Irish people are eating too many convenience foods and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables.

A new survey has revealed that Irish people aren't eating as sensibly as they did 50 years ago.

The survey found that the Irish eat too much fat and not enough fruit and vegetables, in fact the lowest in Europe.

While most people claim to know what a balanced diet is, only two thirds of respondents said that they eat sensible food. The report also found that women find it more difficult than men.

The reasons why people don’t stick to a balanced diet vary. 37% say they haven’t the time. Others blame lack of appetite, cost and weight concerns for not eating sensibly.  

In 1946, a national food survey showed that our intake of fat was 30%. Today that figure has risen to almost 40%, which is above the recommended limit. 50 years ago, 60% of our food was made up of carbohydrates. Today, this figure has gone down to 50%.

So, why has our diet deteriorated?

Coordinator of the survey Oswald Morton explains that nowadays there is a greater dependence on convenience foods which means that we consume less fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition, many younger people eat more snacks and sweets to satisfy their appetites which means they eat less nutritious foods.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 19 September 1995. The reporter is George Devlin.