Twice as many Britons resort to calorie-counting to lose weight as go to the gym, according to new research by GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare. 

It said 54% of women had given up exercise for working out the calorie count in order to fight the flab compared with a third of their male counterparts. 

Graham Neale, general manager of GSK Nutritional Healthcare, said: "We've done three years of research into the barriers to people leading active lives and they are considerable. So as the diet food and drink market continues to grow, consumers must not fall into the trap of reaching for the low-calorie option rather than for their gym gear.

"With manufacturers broadening their diet ranges, we need a concerted effort to encourage consumers to focus as much on energy out as energy in."