The facts about snacking

Find out more about snacking and how it can affect you and your children's future health.

In Scotland, half of all the sugar we eat comes from treats, like biscuits, crisps, cakes, sweets and sugary drinks. Nearly half of adults in Scotland know they’re eating too many treats every day and most of us know about the impact being overweight or obese can have on our health. However, as our ads show, we're so used to treating ourselves and our children with unhealthy snacks we often don't think about how it might affect our future.

Over the years it’s become normal to eat between meals, and to reward ourselves with high-sugar, high-fat foods. This means we’re often filling up on the ‘bad’ stuff and leaving little room for the ‘good.’ For more information about a healthy diet take a look at The Eatwell Guide.

Snack Facts

  • 65% of Scots are overweight or obese. We need to think about what, when and how we eat to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Most people in Scotland (85%) know that an unhealthy diet can cause lots of health problems, like some cancers, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • 87% of people in Scotland with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
  • Three-quarters of us agree that there are too many people who eat unhealthily in Scotland, and over 85% agree that an unhealthy diet can cause many health problems.
  • Making healthier choices when out and about is hard too, with around 50% of us finding it difficult to eat healthily when outside the home.
  • Having too many unhealthy snacks, like biscuits, cakes, pastries, confectionery, crisps and sugary drinks can over time affect our health. They contribute around a fifth of the calories and fat we eat, and almost half the sugar. However, these foods and drinks are simply not needed as they offer very little nutritional value - we should try to eat these types of foods only very occasionally and in small amounts.

Thinking about what we're drinking

  • Staying properly hydrated is really important and it’s recommended we drink between 6 and 8 glasses of liquid a day such as water, lower fat milk, tea, coffee, or other sugar free drinks etc.
  • Because we need to drink so much, what we choose to drink can have a big impact on our diet so we need to try and make healthy choices.
  • While fruit juices and smoothies do count towards 5 a day, they’re still high in sugar so don’t have more than 150ml a day.
  • Sugary drinks and hot drinks with added sugar or syrup contain lots of calories and sugar, and adding cream means extra fat. Make sure the bulk of what you’re drinking is sugar and fat free! Sometimes when we feel hungry between meals, we’re actually just thirsty!
  • If you like to drink sugary soft drinks try swapping to the sugar-free version.

What you can do:

Get practical help on our Drop it, Swap it, Share it pages, which are full of small changes with lifelong benefits for you and your family. You could start by dropping a snack a day to kickstart change – find out more on our 'Drop it' page.

If after viewing the campaign and reading these facts you have further questions or concerns about your or your family's diet, explore the NHS choices website – or see your GP for more help, support and guidance.

More on this topic

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Managing health issues

The food you eat can make a big difference to your wellbeing.

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Helpful information

There’s a whole world of help out there to make changing snacking habits much easier – from inspiration for things to eat to mobile apps.

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Practical help - Drop it, Swap it, Share it

Here you can explore how people across Scotland have been dropping snacks, swapping them for healthier options, and sharing their experiences with friends and family.

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