Background: Consumption of unhealthy foods may have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study explored how dietary fat intake was impacted in a sample of the UK public who were social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: Data was collected from a UK COVID-19 online survey. Fat intake was measured using the Dietary Instrument for Nutrition Education questionnaire. Anxiety and depressive symptoms were assessed using Becks’ Anxiety and Depression Inventories while the short-form Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale assessed mental wellbeing. Differences between individuals who increased versus decreased fat intake were explored using chi-square or independent sample t-tests. Association between fat intake and mental health was explored using adjusted linear regression models.
Results: Eight-hundred eighty-seven adults were included. Approximately 34% recorded medium-to-high levels of fat consumption during social distancing. Around 48% reported decreased fat intake during social distancing compared to usual levels while 41.3% documented increased fat intake. Fat intake was not significantly associated (p>0.05) with any measures of mental health.
Conclusions: A higher proportion of a sample of UK adults social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic recorded decreased fat intake when compared to levels prior to social distancing. There appeared to be no associations between fat intake and mental health.