Doctor says five common snacks could be ruining your health

A doctor has named the five worst foods you could choose to snack on between meals, if you are trying to stay healthy and maintain or lose weight. 87 per cent of people in the Uk admit to snacking between meals, according to a survey from Nestle.

Doctor Deborah Lee, from the Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, told The Express that while 'good snacking' maintains a healthy blood glucose level and can boost nutrition, eating the wrong things will fill you with fat and sugar and can mean you miss out on proper nutrition at meal times.

Dr Lee said some of our favourite snacks are the worst for our bodies. “Unhealthy snacks are those that consist of processed and ultra-processed foods,” Dr Lee said.

“These are foods with a high-calorie content and have little or no nutritional value. However, they are often highly palatable and high in sugar, fat and salt. Common examples of the unhealthiest snacks are crisps, chips, biscuits, cakes, pastries, chocolate, ice cream and desserts.

“Manufacturers produce these foods on purpose to make them taste divine and ensure you want to keep eating them.”

Dr Lee's five worst foods to snack on:

  • Crisps

  • Biscuits

  • Cakes

  • Pastries including sausage rolls

  • Chocolate.

She warned that they can be 'super addictive'. “Research has shown that eating processed and ultra-processed foods stimulates the pleasure centres in the brain in exactly the same way as a shot of cocaine,” she said.

“Sugar leads to the release of dopamine – the happy hormone. Repeatedly eating sugary snacks reinforces the neural pathways, leading to sugar cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It’s vital to break the cycle and stay away from unhealthy sugar addiction.”

Dr Lee recommended picking snacks based on whether they can improve your health – not worsen it. “Snacks should provide only 10 percent of your daily calorie intake,” she said.

“Each snack should only be 150 to 200 calories. Snack on foods that are high in protein, fibre, and whole grains, or fruit and vegetables. Nuts and seeds contain large quantities of health-giving antioxidants.

“Use snacks as a way to get your five-a-day.”

She shared five of the healthiest snacks to eat:

  • Carrot, celery or apple sticks

  • Hummus, cottage cheese, or avocado – spread on whole grain crackers

  • Fruit

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Probiotic yoghurt.

If you are craving something sweet, she added: “Try a sugar-free jelly or two to four squares of dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa solids).”