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    2022 & 2023 Intermittent Fasting Statistics and Trends

    2022 & 2023 Intermittent Fasting Statistics and Trends
    November 9, 2023 Vitality Pro

    In the last few years, intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular in developed countries. Primarily driven by growing health consciousness, intermittent fasting appeals to a wide range of people, from those simply looking to lose weight to fitness enthusiasts who ensure they follow a diet regimen that enhances their performance.

    A quick look at the stats shows just how intermittent fasting is on the rise.

    • In 2022, a survey showed that 80.1% of people worldwide had heard of intermittent fasting.
    • 23% of people enjoy better sleep after intermittent fasting.
    • There are 52 posts an hour about intermittent fasting on Instagram.
    • 40 global studies show that intermittent fasting promotes significant weight loss.
    • Intermittent fasting is more popular with people in their middle age.
    • The market for intermittent fasting apps will grow at a CAGR of 15.7% between 2023 to 2030.
    • 10% of Americans aged between 18-80 use intermittent fasting as a diet.

    Intermittent fasting not only appeals to a wide range of people, it’s also an easy-to-adopt diet regimen. It allows you to control how you eat and restrict your calorie intake on your own terms, without following a top-down approach like other diets such as Weight Watchers. Gone are meal plans, calorie counting, and macros. Intermittent fasting can be adapted to suit individual needs and all kinds of lifestyles, from students to busy executives.

    To gain a better understanding of intermittent fasting’s popularity, we’ve done a deep dive into the 2022 and 2023 statistics and taken a look at the trends that look set to emerge in the future.

    Intermittent Fasting On The Rise

    Fasting for health and psychological benefits is not new. Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Indian sadhus have been practising intermittent fasting for millennia. However, intermittent fasting transcends the religious realm and is being practised by everyone, regardless of race, religion or creed. 

    Many celebrities are also embracing the trend, further pushing this diet regime into the mainstream spotlight. Jennifer Aniston, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansen, Chris Hemsworth, and Margot Robbie are just a few celebs who have endorsed intermittent fasting and practice this way of eating for weight management, and the health benefits it offers.

    By 2022, three-quarters or 80.1% of participants in a worldwide survey had heard of the term intermittent fasting, proving just how commonplace it has become.

    Due to its increase in popularity, there have also been a growing number of studies on intermittent fasting and its benefits. In 2022, a global survey revealed that 41.81% of participants reported intermittent fasting’s efficacy in training the body to feel less hungry. Most stated it took under a week to see the results.

    Additionally, intermittent fasting is particularly effective for managing diabetes, a very common lifestyle disease. It reduces body weight and fasting glucose levels by around 4.16mg/dL, together with reducing insulin resistance. Not only does fasting control blood sugar, but it also boosts heart health, reduces weight, aids in preventing chronic disease and could even delay cognitive decline in the elderly. Intermittent fasting does this by contributing to what is called autophagy, in which your cells consume cellular waste and debris, which leads to cellular renewal.

    Plus, it’s proven to be effective in boosting restorative sleep patterns. 23% of participants in a 12-week study stated that they experienced an increase and improvement in their sleep patterns thanks to intermittent fasting. 

    Weight loss, reduced hunger pangs, improved diabetes management, reduced cognitive decline, and better sleep are all huge benefits on their own. When combined, they become even more impressive, and it’s easy to see why intermittent fasting is on the rise.

    In 2022, a global survey revealed that 41.81% of participants reported intermittent fasting's efficacy in training the body to feel less hungry

    Intermittent Fasting Online

    As far back as 2019, “intermittent fasting” was the most Googled diet-related term in the world. Although searches for keto diets topped the list in 2020-21, intermittent fasting remains one of the top food topics in Google searches today. 

    There are also nearly 4,585,864 million posts under the hashtag #intermittentfasting on Instagram, and 52 posts on intermittent fasting are posted per hour. According to Yahoo in Canada, intermittent fasting was the second most searched diet trend for 2022. In first place was the Mediterranean diet.

    Google’s search report for 2022 has some interesting statistics and figures for the search topic intermittent fasting.

    Interest by region was topped by the United States, Chile, Australia, Britain and Ireland. Interestingly, Tanzanians, Kenyans and South Africans displayed a lot of interest, too.

    A graph reflecting “interest over time” included many spikes and lows in worldwide interest in the term from July 2022 to July 2023. For example, in July 2022, interest reached almost 100%, then in November 2022, it dropped to just above 25%. Interest spiked up to almost 100% in April 2023 but dropped in July 2023 to around 25%. 

    Intermittent Fasting App Stats

    With so much interest in intermittent fasting, it’s also not surprising that there are plenty of apps that help people maintain this diet regime. 2023 Research from Marketwatch reveals that it’s anticipated that the intermittent fasting app market will develop at a CAGR of 15.7% between 2023 to 2030.

    Currently, some of the most popular include Fasten, Zero Fasting Tracker, Fastient, and Fast Habit.

    App-based research is also on the rise.

    Research looking into 792,692 intermittent fasters using two apps—LIFE Fasting Tracker and LIFE Extend—studied retention rates, weight loss and fasting patterns. Using data from 26 million recorded fasts, researchers recorded the following retention rates: 

    • 16.7% of users were retained for 13 weeks
    • 6.9% of users were retained for 26 weeks
    • 2.1% of users were retained for 52 weeks

    The study concluded that both apps served their purpose and were very effective at assisting obese users in losing weight. Obese users experienced significant weight loss over time. Of those, the obese participants who fasted more lost the most weight. Users with healthy weight or those who were underweight did not lose much weight on average, even with frequent and consistent fasting.

     What The Research Shows

    Research on lab animals such as mice has shown that restricting calories results in significant weight loss. But what about studies on humans?

    Intermittent fasting proponents, as well as wellness sites, claim that intermittent fasting evokes an immune response resulting in positive changes in the body’s metabolism, such as reducing triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, fat and blood sugars.

    However, researchers worry about dieters overeating in their eating windows or on the days they are not fasting. Yet, this has not been the case when looking at a large volume of research. Around 40 studies have demonstrated significant weight loss of around 10 pounds over a period of 10 weeks. These studies did range widely in terms of participants and time periods and were designed in different ways, so comparisons are tricky.

    Research on lab animals such as mice has shown that restricting calories results in significant weight loss.”

    But the outcomes are worth noting:

    • Intermittent fasting did not show significant drop-out rates, but this way of eating also wasn’t deemed easier to follow than other weight loss options.
    • 12 clinical trials showed that comparisons between intermittent fasting groups and their continuous-eating counterparts demonstrated no big differences.
    • Around 10 trials resulted in no increase in appetite in intermittent fasting groups despite big weight losses.

    Overall, a randomised and controlled trial of over 100 obese individuals for more than a year showed that intermittent fasting was no less effective than calorie restriction on a daily basis.

    Intermittent Fasting By Age Group

    Although there’s no science to back up whether intermittent fasting works better for one age group or another, it is most popular with middle-aged adults. However, this doesn’t mean that other age groups don’t benefit or follow this eating regime. What is regularly suggested is that different age groups adopt varying types of intermittent fasting to suit their lifestyle. 

    While intermittent fasting is generally safe, it still isn’t recommended for children, teens, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or older adults, especially those with medical conditions. 

    Additionally, it’s important that anyone who fasts gets enough nutritional value when they do eat.

    The Sydney University states that when practising intermittent fasting, you should be aware of nutrition. The article also points to the fact that not all calories are the same. To benefit fully from weight loss with its associated lower risk of cardiovascular disease, inflammation and diabetes, the balance of nutrients is very important. Every age group requires different nutrition, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. 

    As it’s grown in popularity, more and more experts in every health field recommend speaking to a professional medical practitioner before embarking on a fasting regime. This can ensure any age-related issues are addressed and that the correct nutritional intake is advised.

    A Fitness-Focused Eating Regime

    Intermittent fasting is a growing trend in the health and fitness industry, with many trainers encouraging their clients to adopt this way of eating. Some of the biggest fitness industry brands, such as F45, IDEA, W.I.T.S and CrossFit, encourage intermittent fasting and applaud its overall health benefits.

    A 2019 review article published by Johns Hopkins University concluded that intermittent fasting could boost physical performance. Rich Froning, CrossFit’s four-time ‘Fittest Man in History’ winner, credits this way of eating for improving his training sessions, along with reducing inflammation and recovery time and increasing his testosterone. 

    With such big brands advocating intermittent fasting, more and more people interested in their health and fitness are trying the regimen for themselves. 

    “Some of the biggest fitness industry brands, such as F45, IDEA, W.I.T.S and CrossFit, encourage intermittent fasting and applaud its overall health benefits.”

    Intermittent Fasting In The US

    According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC), intermittent fasting is more popular than a ketogenic or high-fat diet. The IFIC survey showed that about 10% of Americans aged between 18-80 use intermittent fasting as a diet.

    Americans now appear to place more emphasis on when they eat than what they eat. The extent of weight loss with intermittent fasting compares favourably with calorie-restricting diets, but people prefer intermittent fasting as it offers more personal choice. You can still go out and enjoy a meal with colleagues or friends as long as the meal falls within your eating window. Overall, intermittent fasting is less restrictive, and you don’t have to buy special food or expensive dietary products and supplements.

    A 2022 survey looked at the dieting habits of 901 Americans. 49% males, 49% females, and 2% transgender took part. Their ages ranged from 18-89 years old. The average age was late 30s. It was found that 80% had dieted at some stage in their lives, and 44% of Americans were currently on a diet. The most popular way of dieting was intermittent fasting, followed by low car, clean eating, vegetarian and keto diets.

    So, why are Americans dieting in 2022 and 2023? What has caused the shift?

    Changes In Eating Habits

    • 58% of respondents said they were dieting for improved health
    • 44% wanted to improve their body image
    • 36% wanted to improve their energy levels
    • 31% were seeking to boost their self-worth or confidence 
    • 25% wanted to reduce the risk of disease

    Influencer Influence

    Before you discount the power of influencers on social media, take a look at the following statistics. 

    • 31% felt influenced to diet by using social media
    • 28% were persuaded to diet by a family member
    • 27% were advised by a doctor to go on a diet 
    • 23% learnt about a diet from an influencer

    Positive Body Image

    Having a negative body image seriously impacts negatively on your confidence and self-worth. In extreme cases, it can lead to dysmorphia, which can lead to serious mental health problems.

    23% of Americans have dysmorphia, with 29% of sufferers being women and 14% men. 

    Almost 30% of Americans have experienced dysmorphia in the past and are eager to embrace a more positive body image.

    Intermittent Fasting In Other Global Regions

    Intermittent fasting appears to be just as popular in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

    Intermittent Fasting In Asia

    Traditionally, fasting is practised in Japan, and it’s proving popular in Hong Kong and Korea too.

    A BBC documentary entitled “Eat, Fast and Live Longer” was aired nationally in Korea a few years ago, and it piqued Koreans’ interest. Another documentary broadcast in late 2022 by Australian free-to-air broadcaster SBS deepened people’s understanding of intermittent fasting and how it works. The Korea Times also reported that many local celebrities have spoken about their successes with intermittent fasting. The newspaper stated that intermittent fasting is one of the most popular dietary trends in the country.

    Koreans appear to favour the 5:2 and 16:8 methods of intermittent fasting.

    The Japanese are known for their longevity, keeping their slim figures as they age, and a busy, hard-working lifestyle. Fasting has been part of their culture for centuries. Traditionally, the Japanese finish their evening meal by around 7 p.m. and then only eat again the next morning. This mirrors the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet with its overnight window period of fasting. Usually, Japanese culinary traditions include an initial meal of vegetables eaten first, which makes you feel fuller. This ensures that the second meal or portion of protein and carbs is not too large.

    The Japanese notion of ‘Hara hachi bu’, or everything in moderation, is also important and is something that people wanting to lose weight should be mindful of. The 80% rule, in which the Japanese eat until they are 80% full, pairs very well with intermittent fasting. Food is eaten slowly in Japan and savoured.

    Intermittent Fasting In Europe

    From as far back as 2013, intermittent fasting – or as many Britons called it, “The FastDiet” has been commonplace. From the aforementioned BBC series to hundreds of magazine articles, just about everyone in Europe knows about intermittent fasting. 

    But before intermittent fasting, there was the Dukan Diet, AKA the Princess Diet, as it was credited with helping Kate Middleton lose weight before her wedding. Created by French doctor Pierre Dukan, the diet involves eating from a list of approved foods. However, this diet doesn’t restrict eating windows. 

    Across Europe, diet regimes still vary, but intermittent fasting is a common choice as it’s easy to follow and very socially acceptable. 

    Intermittent Fasting In The Future

    With celebrities, fitness brands, professionals and health experts all promoting the benefits of intermittent fasting, we can expect to see an increase in this diet regimen. The increase in apps will also spur further growth, as will social media influencers.

    Research and studies also look set to increase as more and more people look for solid proof that intermittent fasting offers more than just weight loss.

    A more intensive focus on health and maintaining a healthy weight is never a bad thing. If any of the different types of intermittent fasting work for you, or you want to try it (after discussing it with a healthcare professional), it’s certainly one of the easiest eating plans to adopt, and you can generally see the results within a few weeks. This is great motivation to keep going and to continue to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.