The study asked 2,000 nationally representative Americans about their past experiences with dieting and their plans for 2021.
Seven in ten respondents also said that diets that required strict rules never really work for them – and 53% said that a fashionable diet is always intimidating.
[Inforgraphic at the end of this article]
Half of those surveyed also said they often encounter yo-yo when dieting – losing weight quickly only to gain weight again after quitting the diet.
The survey carried out by OnePoll on behalf of the Zero Fasting App found that six out of ten respondents will refuse to go on a diet in 2021.
The main reason these respondents toss their diets out the window is simply because they are too restrictive.
Thirty-nine percent of those who don’t plan on dieting this year said diets simply aren’t a sustainable way to make long-term changes.
The survey also asked respondents to share the most common problems they faced while dieting, and found that those with the highest diet restriction struggled to cut out junk food.
Other problems included counting calories (42%), limiting carbohydrate intake (37%), and weighing food (29%).
The majority of respondents surveyed (approximately 1,500) had tried a fashion diet in the past (based on a given list) – and the best thing they would have done differently was to talk to a nutritionist or dietitian (46%).
Four out of ten regrets that they had not researched the science behind the diet they were following and had not spoken to their doctor.
Looking at all of their previous experiences, almost three quarters of respondents would like to focus more holistically on their health instead of going on a diet in the future.
Seven out of ten respondents also said they want to improve their metabolic health in 2021.
“We’re excited that so many Americans are looking to improve their metabolic health,” said Mike Maser, CEO of Big Sky Health – the developers of the Zero Fasting app. “Thanks to science, fasting is a great tool for improving metabolic health because, among many other benefits, it can lower blood pressure, increase insulin resistance, improve the quality of sleep.”
Nearly six in ten respondents (58%) have tried intermittent fasting at some point in their lives – and the main benefits they wanted are better metabolic health and metabolism (both at 38%), as well as more energy and mental clarity (both) at 37%).
Over half of all respondents said that intermittent fasting can be a sustainable practice that they could incorporate into their lifestyle.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they were at least reasonably aware that intermittent fasting could have benefits beyond weight loss.
As respondents plan the year and their health decisions, small steps might be the way to go.
Seven out of ten respondents said they instantly felt more secure just making one healthy decision a day – an average increase of 41%.
The easiest healthy decision that respondents see as a win was to opt for water instead of a sugary drink, a full eight hours of sleep, and just eat a salad.
“As we saw in the survey results, diets tend to be too restrictive and not a long-term solution to achieving overall body health,” added Maser. “Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult – as we’ve seen in the zero community, it’s often so easy to make one small change at a time.”
IMMEDIATE HEALTHY DECISIONS
Drinking water instead of sugary drinks – 44%
Getting 8 hours of sleep – 37%
Eat salad – 34%
Exercise daily for 20-30 minutes – 32%
Opt for a side salad instead of fries – 30%
Mental clarity / no more brain fog – 28%
Drink a green juice / smoothie – 28%
Eat a piece of fruit – 25%
Add fruit to the water – 24%
Taking a vitamin – 24%
10,000 steps per day – 21%
Make dinner instead of ordering – 20%
Take the stairs instead of the elevator – 20%
No desert – 16%
Drink lemon water – 16%
Purchase of a refillable / reusable water bottle – 16%
Drinking an herbal tea instead of coffee – 13%
Touching toes – 13%
Drink diet soda – 13%
Put on chapstick – 11%
Drink coffee without coffee – 10%
Drink Kombucha – 9%
Wear blue light glasses – 9%
TOP DIETING RESTRICTIONS THAT MAKE THIS DIFFICULT
Cut out junk food – 44%
Calorie Counting – 42%
Cut / Limit Carbohydrates – 37%
Ingredient-based diets (Whole30, Atkins, Keto, etc.) – 30%
Weigh your food – 29%
High protein intake – 21%