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Diet statistics Australia

1 in 4 Australians are planning to try a new diet in 2022.

It's still early in the year and Aussies are resolving to prioritise their health in 2022. Our research found 30% of people have made "eating healthier" a New Year's resolution. In fact, it's the most common resolution, alongside improving fitness.

How many Australians follow a diet?

According to the research, 23% of Australians follow a diet of some kind.

Men (24%) and women (23%) are equally as likely to be on a diet, but younger generations are more likely to switch up their eating habits.

1 in 3 millennials (33%) claim to follow a diet of some kind, closely followed by gen Z (29%). Baby boomers are more liberal with what they eat, with just 10% saying they are on a diet.

How many people will try a new diet in 2022?

1 in 4 Australians (24%) will try a new diet this year.

Gen Z are the most interested in changing up their eating habits, with 40% planning to try a new diet this year, compared to just 4% of baby boomers.

The eastern states are a more common place for dieters. Those from New South Wales are the most likely to be attempting a new food regime this year (28%), followed by Victorians (26%). This is compared to just 15% of South Australians.

Finder's research found the keto, gluten-free and vegetarian diets are the top trending diets of 2022, with 10% planning to have a crack at each of these regimes.

The low FODMAP and paleo diets come in joint second place with 8% interested in testing these this year.

Another 6% will be attempting the vegan diet this year, stripping their fridge of animal products like meat, eggs and dairy.

Men are most interested in trying the gluten-free diet (12%), whereas the low-carb keto diet is the most popular among women (11%).

Gen Z are most interested in ditching meat and going vegetarian (21%), while gen X are more likely to try the keto diet (8%).

The research found 8% will try 1 new diet this year and 7% will try 2 diets. Nearly 1 in 10 (9%) will attempt 3 or more diets in 2022.

How many diets will people try this year?

It may sound challenging, but some Aussies are planning to attempt more than one diet in 2022.

Our survey found 8% of people plan to try 1 new diet this year, while 7% will try 2 diets. An adventurous 9% are interested in attempting 3 or more diets.

How many vegans and vegetarians are there in Australia?

More than 1 in 10 people (12%) are on vegetarian or vegan diets according to Finder's research. That's an estimated 2.3 million Australians not eating meat. In a comparison of 42 countries, Australia ranks sixth in its vegetarian and vegan population, with India (30%) and Mexico (19%) taking the lead.

A further 2.3 million Australians (12%) are interested in taking meat off their menu in 2022 – but it's not just Australians joining this movement. More than 2 million people worldwide have signed up for "Veganuary" – a 1-month challenge to ditch animal products – since its inception in 2014. In 2021, a record 582,000 people took part worldwide.

Between 2016 and 2020, the value of vegan packaged food in Australia grew 41% from $153 million to $215 million. Nearly 1 in 10 new food products (9%) on supermarket shelves is labelled as vegan or containing no animal products.

While many people choose a vegan diet for animal welfare reasons, increasingly people are also choosing this diet because of environmental concerns. Livestock provides just 18% of calories globally but takes up 83% of farmland, according to a 2019 study. While beef production emits up to 105kg of greenhouse gas per 100g of protein, tofu produces less than 3.5kg.

Eating more plants can be cost-effective too. Reducing the amount of meat and processed foods in the diet and increasing vegetables and legumes can save a family of four $1,800 a year in grocery costs, according to a study by Deakin University. This "planetary diet" is found to be healthier and more sustainable than the traditional Australian diet.

How to make your diet stick

Start small. As with any resolution, play the long-term game. Instead of making drastic changes, try taking small steps every day. If your goal is to ditch meat, start with 1 meat-free day a week and go from there. If your goal is to reduce your sugar intake, swap the soda for orange juice to phase out your cravings over time. Changing your habits slowly will make it feel like a natural transition.

Grab a buddy. Starting a healthy diet on your own can seem intimidating, so why not face the challenge with someone else? Having a friend will keep you motivated and accountable, so you’re more likely to maintain your new healthy lifestyle. Plus, they can be your workout buddy too!

Make it affordable. Don’t listen to any business that tries to sell you a fitness program or home delivery meal service as part of a diet. The healthiest foods – like seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes – are also the most affordable foods, and can be found at your local supermarket. To save money, stock up on bulk items like frozen veggies, canned beans and big bags of brown rice and forget about the meal replacement shakes and superfoods.

The new year is a great time to look at your financial health and set yourself money goals for the year ahead. Money management apps like the Finder app can make your life easier by showing you all your income and spending in one place – no need for messy spreadsheets.

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