The Truth About Calories

Confirmed for BBC One on 26 March at 9.00pm to 10.00pm

Thursday 26 March



Calories are a national obsession - the language of many diets and healthy eating plans, the numbers stamped on every packet of food we buy. But are they really worth counting? To find out, Dr Chris van Tulleken runs a unique and surprising set of tests and experiments to blow away the calorie cliches and get to the truth.

To investigate how far we can trust the calorie numbers on our food, he takes nine randomly selected supermarket foods to an independent testing laboratory - and discovers that only one of the labels is accurate. The calorie count of all the other foods is up to 10 percent above or below the number on the packet.

Next, three Glasgow families take Chris's Big Calorie Challenge, to find the best way to burn the calories we eat. They tuck in to a 600 calorie fry-up for breakfast, then all spend the morning doing very different things. Surprisingly, our calorie-burning champions are not the family who went for a hard workout at the gym, but the one that stayed home doing the housework. And even sitting on the sofa doing nothing can burn 600 calories - but only if you're tall!

Finally, Chris learns some kitchen secrets and manages to strip an impressive 360 calories out of a luxury meal of steak, chips and a cream pudding - without changing a single ingredient.

This programme shows how we can all be healthier by eating smarter - without taking the joy out of food