Millions of ‘healthy’ Brits have a ‘blind spot’ over hidden sugars and calories in sauces, condiments and snacks, research revealed yesterday.

A study carried out among 2,000 adults, found that while calorie counting and ‘five a day’ are a focus of their daily food plan, over two thirds (69 percent) admit that they often forget to consider the calories, sugar and fat content of sauces, condiments and toppings. It emerged that many adults are consuming ‘invisible calories and sugar’ on top of their usual daily intake, with syrup and sugar on breakfasts among the biggest culprits. Most adults admit to being unwilling to eat porridge (83 percent) or pancakes (92 percent) without extras because they think they are ‘dull’, ‘dry’ or ‘tasteless’ without them.

Spokesman, Andrés Armstrong General Director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, which commissioned the report said:

“You may think you are being healthy, but as soon as you add sugar or syrup to porridge or pancakes, or put a dressing on your salad, you are instantly adding extra sugar and calories. Just one tablespoon of honey has 64 calories and 17g of sugar.

“By ignoring the calories, fat and sugar in sauces people often make an otherwise nutritious meal quite the opposite.”

“There are ways of making food more flavoursome without adding on unnecessary sugars and calories. Opting for fresh seasonal fruit such as Chilean blueberries as a topping for breakfasts or salads can help to add some sweetness and flavour to your meal without lots of sugar.”

Researchers found 84 percent of Brits try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables regularly and two thirds count the calories, fat and sugar content in most of their meals. A further 71 percent are careful to eat meals that are low in sugar.

But seven in 10 people admit they rarely take into account the nutritional value of toppings, sauces and condiments which they pour all over their meals, and as such, make a seemingly healthy meal unhealthy.

In fact, over half of people (52 percent) believe they are consuming just under 2,000 calories a day, when in reality they may be adding a further 200 calories and 20 grams of fat when pouring Caesar dressing over their salad, or consuming around 12 grams of sugar for every tablespoon of maple syrup they put on their porridge or pancakes.