'I'm a doctor - here are the five snacks you should avoid between meals'

Woman sitting at home and having some food in morning.
A doctor recommended five snacks that can both curb your hunger and provide a boost to your health -Credit:Getty

A doctor has revealed the five snacks that you should be avoiding in between meals as they not good for your health.

In a Nestle survey conducted in 2023, 87 per cent of Brits admitted that they snacked every single day, reports the Express. The research showed that the most popular snacks were chocolate (63 per cent) then crisps (57 per cent) and cakes (45 per cent).

More than half of Brits (57.5 per cent) said that they replaced a meal with snacks at least once a week. It is important to make sure you aren't going hungry during the day but snacking on certain foods might be harming your health.

One expert spoke to the Express about some of the best and worst snacks you can choose to eat for your overall health.

Doctor Deborah Lee, from the Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, said that there are actually quite a lot of positives to snacking. The expert said that snacking can help curb hunger in between meals as well as restore blood sugar levels and "gives an additional opportunity for nutrition".

However, too much snacking can "curb your appetite and can result in skipping meals". The doctor added that snacking on foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt can result in cravings and reinforces unhealth eating patterns.

The worst snacks you can eat for your health

A doctor warned of the health risks of snacking on crisps -Credit:Getty

Dr Lee said that some of our favourite snacks - as noted in the Nestle survey - are actually the ones that are worst for our bodies. The five worst snacks we can eat are:

  • Crisps

  • Biscuits

  • Cakes

  • Pastries including sausage rolls

  • Chocolate

Dr Lee said: "Unhealthy snacks are those that consist of processed and ultra-processed foods. 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."

The doctor also warned that these foods can be super addictive to avid snackers. She said: "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.

"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."

The best snacks you can eat for your health

Close up of a girls hands eating nuts.
Nuts are a healthy snack -Credit:Getty

Dr Lee's general rule for snacks is to pick them based on whether they can improve your health and not impact it in a negative way.

She said: "Snacks should provide only 10 percent of your daily calorie intake. 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."

Dr Lee's five healthiest snacks include the following:

  • Carrot, celery or apple sticks

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

  • Fruit

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Probiotic yoghurt

If you have a sweet tooth then Dr Lee suggested: "Try a sugar-free jelly or two to four squares of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa solids)."

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