How long can you go without thinking about food? Go on, try timing yourself. Oh wait, trying not to think of food has made you think of food, hasn’t it? Sorry. We’re a nation obsessed as it is, with nine per cent of us thinking about food every half an hour, while 15 per cent of us have food on the brain every 60 minutes, and 37 per cent of us think about food more than sex.
This is according to Listerine, which carried out a survey to find out just how food-obsessed Brits are, finding that eating regular meals is becoming a less popular habit, while snacking is soaring – so much so that 18 per cent of us are reaching for sneaky snacks three or four times every day.
Meanwhile, 65 per cent of us are snacking once or twice each day, and almost one-third (29 per cent) of Brits are eating just one meal a day on average due to the amount of snacks they’re consuming.
But snacks aren’t always a meal replacement; 19 per cent of us eat simply because we’re bored and it gives us something to do, and 18 per cent admit that snacking has become a habit, and isn’t always needed.
Women were found to be more likely to eat three square meals a day, with 42 per cent reporting that they always have breakfast, lunch and dinner, compared to 35 per cent of men, which suggests males are the bigger snackers.
And it’s between 10am and 11am, and 3pm to 4pm that we’re most likely to reach for our snack hits, Listerine found, suggesting that the meals we eat aren’t filling us up anywhere near enough – well, they certainly won’t be if there’s only one being eaten per day! Our stomachs are rumbling just thinking about it…
It’s not just our hunger levels that we’re risking either; all those snacks are unlikely to be doing our teeth any good – something 41 per cent of us are already worried about, and 16 per cent have good reason to be, already suffering from at least one dental issue because of their poor diet.
Indeed, Mike Lynch, global director of oral care scientific engagement at Johnson & Johnson, which makes Listerine, explained: “Bacteria in your mouth use the sugar from healthy or unhealthy foods to create acid that leads to erosion of tooth enamel, leaving teeth weak and vulnerable.”
So, if you can’t break the snacking habit and you really don’t want to up the number of meals you’re having in a day, try to stick to things like fruit and nuts rather than biscuits and crisps to look after your teeth and keep you fuller for longer.