SA sixth-most 'diet-obsessed' country in the world

03 September 2019 - 07:26 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Google trends data found that South Africans are big searchers when it comes to diet and nutrition topics.
Google trends data found that South Africans are big searchers when it comes to diet and nutrition topics.
Image: 123RF/Andreypopov

Do you shift from one diet to the next, hoping to find the perfect plan to lose any unwanted weight? Well you're not alone.

According to a recent study, SA is the sixth most "diet-obsessed" country in the world - at least, so says Chef's Pencil, an Australian website for chefs and cooks.

Chef's Pencil spokesperson Corina Onet said they analysed Google trends data on searches on the topic of diet and nutrition. This was then used to come up with the list, as Google provided a country and city score showing the local interest level for diet-related searches.

The countries which made the top six were Poland, which score a 100, followed by Australia (83), US (78), New Zealand and Maldova (both 77), and then SA (76).

In terms of the actual areas of people doing the searching in SA, the highest interest in dieting was mostly common in Vanderbijlpark, Bloemfontein and Boksburg, according to the survey.

The survey revealed that diet-related searches increased dramatically at the beginning of the year and dropped steadily until the next New Year’s Day.

While Google could not prove how many people committed to a diet following their search, Onet said they believed search data was usually well-linked to an intent to take action.

With diabetes cited as one of the leading causes of death in the world, the survey also indicated many people in SA subscribed to the Keto diet, followed by banting.

Statistics by the World Bank indicates that 55% of those aged 15 and above are overweight or obese in SA.

The choice of Keto and banting diet might have been influenced by the statistics of obesity as research shows the diet was more suitable for overweight, obese and diabetic people. These diets promote high-fat, low-carb and low-sugar eating.

Of the nine SA provinces, the Northern Cape ranked the highest and scored a 100, It was followed by North West (85), Free State (82) Mpumalanga (79) and Eastern Cape with a score of 75.