Fat profits, fat waistlines

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

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HEART FM’s Toby Anstis said yesterday that in his opinion, New Year resolutions were a waste of time.


And how right he was. Every January, thousands take to the scales to weigh in, and, then, try in a desperate bid to shed the pounds of Christmas blubber.


Thousands of weight loss diet courses enter the January market. Savvy marketers see it as an easy niche to enter into because it pays so well. Millions of people try to sell the next fad course hoping to make a fast buck from those gullable souls who think that they will shed loads in time for the summer. And then, the cycle begins all over again – ending up with those poor miserable souls fat as a Turkey by Christmas.


The weight loss industry is proving to be one of the few that are recession proof: the diet industry is worth more than £1bn in the UK and $60.9bn (£39.4bn) in the US. According to research from Mintel, foods with a weight control claim comprised 27 per cent of new UK food product launches in 2010, a rise of 18 per cent from 2009. The majority of weight control foods in the past year were labelled as “low fat”, “no fat” or "reduced fat”, with 62 per cent of weight control foods making these claims.




However, despite all the messages from government, campaigns such as Change4Life, and the endless array of courses and diets, Britain’s obese figures are alarming.


Almost one in four adults in Britain are now classed as obese. This could rise to eight out of 10 men and seven out of 10 women by 2020, according to experts. In fact, a Datamonitor report suggests that just one per cent of slimmers manage to keep the weight off for more than a year. Critics of the weight loss industry describe it as the most successful failed business in the world. So why does it continue to be so profitable and yet such a failure?




Mintel also did a poll and it revealed less than half believed that low fat foods were a con. Less than half also believed that sweetners were not very safe.


The marketing diet industry is shrinking, but not people’s waistlines.


In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority forced health guru Gillian McKeith to stop using the title “Dr” to market her dietary regime on the grounds that she was not medically qualified.


What’s the lesson from all this? Simple. Losing weight is a state of mind – in addition to food companies labelling their products better.


The real way to lose weight is to stick to what you can realistically achieve, not what you can’t. 


After all, it’s not in a human being’s DNA to stick to a plan, is it.


We are just not programmed to wander off the beaten track, are we?….

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