The facts about snacking

In Scotland, half of all the sugar we eat comes from treats, like biscuits, 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

Overweight or obese

  • 65% of Scots are overweight or obese, but 75% believe they have a healthy or very health diet. 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.
  • Just over half of us (51%) know we need to do something to eat more healthily, and 4 out of 10 people know they eat too many ‘treats’ like cakes, biscuits, chocolates or sweets every day.
  • Around three-quarters of us (74%) agree that there are too many people who eat unhealthily in Scotland, and over 80% are concerned about the amount of sugar, salt, fat and/or saturated fat in food.
  • 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 to drink between 6 and 8 glasses of liquid a day such as water, tea, coffee, 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.

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.