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The traditional three meal-a-day diet could soon be a thing of the past – as Britain becomes a nation of grazers, research has revealed. Experts found as many as four out of ten of us now don’t eat three square meals a day, with many opting for snacks and treats instead.
Breakfast is the most-skipped meal, the study found, while it also emerged a large percentage of us require a steady stream of chocolate and crisps through the day.
More than half of those polled admit eating too many fatty and sugary foods instead of healthier options such as fruit, vegetables and nuts.
And as many as one fifth reluctantly confessed to living on a ‘liquid diet’ at weekends – thanks to boozy nights out on Friday and Saturday nights.
A quarter of these people will then have fry-ups or other stodgy food to soak up the hangover.
Reto Frei, CEO of tibits vegetarian restaurant, which conducted the study of 2,000 adults said:
”Busy lifestyles can get in the way of a more balanced diet.
”In many cases people aren’t deliberately opting for less wholesome food choices , but simply lack the ability to forward plan.
”It is often easier to pick up a snack on the way from A to B, than sit down and have a proper meal.
”But it is still possible to be healthy on the run, and not all snacks are bad for you.”
The study found many adults admit having just three to four portions of fruit and vegetables a day rather than the recommended daily intake of five and upwards.
And while the majority want to eat more fruit and vegetables – with a third conceding that vegetarians are generally healthier than anyone else – two thirds of people find it hard fitting in five portions of veg a day.
Government guidelines show Brits should be snacking on as many eggs as possible, as they are one of the most nutrient dense foods, and yet a fifth of adults never eat eggs, while the average person only eats two a week.
A typical person will eat one portion of fish a week instead of the recommended two – while 50% never eat oil-rich fish such as mackerel and sardines.
One fifth of those polled also admit they often shower their meals with salt after it has been served, without even tasting it first.
The study also indicated a general lack of knowledge when it comes to understanding which foods are healthy, and which are not- more than half of those polled believe low fat yoghurts are good, without realising while they are low in fats, they are usually high in sugar.
One third of adults believe smoothies are a quick way of getting a fruit fix, but in fact many contain hidden sugars and even ice cream.
The same percentage of Brits think shop-bought salads are a healthy option, without considering the fatty dressings.
Cereal bars and yoghurt raisins also service to confuse many people – with bars containing copious amounts of sugar, and raisins being drenched in a fatty coating rather than actual yoghurt.
Reto Frei added:
”Brits would be better off avoiding processed foods and eating more naturally grown alternatives instead.
”You can’t go wrong with vegetables – you know where they have come from, there aren’t any hidden ingredients and they are packed with vitamins and minerals, and best of all they taste great.”
When asked why they think their diets aren’t as healthy as they should be, 33% claim it’s because they have a sweet tooth, while a third simply love to snack.