Do you live in a dieting nation? Bupa Global research reveals dieting trends around the world


New research by Bupa Global has revealed that whilst health and wellbeing is an increasing priority for people around the world, many of us are turning to short-term diets to get healthy.

  • New research by Bupa Global examines diets around the world – with the French the most diet-averse, in comparison to the Chinese
  • People from Mexico last the longest on diets on average, compared with those in Egypt
  • The Juice Diet is the most popular diet globally, followed by the Detox Diet and being vegan

The research, which paints a picture of health and wellbeing trends globally, surveyed 8,000 people worldwide. It found that whilst people are taking regular steps to maintain their wellbeing such as upping their fruit and vegetable intake (67%) and making home-made foods (58%,) short term fixes are at the fore – likely due to the popularity of cleanses and fasts.

The research found that two thirds of people around the world (65%) have been on at least one diet in the past five years. Comparing this globally, this increased to four in five (81%) Chinese respondents, two thirds (66%) of people in the UK, and 72% of people in Mexico.

By contrast, as a nation, the French are the most diet-averse, with half (50%) saying they haven't tried a diet in the past five years. And those in Egypt are similarly inclined, as just 42% have dieted in the same time period.

The research found that most diets are not sustainable. On average, dieters last just 88 days, although the frequency and duration of maintaining a diet varies across different countries. People from Mexico overall stuck to their diets for the longest, on average 105 days, compared with those in Egypt, who lasted almost half the time (68 days.)

Overall, people who tried the Weightwatchers Diet™ (104 days) and those who went vegan (103 days) committed to these plans for the longest. More short-term diets included the Juice Diet (93 days) and the Paleo diet (76 days), although interestingly the Chinese lasted a record 152 days on the Juice diet versus the Dukan diet™, which they maintained for the least amount of time, 74 days. The Dukan diet™ saw similarly short -term results across participants from the USA (45 days) and Egypt (47 days.)

Dr. Søren Carstens MD, Head of Clinical Operations at Bupa Global, said: “Over the past few years we’ve seen such a huge number of new diets enter the market as people increasingly seek short-term solutions for weight loss and health improvement. However, as you can see from the research, many of these popular diets are unsustainable in the long run. It’s interesting to note that the longest-lasting diets were Weightwatchers and veganism – possibly because Weightwatchers is a more traditional programme that promotes healthy eating and exercise, and veganism is more of a lifestyle change than a diet.”

The world’s most popular diets

When it comes to the most popular diets around the world, the Juice Diet holds the top spot as the most-tried diet with one in five (22%) saying they had juiced in the last five years, which increased to a third (32%) of Chinese people.

The Juice Diet is followed in popularity by the Detox Diet (17%) and being vegan (16%). The least popular options were the GI and South Beach Diet™ (4%) and the Cambridge Diet™ (6%). In keeping with the overall French disinclination to dieting, 2% had tried some of the lesser-known weight loss programmes such as the Mono diet, 5:2 diet™, the Ketogenic diet™ or the Atkins diet™.

The most popular diets globally

The least popular diets globally

The Juice Diet (22%)

GI Diet (4%) / South Beach Diet™ (4%)

Detox Diet (17%)

Cambridge diet™ (5%) / Wild Diet (5%)

Vegan Diet (16%)

Mono Diet (6%)

Cabbage Soup Diet (11%)

Weightwatchers Diet™ (7%)

Special K Diet™ (10%)

MasterCleanse Diet™ (8%)

Dr. Søren Carstens MD, Head of Clinical Operations at Bupa Global, said: “Many of these diets, including the most popular Juice diet, are designed to be ‘quick fixes’, but there is no substitute for a balanced diet and regular exercise.

“Dieting has its place in maintaining our health and wellbeing, but we encourage people around the world to take a long-term view of their health through regular monitoring and check-ins with healthcare professionals – and to enjoy everything in moderation.”

Tips for planning, enjoying and sticking to a healthy diet:

  1. Prepare your own meals - cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and better monitor exactly what goes into your food. You’ll eat fewer calories and avoid the chemical additives of packaged and takeaway foods.
  2. Make fruit and vegetables a staple and tasty part of your diet – fruits and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient-dense. Eating these daily will fill you up naturally, while also helping you cut back on unhealthy foods.
  3. Fill up on fibre - eating foods high in dietary fibre such as pulses, nuts, seeds and vegetables such as carrots has many benefits, including helping you to stay regular, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and helping you lose weight.
  4. Eat in moderation - the key to any healthy diet is moderation, meaning, for example, eating only as much as your body needs. At the end of a meal you should feel satisfied, but not “stuffed”.
  5. Drink plenty of water - water helps eliminate toxins and prevents dehydration. The process of burning calories requires an adequate supply of water in order to function efficiently and water helps the body metabolise and burn fat.

About Bupa

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About Bupa Global

Bupa Global is the international health insurance arm of Bupa, serving customers around the world. We provide products and services for globally minded and mobile people who want the most premium coverage and access to the healthcare they need anytime, anywhere in the world, whether at home or when studying, living, travelling or working abroad.