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New Survey Shows 90 Percent of Women Do Not Fully Understand the Calories They Eat

Americans in need of a calorie and nutrient education

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite efforts to keep weight in check, women seem to be willing to take drastic measures to lose weight, with one third saying they would even give up sex for one month just to lose a few pounds, a recent survey found.

Although more than half of American women actively manage their weight most of the time or more often, many do not fully understand the calories they eat, according to Dannon(TM) Light & Fit(TM)'s recent Calorie IQ survey.

"I have clients come to me every day who seem to understand the basics of weight management but do not fully understand what makes up the foods they are eating," explained Oz Garcia, PhD, nutritionist to the stars and member of the Dannon Light & Fit Weight Management Council.

Common snack foods seem to be one culprit for calorie confusion, with nearly half of Americans surveyed believing that one and a half ounces of pretzel sticks contains 100 calories or less compared to the 160 calories they contain, as measured by, and nearly one in five believing that pretzel sticks are a nutrient-rich snack.

To help women make smart decisions about weight management, Dannon is introducing Light & Fit 0% Plus, a new nonfat yogurt that contains 60 calories and 0 percent fat per four-ounce cup with essential nutrients like calcium, protein and Vitamin D, plus 50 percent more fruit than regular Light & Fit six-ounce cups.

"It's important to realize that when trying to limit the calories we eat each day, we need to make sure we're getting all the nutrients the body needs to keep it well-fueled; that doesn't have to mean compromising on taste," Dr. Garcia says.

Many are misinformed about the loss of essential nutrients as they manage their weight. According to the survey, 63 percent of women believe they get enough calcium and 73 percent believe they get enough Vitamin D. However, research from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports that in reality, fewer than half of women are getting enough Vitamin D and eight out of 10 are lacking calcium.

While women are actively trying to keep their eyes on their waist line, many are not honest with themselves about the calories they consume. In fact, four in 10 women admit to lying to themselves about what they eat during the day, with more than half of women reporting that they are likely to tell themselves calories "don't count" during birthdays or other celebrations.

Dannon Light & Fit 0% Plus is the first national nonfat yogurt offered in transparent packaging, which allows women to see what they are consuming and to take a step toward self-honesty in weight management.

"Incorporating healthy, nutrient-dense snacks into a balanced diet makes it easier to overcome common dieting pitfalls," explained Dr. Garcia.

Among the survey's other findings:

-- More than a third of women report skipping meals several times a week

or more often.

-- A quarter of women report that they have eaten something else in

replace of a meal, with 10 percent opting for dessert, nine percent

gulping down a diet soft drink and six percent considering potato chips

or French fries a sufficient meal replacement.

Despite their not-so-diet-friendly eating habits, women do report that portion control and calorie content are some of the key factors they consider when looking for foods to keep them on track with weight management. In fact, 81 percent of women who manage their weight consider portion size the most important strategy.

While many women reported that consuming nutrient-rich foods is an important way to manage their weight, a full 42 percent showed that they had a difficult time identifying these types of foods that also have reduced calories and fat.

"It's great to be able to point my clients to foods that are both healthy and nourishing," said Dr. Garcia. "It is possible to manage one's weight and continue to take in all of the essential nutrients a healthy body needs, and snacking on healthy, nutrient-rich items such as Light & Fit 0% Plus is an easier way to do so."
For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Allison Goldstein

Edelman, for Dannon


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