One in six young people eat fast food twice a day, according to a survey of the nation’s eating habits.
The BBC Good Food Nation Survey found that most people ate fast food on average two days per week.
But in the 16 to 20-year-old category, one in six ate fast food at least twice a day, with one in eight among 21 to 34-year-olds eating as frequently.
The study of more than 5,000 people found that half of them thought “a meal isn’t a meal without meat”.
However, the same proportion were unaware of how much meat is a recommended daily amount.
The Department of Health advises an average of no more than 70g per day, which is the equivalent of two-and-a-half rashers of bacon.
But nearly one in four people thought the recommended amount of meat was at least double that.
The survey found that a fifth of men (21%), and 32% of 16 to 21-year-old men and women, ate meat at least three times a day.
The typical adult now eats meat at least twice a day and has only six meat-free days a month.
Christine Hayes, brand editorial director of BBC Good Food, said it showed it was “easy to be confused about the amount of meat one can enjoy while still eating a healthy, balanced diet”.
She added: “Those who do eat meat can still cook a Sunday roast and eat the occasional steak when balanced with some meat-free dishes.”
Social media influence
The survey found that two in five people aged 21 to 34-year-olds had posted a photo of a meal they had cooked, on social networking sites such as Instagram.
A third had posted a photo of a meal they had eaten in a restaurant.
And almost one in three have been inspired to cook a meal after seeing a photo on social media.
Also, 43% in that age group used the internet on their mobile phones to find a recipe while 26% will follow a video recipe on their phone.
The same proportion of people were influenced by YouTube when purchasing food.
Among the other findings of the survey, more than a quarter of adults always or almost always skipped eating breakfast.
When it came to the 21 to 34-year-old age group, one in four said they missed breakfast most of the time.
This age group was also the one most likely to skip eating lunch.
However they were the generation most likely to exercise regularly, with 86% claiming they did so.
The 21 to 34-year-olds were also the age group most likely to be vegetarian (15%) or vegan (7%).
And they were also the age group least likely to be concerned about fat content when buying food (18%), while only half considered the issue of quality when choosing food.
The survey found only 6% of young people were satisfied with their current eating habits.