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Diet blog: Slimmers - beware the tangled web!

Judith Wills / 26 March 2019

Our diet expert surfs the slimming sites so you don’t have to.

Online diet advice
What kind of online diet advice can you rely on?

We’ve been celebrating 30 wonderful years of the World Wide Web recently, and for people who want to lose a bit of weight or prevent themselves putting weight on, it should be an ideal helpmate.  But sadly, that’s far from the case.  If you go online to try to find some do-able – and safe – advice, you may be in for a disappointment.  Present site excepted, of course.

I’ve been doing some research on your behalf to reaffirm what I already knew, and what I found was a frighteningly huge volume of rubbish masquerading as proper advice.  So here’s my potted guide of the sites to treat with caution.

Diet bloggers

The web is stuffed full with bloggers promoting their own ideas on weight loss and healthy eating. Many pretend they have nothing to sell (or are not sponsored) but in fact, they often do. If something sounds a bit far-fetched, my best advice is to give it a miss.

Selling sites in disguise

You click on a site that looks harmless enough and the first couple of paragraphs read OK; sound sensible. Then you realise – they want you to buy something.  For instance, I just found one in a few seconds that has a question and answer section as if from real people but most likely made up. Question: “Do diet supplements really work?” Answer: “Have you heard of the Ultimate blah blah blah?  You can lose 8 inches of fat in 45 minutes!”

Diet betting sites

I knew betting was big business online, but in all my days I never thought I’d see people use their bodies as a betting medium.  But online you can, honestly, place a large bet on whether you will lose weight or not.  If you lose, you win money.  If you fail, you lose in more ways than one. Well, it’s true that being strongly motivated is a great way to lose weight – but just no.

Celebrity diet tips

Wherever you look online, likely you’ll find one celeb or other extolling the best way to stay slim/be healthy. Mostly these do not involve any kind of ‘balanced diet’ and though some would see weight loss short-term, are not a good way to do it. 

Exercise routines

It’s very tempting to try out exercise programmes you can view for free online and do in your sitting room.  But while some I viewed are okay, many were way too ambitious for anyone who hasn’t done much more than a level walk to the local shop recently.  They could at best put you off exercising for life, at worst, do you damage.  Sorting out the safe and effective from the crazy is not easy if you’re a novice.


Chatrooms can be good for many things – cheering you up, swapping your dating fails with like-minded souls, and so on.  But there is one thing that, almost without exception, chatroom members know little about, and that is dieting.  You’ll read more gubbins in a chatroom about good and bad ways to lose weight than you will almost anywhere else. 

So where to go for slimming advice?

One good bit of advice is to stick to UK sites, and names you already know. The good old NHS, while it can sometimes be a bit conservative, has good, solid nutrition and diet advice easily found by using its A-Z, as well as excellent exercise programmes from beginners up, while Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation offer plenty of properly-researched weight control advice.

But, of course.  There really is NO need to go anywhere.  You’re there.  Saga uses only tried and tested experts, and the website is packed with a huge range of safe and do-able dieting and healthy eating advice.  The original and best! 

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.