Many consumers make up their own diets

May 5, 2004 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Many consumers make up their own diets

Many Americans are following self-designed diets, even as the mania surrounding low-carbohydrate weight-loss regimens like Atkins and South Beach continue to generate headlines, a new survey shows.

One-quarter of U.S. consumers have tried a self-styled diet, while nearly 7% are currently on one, according to the survey by market research firm NPD Group. That compared with about 17% of Americans who said they have tried the Atkins diet, while just 4% are on it now.

"Americans are adjusting a number of diets to develop one that fits their lifestyle," the survey said.

The popular high-protein Atkins and South Beach diets, which shun bread and pasta, have inspired weight-conscious consumers to lighten up on carbs, though few are necessarily sticking to a specific regimen.

With Atkins, even though there are relatively few people adamantly following the diet, there is still quite a buzz because so many people are trying low-carb or high protein dishes, even though they do not claim to be on the diet, said the researchers.

In recent months, many food makers have rolled out foods like low-carb cereals and chocolate bars in a bid to cater to the millions of Americans following diets that favor high-protein foods and those made with sugar alternatives.

U.S. restaurant chains have also caught on to the trend, and many now serve hamburgers without the bun or substitute vegetable side dishes instead of rice or potatoes.

The survey showed that 15% of adults agree that a low-carb diet is the best way to lose weight, suggesting that the low-carb craze is far from fading out.

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