The way we feel about how we look can fluctuate over time, as can our body shape or clothing sizes. While it’s normal for our bodies to change over time, some may choose to go on a diet in order to feel healthier or lose weight.
At Within Health, they surveyed more than 900 Americans to find out about their experience and history with dieting, and if they feel their diet has ever crossed the line into disordered eating.
“If any diet program (think Noom, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Keto, intermittent fasting, Whole 30, and so forth) worked, the diet industry would go out of business,” says Katie Piel, Primary Therapist at Within Health. “Only 3% of people who diet keep the weight off long term and many of those people engage in eating and exercise behaviors that would be clinically concerning if compared to the behaviors of someone with a diagnosed eating disorder” she adds.
Their survey found almost half (44%) of Americans are currently on a diet, and 80% have been on some sort of diet in the past. Peil says: “A conservative statistic asserts that 20-25% of people who diet will go on to develop full-blown eating disorders, according to NEDA; and more will develop chronic dieting and a disordered relationship with food.”
Most (56%) dieting report being on that diet for 3 months or less. The most popular diet amongst Americans right now is intermittent fasting, followed by a low-carb diet, clean eating, vegetarianism, and then the keto diet.
The most popular diets people have tried are similar – 41% have tried the low-carb diet, 37% practiced intermittent fasting, 25% attempted clean eating, 24% tried keto, and 23% vegetarianism.
“Dieting is also a major predictor of weight gain” Piel adds. “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.”