British women say no to extreme diets, says Laughing Cow survey

London: According to a study conducted by The Laughing Cow®*, despite the past year being hailed as the year of the size 00 celebrity figure, over a third (34%) of sensible British women polled now cite Charlotte Church, rather than skinny Victoria Beckham, as having the perfect figure, with size 12 being the aspirational size of the majority of women.

However 40% of men considered the sporting physique of Victoria’s husband, David Beckham, as being their ideal goal, according to The Laughing Cow® Extra Light Diet Survey, an in-depth analysis of the British attitude, aspirations and approach to dieting.

The Report’s results show that the average diet lasts just five and half weeks. With 48% of people starting their summer holiday diets in March, in preparation for showing off their figures in June, July or August, mid April is the danger period for a weakening of resolve – perhaps due to the temptation of all those Easter eggs, as 50% give lack of will power as the main reason for failing to stick with a diet! The results are available for all to view on, which also offers tips, advice and recipes to help would be slimmers stay on track to achieve realistic weight loss goals via a healthily balanced diet.

We’re a Nation of Bridget Jones’s – Always on a Diet
The revealing results also show that 1 in 10 (or 6,658,630) Brits are currently on a weight loss diet – amazingly, if gathered together, this number equates the total population of Scotland and Northern Ireland combined. What’s more, like popular fictional character Bridget Jones, 21% of dieters consider themselves as always on a diet, with the average dieter spending around £150 per diet on special diet foods.

Sisters Are Dieting for Themselves
On motivation, three quarters (75%) of all dieters claim that they want to slim for themselves, with less than a fifth (18%) wishing to lose weight to please their partners. 70% of dieters also cited health as a reason for wanting to slim, although half of all women dieters are driven to diet in a quest to look good in fashionable clothes (58%) or simply boost their confidence (59%).

Dieting to Extremes?
Many are now taking a sensible approach to dieting, with 85% considering eating smaller portions to shift weight, 64% considering consuming only low fat foods and 44% pondering joining the gym. However some contemplate going to extreme lengths to shed excess weight, with 22% thinking about taking weight loss pills, 12% considering a liquid diet and nearly 1 in 10 (9%) pondering surgery.

Cheese and Chocolate Cravings
Craving comfort food, a fifth (20%) of those polled cited cheese as the food they most craved when dieting, beaten only by the ubiquitous chocolate (23%). Nearly half (48%) of dieters wished that cheese was less fattening, although over half (52%) considered cheese as a healthy food.

The survey was commissioned by the dieter’s friend, The Laughing Cow® Extra Light, the first truly low-fat cheese portions, packed with all the Laughing Cow cheese taste and goodness but with only 3% fat and just 20 k-calories per individual triangle.

To support wavering and would-be slimmers, The Laughing Cow® Extra Light has launched an exciting microsite – and have teamed up with respected nutritionists and registered dieticians, Sian Porter and Azmina Govindji, to bring you a site packed with dieting tips, tasty recipes, tips from real life dieters, plus the opportunity to download a free podcast offering an inspirational practical guide to successful dieting.

Jo Wozniak, Group Brand Manager, The Laughing Cow® commented: “The Laughing Cow® Extra Light Diet Survey reveals many insights into the different attitudes, approaches and aspirations of slimmers and identified five distinct dieting types that each take a different approach to weight loss. As April is the month when the majority look likely to fall off the pre summer holiday diet bandwagon, we believe that the motivational tips, information and advice offered on our microsite will go some way towards helping slimmers lighten up and stay on track. Understanding different slimmers’ needs, motivations and difficulties is important as it enables us at The Laughing Cow® to devise ways to help slimmers achieve their dieting goals with a healthily balanced approach.”

Brain size linked to food availability

Washington:Scientists from Duke University and the University of Zurich have come to the conclusion that there is an evolutionary connection between available food supplies and brain size.

In a study involving orang-utans living on the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, Andrea Taylor and Carel van Schaik have suggested that temporary, unavoidable food scarcity may cause a decrease in brain size, perhaps accompanied by only a small or subtle decrease in body size.

The study, which appears in the online version of the Journal of Human Evolution, quoted both Taylor and van Schaik as saying that this was the first such study to demonstrate a relationship between relative brain size and resource quality in primates.

“Compared to other tissues, brain tissue is metabolically expensive to grow and maintain. If there has to be a trade-off, brain tissue may have to give,” Taylor said.

“The study suggests that animals facing periods of uncontrollable food scarcity may deal with that by reducing their energy requirement for one of the most expensive organs in their bodies: the brain,” van Schaik added.

“Such a theory is vital for understanding what happened during human evolution, where, relative to our ancestors, our lineage underwent a threefold expansion of brain size in a few million years,” both said.

Both found that nutritionally well-off Sumatran orang-utans differed most strikingly from Pongo pygmaeus morio, one of the three sub-species occupying Borneo, where soils are poorer, access to fruit is most iffy and the impact of El Niño is significant.

In previous studies, reported in the April 2006 issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, Taylor found evidence of northeast Borneo orang-utans having stronger jaws than orang-utans in other parts of Borneo or Sumatra.

Taylor is an assistant professor at Duke’s departments of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy and of Community and Family Medicine. Van Schaik directs the University of Zurich’s Anthropological Institute and Museum, and he also is an adjunct professor of biological anthropology and anatomy at Duke, where he had worked for 15 years.