Why 'diet' is a dirty word

When it comes to a diet, 3-in-4 Brits admit they feel depressed, sad or stressed just from hearing the word, with 75% also admitting they feel embarrassed sharing that they are on one. 

With 81% of the country admitting to having been on a diet (87% women, 75% men), and over half (55%) starting one in January, it’s hardly surprising that a new diet seems to be launched on almost a daily basis.

Keto, paleo, DASH, low carb, high protein, high fat - the list goes on. Whatever the diet du jour, the end goal remains the same - losing or maintaining weight through a calorie or food group restriction. With this being listed as the Google definition of a diet, why then is the ‘D’ word so regularly avoided?

Regardless of what we call it or the plan we follow, 72% of us admit we struggle to maintain a healthy weight. 93% of Brits who have tried dieting admit to failing and 80% of these claim this has put them off trying again.

The main reasons for diet failure?

  • Inability to resist junk food (39%) 
  • Always feeling hungry (39%) 
  • Comfort eating due to feeling sad (38%) 

It’s not just industry brands that are ditching the ‘D’ word, consumers are boycotting it too. New stats unveiled by leading intermittent fasting brand LighterLife Fast reveal that only 29% of Brits will say they are on a diet, with the other 71% preferring to refer to it as a “health kick”, “healthy eating regime”, “clean eating regime” or “mindful eating”.

  • 82% of the country have been on a diet
  • 75% of people admit they’ve felt embarrassed telling people they’re on a diet
  • Over half the country (55%) start a healthy eating plan in January
  • 74% of Brits admit feeling depressed, sad or stressed from hearing the word ‘diet’
  • 93% of the population who’ve tried dieting admit to failing

With the reasons behind quitting a diet alluding to the fact that consumers are either restricting themselves too much or turning to food without thinking, it’s clear more help and support is needed. A diet can be used to help lose weight but in order to maintain this weight loss, it needs to be teamed with a lifestyle change, embedding positive new habits into our lives.

LighterLife Fast has commissioned this research as part of a wider campaign to delve into the nation’s dieting habits, encouraging more consumers to change their dieting approach and supporting the notion that mindful eating and intermittent fasting is the most positive and successful method to lose weight - and keep it off.  

With 87% of the UK admitting they have eaten food without being aware they are doing it, resulting in additional calorie consumption impacting personal weight goals, its clear mindless eating is part of the problem. This is emphasised further by 70% of those surveyed stating that they enjoyed food more and ate less when they were fully focussed on what they were eating.

Mindful eating is a lifestyle change, not a diet. It encourages consumers to be in the moment when they are eating, focussing on what is in front of them. This brings focus back to portion control, food groups and flavours on a plate, whilst also encouraging consumers to listen to their bodies and determine when they are genuinely hungry or actually full.

By combining LighterLife Fast’s “Fast Philosophy”, which includes consuming four LighterLife Fast products, providing 100% RDA of vitamins and minerals for the body, for two or three days per week, and mindfully eating two 300kcal meals along with snacks and a meal of choice on the other four or five “smart” days, consumers can lose or maintain their weight easily and efficiently.

Rob Rona, Director of New Markets, Products and Services at LighterLife Fast comments:Regardless of how it is dressed up, the UK is currently filled with diets, and they can be effective in helping us achieve our weight goals. However, fad diets which cut out full food groups or significantly deplete key nutrients are unsustainable and can be unsafe.

It’s time for the nation to take back ownership; if you want to diet, do it, if you want to have a treat meal, eat one - just be mindful of what and why you are eating, rather than just eating for eating’s sake. This approach, teamed with our unique Fast Philosophy, allows consumers to manage their weight successfully whilst still enjoying food and life. It’s a plan that works around you and that means you’re more likely to successfully manage your weight in the long term.”