Earlier, we used to spend a whole hour for lunch but now most of us are so stressed by modern life that we have little time to sit down and enjoy a meal.
According to a survey conducted for French cheese specialist President, Britons are now under so much pressure at home and at work that they spend just 39 minutes a day eating.
AdvertisementFor many, the lunch hour has given way to a quick sandwich at the desk - which is forced down in an average of just 12 minutes and 49 seconds.
Breakfast is an even quicker affair, lasting only 7 minutes and 20 seconds. And dinner takes just 19 minutes - making a total of 39 minutes and nine seconds a day for meals.
Half of us are so busy that we sometimes skip lunch altogether, with women more likely to do so than men.
Eating has become a purely functional routine for three-quarters of adults, who scoff food so quickly they cannot enjoy it or appreciate the taste.
And almost half, 45 percent, are so distracted by other tasks while eating that they do not notice if they are full, merely eating until they are finished.
But it seems the quick meals are forced on us by circumstances rather than choice, the survey found.
"We now live in a very food-orientated society, where food documentaries, celebrity chefs and cook books have never been more prolific," the Daily Mail quoted psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson, from President, as saying.
"However, our study shows Britons are not taking the time to properly enjoy their meals.
"It is so important to take the time to taste and appreciate food, as this has an effect on our emotional and physical well-being and can affect our productivity," added Woolfson.