Chocolate or chips – the ultimate junk food is revealed

11 May 2016

  • Overall more than a quarter of Brits (28%) have named chocolate as their favourite junk food
  • The nation would find chocolate (27%), chips (17%) and crisps (12%) the hardest junk food to give up
  • World Cancer Research Fund is encouraging Brits to ‘Dump the Junk’ in June by giving up their favourite junk food

dumpthejunk

Chocolate is the UK’s favourite junk food (28%) with chips coming in second place (17%), a new survey conducted by World Cancer Research Fund has found[1]. The survey comes as the cancer prevention charity launches its new "Dump the Junk" campaign for Cancer Prevention Week (9-15 May).

The survey has revealed that overall more than a quarter of Brits (27%) have named chocolate as their favourite junk food, with a third (33%) of women picking the sugary snack as their ultimate guilty pleasure. Top of the list for men was chips, with nearly a quarter (23%) naming chips as their favourite junk food. The research also revealed that when it comes to how often Brits are indulging in their naughty nibbles, 86% admitted to eating their favourite junk food up to five times a week.

World Cancer Research Fund has launched its new campaign, Dump the Junk, to encourage people to give up one of their most unhealthy vices, such as eating chocolate, chips or crisps. By taking part in this campaign they hope that people will start to feel the benefits from eating a healthier diet – just in time for the summer - as well as raise funds for cancer prevention. Those taking part can ask friends and family to sponsor them, donate the money they save from cutting out their vice or they can pay a fine if they decide to cheat.

Eating too many calories can lead weight gain and evidence from World Cancer Research Fund shows that being overweight or obese increases the risk of 11 common cancers such as bowel and breast cancer. In fact, after not smoking, being a healthy weight is the most important thing a person can do to reduce their cancer risk. Around 25,000 cancer cases could be prevented in the UK every year if everyone was a healthy weight.

Cutting 100 calories from a daily diet, the equivalent of one and a half digestive biscuits, could cumulatively prevent an extra stone in body weight a year.

Sarah Toule, Head of Health Information at World Cancer Research Fund, said:

“Many people don’t realize how much sugar, fat and salt can be found in a lot of the food they eat on a daily basis and it’s not just the usual suspects. These ingredients are particularly bad for us and can lead to people becoming overweight or obese which increases the risk of cancer.

“Our survey showed that over 90% of Brits don’t think that an addiction to sugar is why it’s hard for them to give up their favourite sugary junk food. However, continuously eating sugary food and drinks will gradually lead to a dependency on sugar. So why not Dump the Junk and kick that habit this June?”

World Cancer Research Fund has healthy recipes to try if people need some inspiration swapping some of their usual treats. If you are interested in taking part please visit www.dumpthejunk.org.uk or follow @WCRF_UK on Twitter using the hashtag #DumptheJunk.

Ends

For more information please contact Melanie Purnode on 020 7343 4273/ 07879 483 022

or pr@wcrf.org

Notes to editors:

About World Cancer Research Fund

For the past 25 years, World Cancer Research Fund has been the UK’s leading charity dedicated to the prevention of cancer through diet, weight and physical activity. By funding and supporting research, developing policy recommendations and providing health information, we have ensured that people can make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of developing a preventable cancer. As we look forward to our next 25 years, our scientific research ensures that we will continue to have the latest and most authoritative information at our fingertips, all underpinned by independent expert advice.

Our analysis of global research shows that a third of the most common cancers are preventable through a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity.

For more information follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wcrf_uk, read our blog at http://wcrf-uk.org/uk/blog or visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/wcrfuk

Junk food calorie table

Junk food is usually high in calories and can range from chocolate to pizzas. Below is an approximate calculation of calories found in common high calorie food.

Type of junk food

Number cut over a month

Benefit over a month

Calories cut over a month

Weight lost over a year

Sausage roll

30

Cut over half kilo of fat and 6 teaspoons of salt

9,000

Over 2 stone (14kgs)

Medium pepperoni pizza

4

Save over 7,600

7,600

Nearly 2 stone (11.9kgs)

Crisps

30

Save 7,500 calories

7,500 

Nearly 2 stone (11.6kg)

Ready meals

8

Cut same amount of fat as a block of lard

5,800

Nearly 1.5 stone (9kgs)

Fish & chips

4

Remove 6 teaspoons of salt

4,800

Nearly 1.2 stone (7.5kgs)

Digestive biscuits

45 (1.5 a day)

Cut 3,000 calories

3,000

11 lbs (5kgs)

Chocolate bar

8

Cut 58 teaspoons of sugar

2,000

6.8lbs (3.1kgs)

Fizzy drink

4

Cut over 50 teaspoons of sugar

1,000

3.5 lbs (1.6kgs)

About the survey

The research was undertaken by Atomik Research, using on online sample of 2000 UK National Representative respondents, during 30 April – 2 May 2016, in accordance with MRS guidelines and regulations. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employees MRS certified researchers and abide to MRS code.


[1] The research was undertaken by Atomik Research, using on online sample of 2000 UK National Representative respondents, during 30 April – 2 May 2016, in accordance with MRS guidelines and regulations. Available from World Cancer Research Fund