Anthony Warner, aka the Angry Chef, went on record in The Guardian recently attacking the “lies, pretensions and stupidity in the world of food” and criticising the alternative facts surrounding nutritional fads and myths. The blogger-turned-author is a former chef and an advocate of what he describes as a ‘sensible and varied diet’.

So what is a balanced diet? And where does the UK public get its nutrition and diet advice?

Populus research for the British Dietetic Association published during Dietitians Week shows that 40% of the UK public have considered or tried a fad diet for weight loss.

Fad diets in the digital age

The concept of using diet to promote weight loss is not a new one. Records of diet plans for weight loss date back to the early 1700’s.

The digital age of instantaneous communication and instant accessibility via the internet, means that information about fad diets can be shared and distributed quickly; information that doesn’t necessarily have to be medically sound.

Prominent food bloggers, writers and journalists often share dieting information and recipes online and in the press.

Although often passionate about their subject, they aren’t required to have any of the specific qualifications of registered dietitians, nutritionists and medical professionals.

Populus research for the British Dietetic Association finds that 16% agreed that journalists check the reliability of their stories on diet and nutrition.

18-24 year olds were the most likely of all age groups to trust a blogger, with 41% saying they’d trust a blogger for advice on diet and nutrition.

Where dietitians can help

Dietitians are qualified health professionals who can diagnose and treat dietary and nutritional problems at both an individual and a wider public health level.

Of those asked, 82% trust a dietitian for advice on diet and nutrition. Visit the British Dietetic Association for more information about dietitians.

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View the full Data Tables here.