Dieting Brits Face ‘Hangriest Day of the Year’

Published 5 January, 2022

Dieting Brits Face ‘Hangriest Day of the Year’

This Wednesday (5th January 2022) will be the UK’s ‘Hangriest Day of the Year’ according to new research from WeightWatchers, with an estimated 22.6 million Brits* (almost half of the adult population) embarking on a restrictive diet this week and the majority (26 per cent) saying they’ll feel hungry and irritable by Wednesday.

Despite the threat of another lockdown in 2022, a quarter (25 percent) of Brits are more likely to focus on their health and wellbeing this January, and 23 per cent are more likely to go on a diet now versus last year. 32% of the nation gained weight in 2021 (an average of 29.9 lbs)**.

Almost four million people (7 percent) will cut out food groups like carbs, and a further four million will begin fasting, skipping or replacing meals altogether. A whopping 72 percent who embark on a restrictive diet will give up because it makes them hangry and 19 per cent will become so obsessed with food, they’ll actually end up gaining weight.

Many people fall into a trap of thinking about results in the short-term and suffer as a result. More than one in three people (34 percent) end up thinking about food more, 28 per cent become more irritable and unreasonable and 18 per cent will even lose sleep due to hunger.

Doctor, Health Coach and TV presenter Dr Helen Lawal says, “We are surrounded by information about fad and trendy diets which give us the false promise and hope they will help us lose weight and feel happier, most of which encourage extreme calorie restriction and cutting out whole food groups like carbs. Sometimes they work for short periods of time, then we relapse back into old habits, feeling like we have failed, turning towards food to pick us up and the cycle continues.

I truly believe that food should be about pleasure, sitting round the table with friends and family and sharing a meal, that sense of connectedness whilst enjoying our favourite foods. There is an over emphasis on diets and food whereas the reality is what we eat is just a small piece of the bigger health and happiness puzzle. There are so many other ways we can make a positive impact on how we feel about our bodies and health including working on our mindset, sleep, being more active and tackling stress.”

“People don’t need to make themselves miserable, hungry and in some cases, ill, when they set out to lose weight,” explains Anna Hill, General Manager of WW UK. “We devised our programme to enable people to get real results with fewer cravings, less hunger and no deprivation, which is impossible to achieve on a fad diet. PersonalPoints is a super simple plan that anyone can follow long term and it won’t stop you from enjoying life and living it to the full. It's about building healthy habits, eating food you love and making some smart swaps and good decisions.”

According to WW, there is no need for hanger pains. No two people are the same, and with the WW PersonalPoints Programme, no two eating plans are the same either. It's designed to fit into your lifestyle long term, changing the way you shop, cook, and eat forever. WW’s PersonalPoints Programme is different because it guides members towards foods higher in healthy fats, fibre, and protein and lower in added sugars and saturated fat. You can eat all the foods you love and still lose weight, plus the plan has been clinically proven to deliver a 17 per cent decrease in cravings plus a 15 percent decrease in hunger with zero deprivation

“In recent years people have re-prioritised what is most important to them and the last thing anyone wants to do is pause their life to get healthier. They want to enjoy the things they love and have missed with no restrictions and no deprivation. This has informed the development of the PersonalPoints Programme where everybody’s plan is completely different, and tailored to the foods you love - our algorithm works out a plan that will work for you.” says Anna Hill.

With the WW PersonalPoints Programme you’ll NEVER feel ‘hangry’ as it’s designed just for you, so you can live your fullest life, enjoying the foods you love with no restrictions or deprivation, whilst still losing weight. For more information visit


Notes to editors

About WW

WW - Formerly Weight Watchers - is a global wellness company and the world’s leading weight-loss programme. We inspire millions of people to adopt healthy habits for real life. Through our engaging digital experience and face-to-face group workshops, members follow our livable and sustainable program that encompasses healthy eating, physical activity, and a helpful mindset. With more than five decades of experience in building communities and our deep expertise in behavioural science, we aim to deliver wellness for all. To learn more about the WW approach to healthy living, please visit For more information about our global business, visit our corporate website at

* Research was undertaken between 15 - 17 December 2021, amongst 2,000 UK adults by Censuswide on behalf of WW and shows 42% will be hangry by Wednesday. Source: ONS UK population age 16+ in mid 2019 was 54 million - 42% of 54 million is 22.6 million. All stats in release from this Censuswise data set apart from the below

**32% of the nation gained weight in 2021 (an average of 29.9 lbs) stat is from WW Global Wellness Survey Dec 2021, in partnership with Kantar Health

Highlights of the research conducted by WW show that:

An estimated 22.6 million Brits (almost half of the adult population with an equal split between male and female) will be embarking on a restrictive diet this week Hanger is most likely to strike between 11am and midday, and when it does the number one go-to foods are crisps (12%) and chocolate (12%) with bread, toast, sandwiches and pizza all coming in close behind

34% think about food more when they’re on a calorie controlled or restrictive diet, 28% report getting more irritable or unreasonable, 23% report feeling more sad, and one in five (18 per cent) expect to lose sleep due to hunger

A quarter (26 per cent) of people expect to feel low in mood and a fifth (18 percent) of people admitted that when on a restrictive diet, they’ll become so obsessed with thinking about food while they’re dieting that they’ll actually end up putting on weight.

19% admitted that living on a restrictive diet meant they had declined to go on meals out and a quarter (26 percent) had said no to eating a pudding they wanted. A fifth (18 percent) even had dreams about food they missed

Despite the threat of another lockdown, 25% of people are more likely to focus on their health and wellbeing this January compared to January 2021 and 23% are more likely to go on a diet this January versus last year.