While only 2.3 per cent take a full hour for lunch, 25 per cent of workers are not taking any time out at all. The average break workers have away from the desk for lunch is 40 minutes.
Women are particularly likely to sacrifice their lunch breaks and often claim that they are too busy to eat, have tight deadlines or work better by skipping lunch.
They usually preferred to stay deskbound and eat lunch without going out, or they chose to miss lunch and snack throughout the day.
But such driven dedication takes its toll, according to the author of the report, the psychologist Dr Pam Spurr, who said that not taking a lunch break was a recipe for rising stress levels and a higher number of working days lost due to stress-related illness.
Dr Spur said: "Young women in the workplace are feeling the pressure to perform regardless of the consequences to their emotional and physical well-being.
"This is borne out by the finding that women are taking twice as many days off attributed to their stress levels as men.
"Although some stress improves performance, not taking a proper lunch break, in which they can recharge their batteries and clear their minds, could be part of the vicious cycle leading to stress-induced days off."
A quarter of the women believed that stress had also affected their job performance, she said.
The survey, for the drink-makers Robinsons, found that businesses in Greater London felt the effects of stress-related illness more than any other part of the country, with 20 per cent of people saying they missed days because of stress.
In total, 76 per cent of the 500 working people aged between 18 and 45 who were interviewed nationally for the report admitted to taking their frustration out on colleagues and owned up to being short-tempered when under pressure.
But while the majority of people across the country take deep breaths to calm down, Londoners are the most likely to reach for the cigarettes to ease the pressure.Reuse content