Health experts have warned to beware of the barbecue after it emerged the average al fresco feast is a 3,000 calorie binge.

The brief British summer may signal the start of BBQ season for most of us but calorie counters may want to think again before they take out their tongs.

And those watching their weight may want to stick to salad after the staggering calorie count of the average barbie was revealed.

The 3,000 calories involved is the equivalent of a day and half's worth of food for a woman - and is 500 calories more than a man's daily limit.

The warning comes after Britons went barbecue crazy this summer, with 90 per cent of people enjoying an outdoor meal.

Sales of the grills have doubled and charcoal sales also board, having gone up by 176 per cent.

More than half of those who go to a BBQ admit that we eat more at barbecues than we do at other meals.

Beef: A survey has revealed 32 per cent of people enjoy burgers most

Half of us go back for seconds and more than a fifth a have thirds.

Although it is the classic social setting for a summertime gathering, the classic British barbie was also revealed to be a wasteful way of feeding friends.

Of those polled by the survey, 55 per cent of people say they end up throwing away food at the end of the meal because they cooked too much.

The results came in a survey of a 1,000 people by the diet company Forza Supplements, who are famous for their slimming pills and fat-burners.

By far the most popular barbecue dish is the beef burger, chosen by 32 per cent of respondents.

Next came sausages chosen by 18 per cent; kebabs, 14 per cent; steak, 13 per cent; chicken drumsticks, 12 per cent and lamb chops, six per cent. Ironically, just four per cent of diners chose fish, the healthiest and least calorific option.

The calorie binge is made worse by the fattening snacks we serve with the meat.

Nine out of ten people always serve fattening crisps, dips and potato salads with the main meal while almost half of us prefer to have ice cream as a dessert.

Drinks do not look good for the dietary intake either.

Lager is most popular drink, followed by coke, rose wine, white wine and lemonade.

Forza found that the average barbecue helping consists of two sausages, one-and-a-half burgers and two chicken drumsticks.

We then pile plates with sides of a baked potato, a helping of green salad, some pasta salad and several dollops of mayonnaise and other dressings.

Most of us have not one, but two, desserts and the average boozer drinks four bottles of lager or three glasses of wine.

Those not drinking alcohol have at least three glasses of coke or lemonade.

Forza managing director Lee Smith said: 'This summer has been the hottest since 2006, so we shouldn't complain. 'We've all been outside enjoying barbecues and they have taken a terrible toll on our waistlines. 'Although grilled meat and fish can be very healthy, most of us cancel out any benefits by eating far too much of it and we overindulge in fats and carbohydrates on the side. 'If you are a guest, you feel obliged to try all the options and are pressured by the host to eat more.'