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Online Trends

Published January 17th 2017

You’re Not Alone: Hundreds of People Are Talking About Breaking Their New Year Diets

January is the time we seek dietary inspiration. It's also the time we share our dietary failures on social. The Brandwatch React team analyzed the data.

January is the time we seek dietary inspiration online.

But, it is also the time that we need to know we’re not alone in our failings.

The Brandwatch React team has dug into the data on New Year diets and we’re here to help.

Talking about your diet

The team looked for instances of people talking about their diets across social media from the beginning of the year to the 15th of January. For example, we searched for strings of text like (my NEAR/1 diet*), which incorporates mentions of “my diet” as well as “my awful diet” or “my vegan dieting.” We excluded retweets to stop popular dieting tweeters taking over the conversation, as well as filtering out repetitive mentions across the web.

We found over 20k mentions, and were surprised to find “pizza and beer” as a trending topic. It turns out that’s what Ed Sheeran’s diet consisted of before he lost 3-stone and made his come back.

“My diet was pizza and beer, but because I was doing two hours a night I was really in shape. I stopped touring and carried on my diet of pizza and beer. Suddenly I didn’t fit in anything. I was like, ‘All my clothes have shrunk’.”

Whether you think it’s braggy, inspirational or downright wrong, lots of people take to social media to share their healthy lifestyles (or at least what they want to share about them).

Breaking your diet

As well as the more positive sides of healthy eating, social media users also appear happy to admit when they screw up their dieting plans.

We’re sorry, but not at all surprised, to report that this is happening.

To get a better idea of what this meant, we decided to search our dataset for mentions associated with beginning a diet and ending, cheating at, or breaking a diet. It turns out that people have been talking about messing up their diet since the 1st of January, but mentions peaked later in the month.

That said, mentions talking about starting their diet peaked later than we’d have expected. Perhaps there was a lot of Christmas food left in the refrigerator this year.

This kind of data could prove useful to personal trainers and healthy food outlets – if your social campaign didn’t work out so well on the 1st of January, perhaps giving it a second boost a week later could give you some better results.

Likewise, with the knowledge that dieters appear to struggle around 11th January, crafty fast food outlets might be able to score some extra custom with a timely offer on social media.

What’s ruining people’s diets?

Searching for mentions of “ruined my diet” between 1st and 15th January, we set out to find out what exactly was ruining people’s diets.

Sweet things (cookies, candy bars, coke and ice cream), take out food (especially Taco Bell) and other people (kids and friends) were among the top reasons. We can sympathize, though brace yourself for some bad language.


Veganism grows

The Brandwatch React team have observed a couple of signs recently that veganism is gaining momentum on social.

One of the top used hashtags in the dieting conversation was #vegan, while our research surrounding what social media thought 2017 would be the year of revealed that “vegan meat” was a hotly discussed topic. Earlier in the year our research surrounding influential food bloggers revealed that discussion surrounding vegan recipes was more prominent than that surrounding vegetarian recipes.

Vegan numbers are rising, and while not everyone on social media is supportive of the movement the social data shows that it’s not going away.

There is hope

There’s no shame in cheating at your diet. We found plenty of people finding new inspiration and starting again.

And there’s always next year.

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? We have plenty more. Email us [email protected] for more information

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