Decline of Diets

  • In the past 10 years, the Federal Trade Commission has brought more than 80 law enforcement actions against companies for making false or deceptive weight-loss claims. 
  • Recent companies cited by the FTC for false claims include the marketer of Sensa, a product that consumers sprinkled on their food to help them lose weight, which was fined $26.5 million to settle charges of false-advertising because, according to the FTC, the company deceived consumers with unfounded weight loss claims and misleading endorsements.
  • People no longer want to talk about ‘‘dieting’’ and ‘‘weight loss.’’ They wanted to become ‘‘healthy’’ so they could be ‘‘fit.’’ They wanted to ‘‘eat clean’’ so they could be ‘‘strong.’’ Diet companies suffered for being associated with dieting. For example, Lean Cuisine repositioned itself as a ‘‘modern eating’’ company, not a diet company.
  • A study out of Georgia Southern University monitored attitudes toward losing weight over three periods:
    • In the first period, 1988-94, 56 percent of fat adults reported that they tried to lose weight. 
    • In the last period, 2009-14, only 49 percent said so.
  • The change had been spurred not just by dieting fatigue but also by real questions about dieting’s long-term efficacy.