Americans are turning to trendy diets to lose pandemic pounds


By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Americans in their prime are worried about the pounds they gained during the pandemic and plan to do something about it in the new year, new Harris poll /HealthDay survey results.

Nearly 2 out of every 3 adults in the U.S. (63%) plan to change their diet in 2022, either by eating less or reducing certain foods, according to the survey results.

Adults between the ages of 18 and 44 are most concerned about their health effects pandemic weight gain, according to the results of the survey.

People in that age range are more likely to say they struggle with diet and weight control. They are also more concerned that the impact on their health during a pandemic will affect them for years to come.

“These younger adults are more likely to be employed, and more likely to be parents of children under the age of 18. That probably means those people are more likely to be stressed during a pandemic,” said Harris, vice president of the poll. Kathy Steinberg.

“If you’re an adult who’s 55 or 65, yes, it sucks that you weren’t able to visit family and you were quarantined, but maybe your life hasn’t changed that much in terms of what you do,” Steinberg continued. “While if you’re a parent and you sent kids to school and traveled to work, your whole life has changed.”

Overall, more than 2 in 5 adults (43%) said they gained weight during the pandemic.

Of these, 7 out of 10 (71%) were concerned about the weight they gained, including 1 in 4 (26%) who fully agreed.

A deeper immersion in poll numbers supports Steinberg’s claim that the hectic lives of younger adults increase the likelihood of being stressed due to the health effects of a pandemic.

Stressors are parents who are worried about their health

Employees are more likely to say that the pandemic has made it harder to manage their weight (46% vs. 38% for the unemployed) and that the negative health effects of the pandemic will affect them in the years to come (49% vs. 42%).


Parents of children under the age of 18 had even greater concerns about how the pandemic was detrimental to their weight and health compared to adults without children of that age. It is more likely that:

  • Worry about the long-term negative consequences of a pandemic (55% vs. 41%)
  • Let’s say the pandemic made it harder to manage their weight (53% vs. 37%).
  • She worries that they will ever be able to lose the weight they gained during the pandemic (48% vs. 34%).
  • Now they are fighting harder by sticking to a child than before the pandemic (46% vs. 33%)

“They have busier lives. They have more events in their lives with employment and children, so they just had a lot to deal with during the pandemic,” Steinberg explained. “When you’re trying to manage childcare and work from home, personal health and weight may be what will come to the fore.”

Calorie counting is the most popular diet trend among people who plan to watch what they eat in 2022, the survey showed.

Nearly 20% of all adults plan to count calories in the new year, including 29% of people who tried to diet during a pandemic and 32% of those who plan to do something about their weight in 2022.

Fasting is gaining momentum

According to the survey, about 16% of people plan to try occasional fasting. With occasional fasting, you are only allowed to eat for a certain period of time each day or you must adhere to a limited amount of calories on certain days of the week.

“The most common period we usually see is a 16-hour fasting period that leaves eight hours of eating,” said Caroline Susie, a Dallas-based registered dietitian and national spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Occasional fasting has existed for centuries and is even part of some long-standing religious practices, Susie said in an interview with HealthDay now.

This diet pattern now has its “15 minutes of fame,” Susie said, probably because it’s easier for people to adopt than dieters who require you to exclude carbs, fats, or certain foods.


“What’s nice is he doesn’t tell you what to eat. He tells you when to eat,” Susie said. “If you’re someone who’s not a big fan of the list or what’s in my plan or not in my plan, this might be an option for you.”

However, some respondents in the survey plan to try a more restrictive diet. About 16% plan to try a low-fat diet in 2022, and 15% plan a low-carb diet.

These types of weight loss diets are much harder to adhere to than diet patterns like occasional fasting, said Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, head of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

“If you have to stick to a very strict diet plan 100% of the time, we all know that most people won’t do it for long and won’t enjoy it,” Cheskin said. HealthDay now.

More information

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has more about fad diet.

SOURCES: Kathy Steinberg, Vice President, Harris Poll; Caroline Susie, RDN, LD, Dallas, Texas, and National Spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Lawrence Cheskin, MD, Chair, Nutrition and Food Studies, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.

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