Fad diets often make promises that seem too good to be true, and their claims usually are extremely unrealistic. Put simply, this is a type of diet that claims you will be able to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. So, it’s no wonder that a large number of people decide to try a new fad diet whenever they come across it.
A fad diet might seem like a great idea on the surface, but once you start to analyze it, you begin to realize that there are quite a few problems to consider. For example, these eating plans typically include rules about eliminating certain foods, or even entire food groups, from your diet. Or, they might require that you eat the same foods every day for a certain period of time. This may result in your body missing out on important nutrients that are needed for overall health and wellness.
What are some interesting statistics regarding these restrictive diets and eating plans? Below are some stats that showcase the popularity, as well as the drawbacks, of fad diets.
- Experts estimate that 45 million Americans go on a diet every year, and half of them turn to fad diets.5
- A survey discovered that around 40% of people had tried a fad diet to shed pounds at one time or another.8
- A poll found that the average individual will end up trying a total of 126 fad diets throughout their life.7
- The average individual will go on at least two fad diets annually.7
- Many people make a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, so it should come as no surprise that most individuals tend to start a fad diet in January in an effort to quickly lose weight.7
General Diet Stats Show Most People Are Confused About Healthy Eating
A surprising number of people go on diets every year, and many do so multiple times a year in an effort to shed excess weight. Here are some fascinating stats surrounding diets in general, before we dive into fad diet stats, in particular.
- The majority (95%) of diets are only temporarily effective because most people who go on them end up gaining back the weight they lost, usually within one to five years.1
- On average, $33 billion is spent annually by Americans to buy products that are designed to help with weight loss.2
- Every year, roughly 45 million people in the United States try a diet.2
- During a poll, at least 52% of people stated that they were confused about diets, particularly when it came to which ones are sustainable. And 1/5 of them weren’t sure where to go for accurate information.7
Stats About Fad Diets: A Lot of People Try These Unhealthy Eating Plans
There are plenty of diets to choose from, but fad diets seem to grab people’s attention easily because they promise incredible results. Here is some information on what fad diets are all about, and the popularity of following a diet program when attempting to slim down.
- Common fad diets include liquid diets, raw food diets, and high-fat, low-carb eating plans like the Ketogenic and Paleo diets.2
- Fad diets are meant to be short-term eating plans because they aren’t sustainable and might cause nutritional deficiencies. They also usually involve cutting calories by a large amount as well, which might not be safe or healthy.2
- In 2017, a survey of Australians between the ages of 18 and 64 found that around 46% of them had tried losing weight in the past year, and around 47% spent money on a diet program or on a particular diet.6
Fad Diets Are Largely Ineffective
Although a lot of people—including some celebrities—might talk about them quite often, fad diets aren’t all that effective when it comes to actually keeping the weight off. Sure, you might lose several pounds surprisingly quickly when you go on a fad diet, but the key is to avoid regaining that weight in the long run. After all, a truly successful diet will help you achieve long-term results. Unfortunately, fad diets fall short in this area.
- Around 65% of the individuals who follow a fad diet to completion will experience weight gain again, essentially undoing the results of their efforts because they’ll regain what they lost.1
- Fad diets leave people wanting more, to the point that average American adults try fad diets four times annually.1
- Fad diets are often abandoned after six days.7
The Drawbacks of Fad Diets
While a fad diet might help you lose some weight in a fairly short span of time, the drawbacks may outweigh the benefits. And experts usually advise against following these diets long-term. Here are some of the problems that might arise from following this type of weight loss plan.
- When following a fad diet, symptoms like confusion, changes in mood, dizziness, muscle cramps, fainting, diarrhea, constipation, and dehydration might occur.3
- These diets often restrict your calorie intake to a mere 800 calories or less per day, and this may be detrimental to your health and energy level.4
- Although fad diets will usually make big promises, such as helping you shed more than 2 pounds weekly, they aren’t sustainable.4
Overall, fad diets and other restrictive eating plans don’t teach you how to make long-term lifestyle and dietary changes to lose the weight and keep it off. These diets might come with the risk of nutritional deficiencies, low energy levels, and other side effects, and they typically only provide short-term changes. Once you go back to eating normally again, the odds are that you’ll gain the weight right back, so it’s worth thinking twice before adopting this type of diet.