Almost half of the world thinks they’re overweight, according to a new online survey of 30,000 people in 60 countries from the consumer research group Nielsen. And while the same amount of people are trying to lose weight, how we do it has changed drastically in the span of just a few years.
Researchers for the Nielsen Global Health & Wellness Survey found that when people in North America commit to changing their diet for weight loss, the most popular way to do it is now to add in more natural, fresh foods. About 60% of people in North America say that’s the diet tweak they’re doing—a major departure from the traditional notion of dieting-as-deprivation. And though it’s still a very popular method for weight loss, cutting fat is even falling out of favor. Among people in North America who are changing their diet, 59% say they’re curbing their fatty food intake, but that number was much higher—73%—in 2011.
The same amount, 59%, are cutting down on sugar and chocolate.
While North Americans are warming up to fat, they’re shunning carbs in increasing numbers. Low-carb, high-fat diets have gained traction among those trying to lose weight, jumping from 13% in 2011 to 23% now. The biggest low-carb fanatics in the world seem to live in Asia-Pacific, where 34% of people trying to lose weight say they follow the diet.
Eating smaller portions is the strategy for 49% of North Americans, followed closely by eating fewer processed foods, at 46%. We’re number-one in that category: cutting back on processed foods happens more in North America than in any other region in the world.
Diet programs are at the bottom of how we change what’s on our plate. Only 9% of North Americans used Weight Watchers or other slimming programs, Nielsen reports.