Fad diets have told people they need to stop eating carbohydrates to go on a diet. A UK-wide survey has revealed a common belief that these types of foods are a 'no no', with 63% thinking that successful weight loss requires cutting out certain types of foods (1). 

 But studies of 7,592 dieters who signed up to lose weight online show the reality is quite the opposite - people who cut down rather than cutting out food groups not only lose weight, but are creating a more healthy relationship with food, which is really important for keeping weight off long-term (2). An overwhelming majority (86%) of Nutracheck (3) dieters who lost enough weight to improve their health did so while continuing to eat biscuits, chocolate, pizza, cakes, crisps and ice cream (4). 

'People tend to class foods as 'good' or 'bad', which is not helpful when trying to change your diet. Denying yourself something you enjoy leads to psychologically negative emotions, so many people associate weight loss with denial, hunger and feeling miserable', explained UK leading weight loss doctor and obesity expert Dr Ian Campbell.

'Many dieters are unnecessarily too hard on themselves. Taking a more relaxed approach, including some treats, makes losing weight successful and sustainable as it builds in a long-term positive attitude towards food.'

Val Langthorne, 54 from Wensleydale, Yorkshire lost 4 stones 7lbs in 12 months: 'I have just discovered I like cake! I never used to eat cake pre-Nutracheck because it was always a definite 'NO' on diets. My life has been without cake since 1975. Now I justcount it into my calorie allowance.'

Editor's Notes

1) All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2103 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13th and 16th April 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+) 2) The sample comprised of 7,592 Nutracheck members who had kept a food diary for at least a month between 2005 and April 2012 3) 

Percentage of 7,592 members who lost 10%&5% of body weight and continued to eat the following foods:

Wgt  Biscuits Chocolate Pizza Cake Crisps cream 
10% 96.8% 91.1% 49.3% 91.6% 91.4% 89.2% 85.6%
5% 95.8% 89.4% 44.7% 88.9% 88.9% 89.5% 83.4%