The people of Britain eat more unhealthy snacks than any other Western European nation, new research reveals.
In a study conducted by Fruyo – the new fruit-based snack from the makers of Total Greek Yoghurt – results reveal that Brits (41%) fill up on crisps, cookies, cake or chocolate more often than people in any other of the ten nations surveyed.
The bad news doesn’t end there. When asked if they snacked on healthy items such as fresh fruit, raw vegetables or low fat yoghurt, only 15% of British respondents – the lowest amount of any country – claimed to do so. This is well behind Mediterranean countries such as Spain, at 27%, and Greece at 25%.
British people snack the third most of any Western European nation with exactly two a day, but unhealthy choices mean that – as a nation – we are often making the wrong snacking decisions. In fact, over a third (39%) of us admit to consuming more calories each day through snacking than we do at meal times.
Furthermore, almost one in ten people in the UK (8%) regularly snacks in secret – the second highest amount, behind France, of the countries included in the Fruyo poll.
When it comes to ‘reasons why’, boredom – for 41% of people – is shown to be the number one motivator for British snacking tendencies. This is followed by the urge for an unhealthy treat (31%), a lack of energy (25%) and stress (20%).
A lack of will power may also be to blame. When asked to grade their resolve for resisting indulgent treats, Brits awarded themselves just 5.7 out of 10 – again, the lowest of all the nations quizzed.
Nutritionist and food writer, Fiona Hunter, said: “These results show exactly how wrong many people in the UK are getting it when it comes to snacking. It should be a positive occasion – using well chosen products to provide important nutrients. But too many of us are instead turning to ‘grazing’, which involves grabbing something to fill up on that’s quick, easy and often unhealthy.
“When it comes to snacking, Brits need to plan ahead so that they’re not caught short in a moment of hunger and think about products which are high in protein so will keep them fuller for longer, helping to resist further temptation.”
Alison White, Spokeswoman for Fruyo, added: “There are clear differences between the countries. Mediterranean nations such as Spain, Greece and Italy eat less chocolate and crisps, and more fruit and yoghurt than we do in the UK, so we can definitely learn some lessons from them.”
Further results from Fruyo’s research highlight the different ways that snacking is viewed internationally. While in Greece, 57% of people use the notion of snacking to contribute positively to their diets, only 27% of people in the UK say the same.
Additionally, the findings showed that:
- Scotland is shown to be the unhealthiest snacking region in the UK (with a ranking of 45%)
- Meanwhile, London tops the healthy regional snack league table, with results of 17%
- Poland is revealed to be the most snack-tastic nation of all. On a general level, its inhabitants eat more snacks – an average of 2.2 a day – with the people of France the most snack-averse at an average of just 1.4. Snack-loving Polish people feature in the top five for both healthy and unhealthy consumption
- The most popular time to snack in the UK is 3.04pm, potentially signalling a ‘mid afternoon slump’ and desire for something to eat
- However, nearly a third (32%) of Brits snack after 6pm, highlighting that these people may potentially be choosing evening meals that don’t fill them up properly Greek people think that eating ‘little and often’ – another nod towards healthy snacking – is the best way to lose weight, but the most popular choice in the UK is to reduce portion size.
Photo Credit: Dan Taylor