LONDON — If the old saying “you are what you eat” holds true, adults these days change quite a lot. A new survey of 2,000 British citizens finds that the average adult will try an unbelievable 126 fat diets over the course of their life. That means at least two new diets each and every year.
The research, commissioned by Love Fresh Berries, identified the Atkins diet as the most common meal plan tried out by respondents. The top five most popular fad diets also included the 5:2 diet (intermittent fasting), the cabbage soup diet, a keto diet, and a juice cleanse.
Oftentimes, people don’t actually stick to these diets for very long; fad diets are usually abandoned after an average of just six days. Over half of respondents (52%) also said they are “really confused” about which of these fad diets are sustainable over long periods or time, and which are intended for more short-term periods.
Indeed, the survey definitely makes it clear that a lack of understanding and readily available information is a major problem when it comes to fad dieting. In all, one in five respondents said that they have no idea where to go for reliable dietary information, and more than half are “baffled” regarding which foods should and shouldn’t be cut out of their eating habits.
Here’s a head scratcher: Nearly one third of respondents actually said that they believe it’s healthier to eat less fruits.
“January tends to be the month when people embark on fad diets as a quick fix. However, we know that it isn’t a sustainable or even healthy approach,” comments Love Fresh Berries chairman Nick Marston in a statement. “Instead, nutritionists advise that we follow evidence-based nutritional advice and look for a well-balanced diet that does not cut out any food groups. Incorporating lots of fruit and vegetables is important, including berries as they have many important nutritional benefits.”
When respondents are in search of an “emergency diet,” nearly half said their first move is to consult Google. Meanwhile, 10% admitted they usually just follow their favorite celebrity’s go-to diet. Another 15% turn to social media and self-help books. Perhaps most noteworthy, only 27% said they would consult a qualified physician.
We all have our reasons for wanting to get in shape or shed those pesky few extra pounds, and when respondents were asked why they diet, the top reason given was simply wanting to be more satisfied when looking in the mirror (24%). Other reasons included preparing for a holiday or vacation (21%) or getting ready for a big event (18%).
Of all of the survey’s findings, some of what respondents said they would be willing to do to lose weight were among the most bizarre. For example, 16% said they would drink 12 glasses of lemon juice everyday if it meant they would lose weight, and one in 20 would eat a tapeworm!
Other odd strategies respondents said they would be willing to try were eating ice everyday, drinking olive oil between meals, and eating baby food.
Over the course of all these diets, many adults end up cutting out essential food groups, which is of course unsustainable. Especially since the average adult experiences five food cravings each day. On that note, when respondents were asked why these diets never seem to stick, the most popular answer was “I love food too much.” Another quarter said that eating and drinking is an essential part of their social life.
Chocolate, bread, and pasta were listed as the top foods too delicious to quit, while one in 10 respondents also said they can’t go too long without some fruit juice and bananas.
Many respondents also said they’ve had to quit certain fad diets due to adverse health effects. Many listed fatigue (21%), weakness (29%), and headaches (26%) as common health problems they’ve experienced while dieting.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.