Dieting Statistics in 2023 (Latest U.S. Weight-Loss Data)
Losing weight is challenging for many of us, and the endless variety of special diets isn’t helping us either.
Dieting statistics show that weight loss can be achieved through most diets, but long-term maintenance of lost weight is much more challenging.
Highlights of statistics on dieting:
- 49.1% of Americans try to lose weight each year.
- About 43 million Americans (17%) follow a special diet each year.
- The most searched diets are keto (452K), Mediterranean (422K), and anti-inflammatory (155K) diet.
- About 80% of weight loss by special diets is regained within five years.
- 1 in 3 dieters progress to pathological dieting, and 20% of those develop eating disorders.
- 1 in 3 American dieters uses dietary supplements for weight loss.
- Americans spend about $85 billion each year on weight-loss products.
- 83% of long-term weight loss maintainers refer to ‘trigger events’ for their success.
- 54 million Americans would give up sex for the rest of the year to lose at least 10 lbs.
1. 49.1% of Americans try to lose weight each year.
According to weight loss statistics published in the CDC National Health and Nutrition Examination study, about 122.6 million Americans (49.1%) try to lose weight each year. (1, 2)
|Trying to Lose Weight||Percentage||Adults|
Weight loss trends suggest that about 71.9 million women in the U.S. (56.4%) try to lose weight each year, compared to 51 million men (41.7%).
About 49.7% of young adults aged 20-39 and 52.4% of middle-aged adults aged 40-59 try to lose weight each year, compared to 42.7% of older adults aged 60 and older.
|By Weight Status||BMI||Percentage|
|Normal or underweight||<25.0||26.5%|
The body mass index (BMI) data suggests that 66.7% of adults with obesity, 49.0% of overweight adults, and 26.5% of normal or underweight adults try to lose weight each year.
Within each weight status category, a higher percentage of women than men try to lose weight.
About 74% of American adults are overweight or obese.
According to diet statistics published in the CDC National Health and Nutrition Examination study, 73.6% of American adults (183.8 million) are overweight or obese. (2, 3)
|Severely obese||>=40.0||9.0%||22.5 million|
The data suggests 42.5% of U.S. adults have obesity, 9% have severe obesity, and 31.1% are overweight.
Obesity is the most prevalent among Mexican Americans (50.4%), Black adults (49.6%), Hispanic adults (44.8%), White adults (42.2%), and the least among Asian adults (17.4%).
2. About 43 million Americans (17%) follow a special diet each year.
According to American dieting statistics published in the CDC National Health and Nutrition Examination study, about 42.7 million Americans (17%) follow a special diet each year. (2, 4)
|On a Special Diet||Percentage||Americans|
About 24.2 million women in the U.S. (19.0%) follow a special diet each year, compared to 18.5 million men (15.1%).
The percentage of adults following special diets (a.k.a. fad diets) increases with increasing weight status.
|By Weight Status||BMI||Percentage|
|Normal or underweight||<25||8.3%|
The fad diet statistics suggest 23.1% of obese, 17.1% of overweight, and 8.3% of normal-weight adults follow special diets each year.
Approximately 17.1% of U.S. adults follow special diets, with more women (19.0%) than men (15.1%).
|By Age Group||Men||Women||Total|
Among all adults, only 13.3% of young adults aged 20-39 follow special diets compared to 19.2% of middle-aged adults aged 40–59 and 19.3% of older adults aged 60 and older.
A similar pattern was found among men and women as well.
3. The most searched diets are keto (452K), Mediterranean (422K), and anti-inflammatory (155K) diet.
According to Ahrefs statistics about dieting (2023), the most searched diets in the U.S. are keto (452K), Mediterranean (422K), and anti-inflammatory (155K) diet. (5)
|#1||Keto diet||452 K|
|#2||Mediterranean diet||422 K|
|#3||Anti-inflammatory diet||155 K|
|#4||Brat diet||154 K|
|#5||Dash diet||117 K|
|#6||Paleo diet||114 K|
|#7||Fodmap diet||112 K|
|#8||Optavia diet||99 K|
|#9||Military diet||90 K|
|#10||Carnivore diet||84 K|
*Search numbers refer to monthly organic Google searches in 2023.
The dieting trend statistics suggest that the keto diet is the most popular diet in the U.S., with 452 thousand monthly organic searches.
The next popular fat loss diets in the U.S. are the Brat diet (154K), Dash diet (117K), Paleo diet (114K), Fodmap diet (112K), Optavia diet (99K), Military diet (90K), and Carnivore diet (84K).
4. About 80% of weight loss by special diets is regained within five years.
According to dieting failure statistics published in the National Library of Medicine, about 80% of weight loss by special diets is regained within five years. (6)
A meta-analysis of 29 long-term weight loss studies found that more than half of the lost weight was regained within two years, and by five years, 79% of lost weight was regained.
Weight-loss maintenance and reduced weight did not differ significantly between women and men.
The weight loss study concluded that realistic long-term weight loss magnitude is significantly lower than dieters expect.
40% of special diet followers regain more weight than they had lost.
According to diet failure statistics published in the National Library of Medicine, about 40% of special diet followers regain more weight than they had lost. (7)
|After 3 years||Special Diet Followers|
|Maintained 75% of weight loss||12%|
|Maintained 5% of weight loss||57%|
|Gained back more than they lost||40%|
After 3 years of initial dieting, only 12% of dieters maintained 75% of the weight they had lost, while a whopping 40% had gained back more weight than they had originally lost.
The weight loss struggles study concluded that the frequency of exercise after the diet program was the strongest predictor of weight loss maintenance, while television viewing predicted a gain in weight.
5. 1 in 3 dieters progress to pathological dieting, and 20% of those develop eating disorders.
Many researchers agree that dieting may not be the cause of eating disorders, but it is often a precursor.
According to dieting and eating disorders statistics published in the National Library of Medicine, 35% of normal dieters progress to pathological dieting. (8)
The data also found that in several studies, 20-25% of pathological dieters had progressed to a partial or full syndrome ED within 1 to 2 years after the initial evaluation.
The dieting study concluded that there’s enough evidence to suggest that normal dieters may become pathological dieters and that pathological dieters may progress to partial or full syndrome EDs.
6. 1 in 3 American dieters uses dietary supplements for weight loss.
According to weight loss supplement statistics published in the official journal of The Obesity Society, 33.9% of American dieters use dietary supplements for weight loss. (9)
|Weight Loss Supplements||Users||Non-Users|
About 44.9% of women in the U.S. use dietary supplements for weight loss, compared to only 19.8% of men.
The weight loss supplements study suggests that weight loss supplements were most used by individuals with obesity, compared to other weight groups.
|By Weight Status||Users||Non-Users|
|Normal weight (18.5-24.9)||30.1%||69.9%|
About 40.7% of individuals with obesity used weight loss supplements, compared to 29.1% of overweight individuals and 30.1% of normal-weight individuals.
The supplements data also found that underweight individuals were the smallest weight group of only 26.2%, who use weight loss supplements.
7. Americans spend about $85 billion each year on weight loss products.
According to Research & Market’s weight loss industry statistics, Americans spend about $85 billion each year on weight loss products. (10, 11)
|Weight Loss Market||2023||CAGR||2026|
|Global||$297.9 B||8.2%||$377.3 B|
|U.S.||$85.0 B||8.2%||$107.7 B|
*Dollars are in USD.
In 2023, the total U.S. weight loss products market revenue is projected to reach $85 billion.
The total U.S. weight loss products market size is projected to reach $107.7 billion by 2026.
In 2023, the total global weight loss products market revenue is projected to reach $297.9 billion.
The total global weight loss products market size is projected to reach $377.3 billion by 2026.
The global global weight loss products market revenue is expected to grow 8.2% annually (CAGR) from 2023 to 2026.
8. 83% of long-term weight loss maintainers refer to ‘trigger events’ for their success.
According to long-term weight loss statistics published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83% of long-term weight loss maintainers refer to ‘trigger events’ as the reason for their success. (12)
|Reaching an all-time high in weight||21.3%|
|Seeing a picture or reflection of themselves in the mirror||12.7%|
The most common trigger events for successful weight loss are medical triggers (23%), all-time high body weight (21.3%), and seeing a picture of their reflection on the mirror (12.7%).
The dieting success study also found that medical triggers caused higher initial weight loss and maintenance and are associated with less weight regain within two years.
9. 54 million Americans would give up sex for the rest of the year to lose at least 10 lbs.
According to Gelesis statistics on weight loss, 54 million American adults (22%) would give up sex for the rest of the year if it meant losing 10 lbs. (13)
|Sacrifice for 10 lbs.||Percentage||Americans|
|Streaming service||17%||42 million|
|Social media||16%||40 million|
About 42 million American adults (17%) would give up their favorite TV or streaming services for the rest of the year if it meant losing 10 lbs.
About 40 million American adults (16%) would give up social media for the rest of the year if it meant losing 10 lbs.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018. Attempts to Lose Weight Among Adults in the United States. Link
- Statista. 2021. The resident population of the United States by sex and age. Link
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Severe Obesity Among Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 1960–1962 Through 2017–2018. Link
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Special Diets Among Adults: United States, 2015–2018. Link
- Ahrefs. 2023. Keywords Explorer. Link
- Hall KD, Kahan S. Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. Med Clin North Am. 2018 Jan;102(1):183-197. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2017.08.012. PMID: 29156185; PMCID: PMC5764193. Link
- Grodstein F, Levine R, Troy L, Spencer T, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ. Three-year follow-up of participants in a commercial weight loss program. Can you keep it off? Arch Intern Med. 1996 Jun 24;156(12):1302-6. PMID: 8651838. Link
- Shisslak CM, Crago M, Estes LS. The spectrum of eating disturbances. Int J Eat Disord. 1995 Nov;18(3):209-19. doi: 10.1002/1098-108x(199511)18:3<209::aid-eat2260180303>3.0.co;2-e. PMID: 8556017. Link
- Pillitteri, J.L., Shiffman, S., Rohay, J.M., Harkins, A.M., Burton, S.L. and Wadden, T.A. (2008), Use of Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss in the United States: Results of a National Survey. Obesity, 16: 790-796. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.136. Link
- *U.S. numbers are estimates based on R&M revenue numbers and CAGR growth projection. Research and Markets. 2022. The U.S. Weight Loss Market: 2022 Status Report & Forecast. Link
- Research and Markets. 2021. Global Weight Loss Products and Services Market 2021-2026. Link
- Rena R Wing, Suzanne Phelan, Long-term weight loss maintenance, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 82, Issue 1, July 2005, Pages 222S–225S, doi: 10.1093/ajcn/82.1.222S. Link
- Gelesis. 2020. New Survey Finds 71 Million Americans Have Gained Weight Throughout the Pandemic. Link
Alex is the founder of Bodyketosis, an author, low-carb enthusiast, and a recovering chubby guy who reclaimed his health using the ketogenic lifestyle. The need for the keto life began after his aunt and cousin were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and he was next in line. Through personal experience and extensive scientific research, Alex offers insightful tips for everything keto.