Why Your Diet Might be Making you Fatter

According to the Health Survey for England (2019), it is estimated that 28.0% of adults in England are obese and a further 36.2% are overweight.1

Overweight and obesity are defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health”.2 We are experiencing a silent but deadly global obesity epidemic known to be the fifth leading risk for global deaths 3. The media often report the significance of obesity as a risk factor for noncommunicable physical health diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and musculoskeletal disorders, however, the general public are still led to believe that obesity is solely under personal control and that dieting, and fitness regimes are a quick and easy fix.4

Public Health England state that there is a compelling base of evidence to suggest that having a healthy diet is one of the most important ways to keep healthy and avoid becoming overweight. 5 Nonetheless, in today’s society, we are living in an obesogenic environment where unhealthy choices are easy, accessible and more affordable, with over 50,000 fast food and take-away shops in England alone. 5 It is no wonder people find it difficult to eat healthily all the time. To add to this, obesity is also attributable to the fact that most people are uneducated on the fundamental causes of obesity and are conditioned into thinking it is a personal choice, and as a result are convinced that they should follow unrealistic and restricting ‘fad’ diets (an extreme and widely shared enthusiasm for something, also known as a craze, that is usually short-lived). We have all been there, the 1st of January, setting new year’s resolutions to “lose some weight”, and with 45 million people in the United States starting a weight loss program every year, we are certainly not alone.6

Dieting is a multibillion-dollar global industry, with the UK diet industry alone worth a staggering £2bn a year. This highlights the number of companies who are selling weight-loss programmes, often without the necessary medical and scientific evidence to support them.7