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Our new poll reveals why fad diets should be avoided in 2020


With almost three in four Brits admitting to quitting their health kick in 2019, we urge the public to avoid quick fixes and focus on implementing sustainable lifestyle changes instead this year.

New year, new diet

Creating January resolutions has long been a tradition for people all over the world, with many regarding the start of the new year as the perfect time to hit the reset button and start afresh with a new lifestyle.

In fact, nearly a quarter of those surveyed in our most recent poll believe there is no better time to start a health kick, with more than half of the nation preparing to diet in January and more than 3 in 10 planning to start exercising. 

However, the revelation that almost three in four people quit at least one attempt to stick to a health kick in 2019 raises serious questions over the UK’s attitude towards dieting and exercising. 

Fad diets and extreme exercise regimes are not sustainable 

Christmas is a period of overindulgence, and your weight is likely to fluctuate as a result. Our poll showed that nearly 7 in 10 people admitted to gaining an average of 7lbs over the holidays, making it clear why many January resolutions tend to revolve around achieving fitness and weight based targets. 

You may want to lose the extra weight as fast as possible, but our findings show that it can take nearly three months for diets to return back to their pre-Christmas pattern. This highlights the need for a focus on longevity when planning your 2020 health kick, and further underlines the false claims behind so-called ‘quick fixes’ and fad diets. 

Extreme dieting and exercising regimes can lead to the formation or return of bad habits, and can even delay your attempts to get back on track. We therefore urge you to approach any lifestyle change in a healthy and sustainable way, to ensure these changes stick in the long term. Download our new strategy here (PDF, 4.2MB)

Emma Elvin, Senior Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK, said:

“Sustainable weight loss for many people is 1-2 pounds a week, and while we tend to lose more at the beginning of a diet, this will largely be water.

It is important any diet is safe, and helps people keep the weight off in the long term. Getting support from a healthcare professional, your family or friends can really help to keep you on track.”

Dan Howarth, Head of Care at Diabetes UK, said: 

"We know the rising rates of obesity is putting people at risk of type 2 diabetes. But faddy dieting is not the answer.

There is no one-size-fits all approach to dieting - what works for you, might not work for another - so it is important that diets are personalised to lifestyle, and that they are balanced and sustainable.

Whatever diet you decide to follow, try to include more vegetables, fruit and wholegrains, and eat less processed meat, refined carbohydrates, and sugars. Also try increasing your activity - it doesn’t have to be burpees and marathons, but simply upping your step count will help you achieve your goals"

These results come off the back of recent figures which show the number of people who are obese in England has almost doubled in the last 20 years. As obesity accounts for 85% of your risk of type 2 diabetes - action could potentially see more than half of all cases prevented or delayed. 

Learn more about weight loss and diabetes

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