Friday, May 25, 2012

Channel 4 Secret Eaters

The modern fly-on-the-wall type documentary isn't usually my thing but I really enjoyed the Channel 4 documentary "Secret Eaters". A family agrees to both fill out food diaries tracking calorie consumption and also to be tracked using hidden cameras. The basic gist of the show is that almost all family members report consuming something around the recommended 2,000 or so calories on any given day. However, these estimates turn out to be wild underestimates largely due to ignoring portion sizes, not counting alcohol, not tracking soft-drink monitoring and other factors. In the case of both parents, they were actually consuming more than double the calories they reported were. There are many caveats in terms of this being a TV show, a sample size of one and many others like that but there is growing evidence of behavioural factors in overeating (see e.g. AER papers and proceedings paper "Strategies for promoting healthier food choice").

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