Forget smoking, binge drinking and even drugs, there is a new addiction sweeping the nation – Snackoholism.
We are brought up being told not to snack before mealtimes and we punish children if they take too many trips to the sweet jar – but now it seems that we as adults literally cannot help ourselves doing the same. We have become a nation of snackoholics – indulging in packets of biscuits with our cups of tea, opting for bottomless fizzy drinks at fast food outlets and buying multi-packs of crisps – we literally cannot seem to help ourselves. In a recent survey 4 % of Brits admitted to being addicted to snack foods and finding it almost impossible to quit.
As a nation, the volume of snacks we are consuming has reached staggering proportions. Our current snack of choice is crisps with 61% of Brits admitting to eating at least one packet of crisps per day – some of us eating our way through as many as six packets per day. This equates to a colossal 48 million + packets of crisps being consumed every day by the adult population. This is in addition to the 45 million chocolate bars and 78 million biscuits and cake.
As a cause of this addiction, our medical staff are worried that we will see a major deterioration in people’s health as well as having an impact of our day to day behaviour. Reports show that 12% of us would rather snack on our favourite foods than have sex with our partner and 6% of us even admit snacking in bed after midnight. Public surveys also revealed that many of us have a distorted view on what constitutes a snack itself – with some of us classing a whole size pizza or a burger and chips as a snack rather than a meal – no wonder we are approaching an obesity crisis.
The media are never shy about highlighting this problem. In 2011, the Guardian published a shocking article about a 31 year old woman whose diet consisted solely of crisps, and had done for the past 10 years. After a childhood of being a fussy eater, her adult diet plummeted and consisted of her only eating packets of monster munch and walkers. She named herself the ‘connoisseur of crisps’. The only time she would attempt at eating other foods was when her family who force her too – even then it was only ever a morsel of bread and a bite of plain chicken.
American film maker Morgan Spurluck had his shot at highlighting the snacking/obesity epidemic in 2004 when he took on a 30 day challenge of only eating food sold of McDonalds. The independent film documents this lifestyle’s drastic effect on Spurlock’s physical and mental well-being and explores the fast food industry’s encouragement of poor nutrition.
So why do we do it? Have we adapted our brains to being so weak in saying no to foods that we know will do us no good? These figures show that we really can’t have our cake and eat it too!