Food by VICE

Apparently Brits Spend 34 Days a Year Thinking About Food

According to a new study, Brits spend an average of two hours and 13 minutes every day thinking about hunger and meal choices, which adds up to 34 days each year.

by Phoebe Hurst
Sep 28 2015, 12:09pm

Photo via Flickr user Zhu

You wake up and thoughts turn to breakfast.

It's only natural, you haven't eaten for seven hours and sleeping is hungry work. Then come the decisions over toast or muesli, coffee now or later on? As the clock edges towards 11.30, it's a reasonable time to start thinking about lunch. Would it be too decadent to order pad Thai on a Tuesday? How many calories are in a BLT?

As you finally settle with one hand wrapped around a hoisin duck wrap, the other scrolls through Instagram, deciding what to eat for dinner.

Men supposedly think about sex every seven seconds but have you ever thought about how much you actually think about food? Probably not, because you're too busy thinking about whether to pop out and buy a Kit Kat before dinner.

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According to a new study, Brits spend an average of two hours and 13 minutes every day thinking about hunger and meal choices, which adds up to 34 days each year. So that's basically a solid month of slack-jawed fantasising about the chicken wings you ate last weekend and wondering if you have enough Sriracha left for tonight's stir fry.

The poll of 2000 people was carried out by Weight Watchers UK (we see what you're doing there, multinational weight loss organisation) and found that thoughts of avoiding comfort food, looking for a sugar hit, and deciding whether something is healthy or not are the top mental conundrums weighing on British minds.

The study's results also claim that Brits start thinking about food at 8.55 AM each day, while potential lunch options infiltrate our brains at 10.33 AM. We apparently start mulling over our evening meal at 1.03 PM (nothing says millennial mindfulness like eating one meal and thinking about the next one.)

In what will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever shared a desk with a lunch box commentator ("Oh you're having egg sandwiches again today?"), Weight Watchers also found that 76 percent of adults say that they chat about food regularly throughout the day, with snack cravings and deciding what to eat next being favourite convo topics.

The study found that all this food-related thinking leads Brits to say "I'm hungry" an average of four times a day, and four in ten adults admit to trying to cut back on the snack chat.

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This apparent food obsession comes as no surprise to neuroscientist Dr. Jack Lewis, who partnered with Weight Watchers for the study. He commented: "Food has been one of life's central pleasures across the world and through the ages. However our busy and chaotic modern lives leave us overloaded with information and emotionally overwhelmed, causing our brains to lose discipline over simple decisions relating to what we eat."

While humans may have been thinking about what to have for tea since man gathered his first berries, the study also suggests that the rise in food imagery, not just our working hours, has changed the way we think about food. Over half of respondents to the survey claimed that the abundance of "food porn" transmitted via social media sites and advertising had caused them to spend more time thinking about what they eat.

Blame it on the proliferation of food photography in an over-saturated media landscape if you want, but we know the only way you get through your Monday morning accounts meeting is by thinking about the chocolate croissant you're going to cram down immediately after.

Weight Loss
Weight Watchers