie-confused. It’s calorie-oblivious.

Many Americans clueless of how many calories they do or should eat [USA Today]