The study of people’s dieting habits, commissioned by food brand Tilda, found three in 10 believe just the thought of healthy food stops them from eating as well as they could.
It also emerged the average diet lasts less than three months before dieters revert back to their old ways, and three in 10 become bored of eating healthily within the first month.
Although two thirds of the dieters surveyed said they enjoy eating healthy food, 47 per cent said they find healthier cuisine “boring” compared to junk food.
One third said they miss the smell of unhealthy meals when they are in the middle of a health kick, and one in eight think junk food has a better texture than healthier alternatives.
Three in five think trying to eat healthily reduces the enjoyment they get out of eating.
Forty two per cent of those surveyed said chocolate is the food most likely to tempt them away from their diet, while a third find it hard to resist eating crisps.
Registered nutritionist and cookery writer Rob Hobson, who has partnered with Tilda, said: “Food boredom is a key factor for diet fatigue and the reason why many dieters quickly revert back to old eating habits.
“It’s clear from the research findings that our senses have a huge role to play in the food choices we make.
“We seek great tasting flavour, appearance, smell and texture in our food.
‘’But it is clear we reach to unhealthy foods such as the flavour of chocolate and the crunch of crisps to satisfy these needs.
“Convenience and ease of preparation are also highlighted as reasons why people find it difficult to stick to a healthy diet, with 44 per cent of dieters of the view that they would eat meals that are better for them if they were easier to prepare and more readily available.
“If you combine this with all the other misconceptions around healthy food, this creates a huge barrier to eating well.’’
When asked to consider the factors which might convince them to stick to their diet for longer, two in five said they would be more likely to stick to a diet if they could find healthy meals which they found delicious.
One in four said they would stick with a diet if the meals they ate looked more appetising.
And 54 per cent said they would be more motivated to keep eating healthily if they could see a visible improvement in their appearance.
Over 90 per cent of those surveyed said they can name a specific dish which would tempt them away from their healthy eating habits that deliver the “multi-sensory hit” they are craving.
However, three in 10 think eating unhealthily is more convenient than preparing healthier alternatives.
A spokesperson for Tilda said: “The notion of multi-sensory eating has previously been considered the territory of Michelin starred chefs, but at Tilda we believe in not only enabling the home cook but the health-conscious cook looking for convenience”.
Nutritionist Rob Hobson said: “Taste is the sum of all the senses, which includes flavour, smell, sight, texture and sound.
“It’s time to ditch your misconceptions around healthy eating and do your diet a favour by exploring the multi-sensory world of healthy eating.
“Understanding how to combine multi-sensory foods to create simple tasty dishes that stimulate all of the senses will help to change your perception of what it means to eat well and improve your enjoyment of healthy food”.
Top 10 foods most likely to end a diet:
1. Chocolate / sweets
3. Fish and chips
5. Bacon butty
8. Cookies / biscuits
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