As people try to stick to a healthy start to 2014, it is 4.12pm when they should most be on their guard, according to research.

The study, carried out for soft fruit campaign Seasonal Berries, found that people are most likely to crave unhealthy food in the afternoon - with the most popular time at 4.12pm.

Just under half of Britons (45%) said afternoon snacking was the main reason they broke their new year diets, while 35% succumbed to the daily afternoon hunger slump, with crisps, biscuits and chocolate named as the biggest downfalls.

The research, conducted by OnePoll for Seasonal Berries, questioned 1,000 men and women in January about their diet failures.

According to the poll, more than half of those questioned (59%) said other people often contributed to their diet failures - more than a third (37%) blamed their partner, while 11% said colleagues forced unhealthy snacks on them.

Just over a quarter (27%) said a lack of flavour in their diet made it harder to eat healthily, while 36% blamed it on seeing other people eat what they want.

The research also suggested that men have more willpower when it comes to diets, with 69% sticking to their healthy eating plan one month on, compared with 63% of women.

It also showed that on average people break their diet five times, with most diets ending at the nine-day mark.

The time most people were likely to break their diet was calculated by asking the 1,000 respondents when they were most likely to snack during the day.

"At this point in the day, blood sugar can be low and cause you to crave sweet treats"

Nutritionist Dora Walsh, Nutriheal Nutrition Clinics

Time ranges were given for people to select between 4pm and 11pm, then the average number was calculated by taking the midpoint of the ranges and the number of people that selected each time range.

Nutritionist Dora Walsh, founder of Nutriheal Nutrition Clinics, said: "Sticking to a diet for some people can be tricky, and understanding that 4.12pm is the time people crave sweet and unhealthy snacks means that you should be prepared for this so you don't ruin a diet plan.

"At this point in the day, blood sugar can be low and cause you to crave sweet treats but doing things like eating little and often throughout the day and having pre-prepared snacks can help.

"Snacking on fruits like berries is easy as they are very versatile and also easy to snack on. Berries are tasty, easy to eat and will curb those hunger pangs and get you through the afternoon without breaking your diet or feeling guilty.

"They are very low in sugar and calories and are highly nutritious - just one cup of berries counts as one of your five a day. Their health benefits are numerous and diverse so I always advise my clients to eat berries to curb their hunger pangs, keep the weight off and maximize their health."

The research comes after England-wide data this week revealed that three-quarters of people in some parts of the country are overweight or obese.

A spokeswoman for Seasonal Berries, which is funded by British Summer Fruits, said: "Eating healthily shouldn't feel like a chore and it is possible to make healthy dishes taste great.

"Berries are very versatile and can be incorporated into recipes or eaten alone as a snack. They are also naturally sweet so they will also help with food cravings in the afternoon."