In the last twelve months, 32% of UK males have gone on a diet in an attempt to lose weight. However many feel embarrassed to admit this to their friends or family or seek out diet-related products when shopping. Findings from a new survey from Canadean Custom Solutions reveal that dieting is still seen as a social taboo by men and something predominately associated with females.


Of the one third of male adults who have dieted in the last twelve months, only 22% say that they have successfully stuck to their plan to lose weight. When it comes to weight loss, men believe that changing what they eat and drink is more effective than exercise. 46% say that they have changed their dietary plan, whilst 44% said that they have reduced the portion sizes of the food they eat. In comparison, 26% said they had started to exercise and 27% said they had increased the amount they exercise.


However, it is clear that a stigma still exists among men when it comes to dieting. A total of 21% of male dieters said that they find it embarrassing buying weight-loss related groceries in store. This was particularly true among male dieters aged 18-24 years old, with 67% saying this is the case. This embarrassment will result in male dieters spending less time in grocery stores searching for what they perceive to be the right food and drink.


The survey also finds that a significant number of male dieters wish to keep their diet a secret.  One fifth (21%) of male dieters say that they find it embarrassing talking about weight loss with friends and family. Again, this attitude was most prevalent among dieters aged 18-24 years old (34%).


Emma Herbert, Research Manager at Canadean Custom Solutions comments “dieting is still seen as a social taboo among some men and a trait associated with females. This is particularly true among younger males where image is of particular importance, and dieting can prompt feelings of inferiority and embarrassment.”


According to Ms Herbert, men’s reluctance to share tips such as recipes are likely to have a negative effect on their dietary plans. “If there is any chance of the prevalence of obesity among males to decline, they will have to be more open about their dietary regime.”


Ms Herbert calls for a change in the industry. “The industry can also do more, reducing the embarrassment associated with dieting among males through the way diet-related products are positioned.”




About Canadean Custom Solutions


Canadean Custom Solutions is the consumer and shopper insight division of Canadean Ltd. Canadean provides market research, reports, databases and custom solutions to the global FMCG, retail, packaging and ingredients industries. With headquarters in the UK and regional offices around the world, Canadean has built a reputation as the benchmark for consumer market intelligence.


  1. For me, it’s just the opposite. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m trying to put on (muscle) weight. Not many people are sympathetic to my plight, though. It is what it is.

    1. I think you would be surprised, Will. I have lots of guy friends who have trouble putting on weight too, and who supplement their diet with proteins, or spend hours in the gym to no avail.

      If you are in the right weight category for your height, it shouldn’t matter. Being the best version of you is what matters, and what I personally find attractive. I’ve dated short guys, bald guys, and yes even skinny guys because they were confident in who they are. Plus, muscular guys just don’t do it for me or others!

      Also, our co-founder Victor has an awesome get shredded challenge you should check out if you think it will help, he’s adding muscle weight each week with his new healthy lifestyle. There’s a link in the top header for more info, but honestly, don’t sweat it. I know for a fact you’re already awesome!

      1. Thanks for the compliment, Clurra! I really appreciate it. I will check out that get shredded challenge. Have a great weekend!

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