If you are on a diet and feeling depressed, agitated and forgetful then the chances are you are suffering from ‘diet brain’.
Slimming experts have identified it as a condition that affects those battling to lose weight and say it induces mood swings, impacts on close relationships and performance at work.
New research by low carb experts Atkins discovered that half of women have suffered with ‘diet brain’ and worryingly the same number again believe it is a real barrier to them reaching their desired weight goal.
The symptoms include forgetfulness, nausea, extreme mood swings and depression and four out of ten women believe their marriage or relationship has suffered negatively because of ‘diet brain’.
A quarter insist their performance at work has been affected by the condition, with this number rising to four out of ten of under-25s.
One in three admit ‘diet brain’ left them feeling obsessed with losing weight and what they can and cannot eat, while more than half said they ended up feeling depressed because they were desperate to be slimmer. This figure rose to two thirds of women over-55.
However, one in ten females said they got a real high from dieting and accepted ‘diet brain’ as simply part of the slimming process.
The research of 2,000 women across the UK was conducted by the New Atkins Diet, and forms part of the company’s new ‘Satisfaction Report’ into attitudes towards food and dieting.
Linda O’Byrne, chief nutritionist for the New Atkins Diet, said: “We are on a mission to banish ‘diet brain’, it is not something that anybody trying to lose weight should experience.
“If you find yourself suffering from ‘diet brain’ then the reality is that you are not slimming down correctly and you need to take action to alter the situation. It is very worrying to discover that dieting has affected large numbers of women’s relationships and even their jobs, this is not how it should be.”
A quarter of women say they feel hungry all the time when they diet, one in six simply feels miserable and 15 per cent insist they actually feel more positive.
A quarter of women admit they diet in order to feel more confident in the bedroom and one in ten to prevent their children feeling embarrassed by them at the school gates.
A fifth of under-25s diet in order to be as slim as their friends, while despite concerns over celebrities being poor diet role models, one in ten young people still shed the pounds in order to look like their favourite stars, including Cheryl Cole, Kate Middleton and Kate Moss.
Linda O’Byrne, chief nutritionist New Atkins Diet, added: “Nobody on a diet should feel hungry, that is not how a healthy diet works. Whatever your motivation for losing weight we encourage a sensible approach that will leave you feeling positive and happy, rather than miserable and hungry.
“We recommend that dieters slim down safely and effectively by cutting back on sugars and other refined carbohydrates.”