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'Food FOMO' Holds Back Half Of UK Adults From Shedding Pounds, Study Finds

By Dayeeta Das
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'Food FOMO' Holds Back Half Of UK Adults From Shedding Pounds, Study Finds

Close to half of UK adults (49%) cite the fear of missing out on their favourite foods and social events as reasons holding them from attempting to lose weight, according to a new study.

Foods that people fear missing out on most are chocolates (29%), takeaways (24%), fish and chips (21%), and fry-ups (18%), data showed.

Two in three (64%) respondents feel passionate about the food they eat. Data also showed that more women fear missing out on their Sunday roast (35%) than going without sex (21%). 'Food FOMO' couldn't get more real!

Food: A Source Of Joy

The survey comprising 2,000 adults, commissioned by Slimming World – a weight-loss organisation in the UK and Ireland – found that seven in 10 (72%) consider food a source of joy.

Out of this total, 31% said eating food prepared by someone else makes them feel loved, 64% enjoy the taste of food, and 41% find food nostalgic as it brings back happy memories of family traditions or routines.


Dr Amanda Avery, health and research consultant dietitian at Slimming World, commented, “As the research shows, in many cases certain foods can have a powerful pull on us, evoking memories and emotions and rekindling flavours and pleasures experienced in the past.

“Often, finding the desire or motivation to alter deeply ingrained habits around the way we shop, cook and eat can be challenging and that’s where support can be crucial to help slimmers.”

Other Findings

The survey, carried out by Censuswide, also polled members of Slimming World’s 13,000 community weight-loss groups and online program.

Around 88% of members said they enjoy eating food as much or more than they did before joining Slimming World, and 91% agreed that weight loss is achievable while enjoying favourite foods.


Moreover, four in five (83%) agreed that one could enjoy social situations while losing weight.


Professor James Stubbs of the University of Leeds agrees that the fear of missing out on our favourite foods or feeling deprived goes beyond hunger.

Stubbs added, “It is overly simplistic to assume that we eat just because we are hungry. Recognising how food meets different psychological needs in different people helps us explain why people eat what they do when they know it may undermine longer-term weight and health.

“[...]What this research shows us, is that our relationship with food can be complex, and understanding our relationship with food at an individual level is important in helping people navigate to a healthy diet and healthier weight in a way that fits into their own lives.”

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