Why there really isn’t such a thing as a healthy snack-UK

The UK is now the nation with the most overweight and obese people in Europe

Technically a snack is a small amount of food between meals. This could be an apple, the pious handful of raw and unsalted almonds, or it could be, says Ali Catterall, “My thing: chocolate milk,” and if he was out, “KFC and McDonalds. Industrially made snacks were my main substance of abuse because they’re so easy, grab them, eat them and get an instant rush.”

Bring back the reading culture

The truth is, even if your snack is a banana or nuts, unless you are not just peckish but actually, genuinely hungry, many experts now believe there is no such thing as a healthy snack. Yet many of us seem to have lost touch with what it feels like to be genuinely hungry.

Mintel’s report into Consumer Snacking earlier this year points out that only half of snackers are driven by hunger. The rest are driven by “cravings” and “emotional needs” and the use of “snacks as an antidote to busy lifestyles.”

Could our endless snacking be at the root of the explosion in obesity?

Dame Sally Davies in her stinging child obesity farewell report as Chief Medical Officer seemed to think so, and she suggested that snacks be wrapped in plain paper like cigarettes and that eating be banned on public transport, junk food be banned from anywhere near schools.

The UK is now the nation with the most overweight and obese people in Europe, and we are also the most frequent snackers. The Mintel Report shows 66 per cent of British adults snack at least once a day and 37 per cent of 25 to 34-year-olds say they regularly snack instead of having a proper meal.

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In the US, the unrivalled Land of Snacks, a place where one in three kids will grow up to have Type II diabetes, (one in two if they’re Latino), 91 per cent of consumers snack multiple times a day and, according to food industry analysts, Hartman Group, 50 per cent of all ‘eatings’ are in snack form. Nearly 10 per cent never eat a proper meal at all. Snacking is big business. Estimated values of the global snacking market lies somewhere in the region of $161,937,000,000 – that’s trillions, isn’t it?

Secrets kept from us

Dr Aseem Malhotra, Consultant Cardiologist at the Lister Hospital and a founding member of Action on Sugar says people don’t need to snack: “People only need two to three meals a day to get full nutritional and energy requirements – providing they eat real food. The food industry that deliberately produces highly addictive cheat ultra-processed junk that encourages overconsumption. I tell my patients if it comes out of a packet and has five or more ingredients, avoid it.”

The food industry has responded to critics and the boom in healthy eaters by investing in so-called “healthy” snacks, with added fibre, vitamins and reduced sugar. The global healthy snacks market is expected to be worth nearly 33 billion in 2025. Yet examine the ingredients and many of these snacks are not actually healthy at all.

source: telegraph.co.uk

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