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Intermittent fasting hugely popular in the US now
Published on: Friday, November 11, 2022
By: ETX Daily Up, FMT
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Intermittent fasting is currently the most popular diet in the US, a new survey reveals. (Envato Elements pic)
PARIS: Getting in shape and losing the extra pounds gained during the holiday season are some of the classic New Year’s resolutions people make every Jan 1.

People turn to the diets of the moment to trim their figure in anticipation of the summer season and the return to the beach.

But this seems to be something of a myth – or just about – because diets no longer seem to be a typically post-holiday affair, according to a new study conducted by ‘Within Health’ among 900 Americans.

More than four in ten respondents (44%) are currently on a diet, despite the festive season being just around the corner – or maybe because it is.

And these do not appear to be (very) long-term diets, since more than half of dieters (56%) say they started three months ago or less, i.e., right after the summer.

Note that women are more numerous than men in reporting being on a diet (47% vs. 41%), as seen in previous such surveys.

Intermittent fasting is most popular

Currently, Americans swear by intermittent fasting, which involves alternating periods of eating with periods of fasting, spread over set time periods.

The study shows that the low-carbohydrate diet is in second place for popularity, ahead of clean eating, vegetarianism and the ketogenic diet, which involves favouring fats over carbohydrates.

Interestingly – and curiously – the rankings differ when it comes to the most popular diets people have tried.

The low-carbohydrate diet comes at the top of the list (tried by 41% of respondents), followed by intermittent fasting (37%), clean eating (25%), keto (24%) and vegetarianism (23%).

This difference could be explained by the constraints imposed by the most ‘effective’ diets in the eyes of the Americans, which might affect their ability to keep them up long term.

“If any diet programme worked, the diet industry would go out of business,” says Katie Piel, primary therapist at Within Health.

She adds: “Dieting is also a major predictor of weight gain. Most people who lose a significant amount of body weight will gain the weight back ‘plus tax,’ because the body perceives weight loss as starvation and will drive its set-point higher to protect against perceived famine.”

Health above all

Sculpting one’s body, or trying to achieve certain beauty stereotypes, are not among the priorities of Americans when they start a diet.

While some are looking to improve their appearance (44%), the majority want to protect their health (58%). But it is also a question of gaining energy (36%) and confidence (31%), and reducing the risk of disease (25%).

The fact remains that the gaze and influence of others remain motivating factors for dieting.

The study reveals that more than three in ten Americans (31%) have felt pressured to diet because of social media, 28% felt pressured by a family member and 14% felt pressured by a friend.

Note that nearly a quarter of the sample (23%) said they learned about a diet from an influencer.

Last but not least, the survey found that dieting is not without risk, or at least without consequence.

More than four in ten (44%) Americans who have gone on a diet have experienced at least one symptom of an eating disorder in the past, including lack of energy (43%), sleep problems (37%), feeling depressed (34%), low self-esteem (31%), and digestive problems (25%).

This finding is a reminder of the need to consult a health professional in case of long-term dieting.

The study also shows that 27% of respondents started a diet at the request of their doctor, and that a third of them believe that they are healthier since this diet.





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