We eat too much

Many of us may be eating too much for our needs. However, the evidence we have suggests that we are not eating more than we did earlier this century, and may actually be eating less, that is, less energy measured as kilojoules or kilocalories. If that is the case, then the main problem is likely to be that we are not getting enough physical activity. For most people, domestic work, physical effort on the job and the need to travel on foot, by bicycle or climb up stairs, has lessened.

There may be health risks in progressively reducing our energy (kilojoule) intake to match our ever-falling energy (kilojoule) expenditure. For one thing, there have been at least three studies which show that people who have a higher energy intake live longer. One of these studies, from the Dutch town of Zutphen, indicated that the increased longevity was associated either with more physical activity or with a less efficient metabolism (i.e. burning up a lot of energy without doing extra exercise).

At the very least, there are difficulties in achieving an adequate intake of all essential nutrients from food alone when the amount of food eaten only containing 4200 kilojoules (1000 kilocalories) or less per day.