Britons are being urged to adopt more sensible weight loss techniques by experts who say fad diets are "unsustainable" and can lead to weight regain in the form of potentially dangerous visceral fat.
Visceral fat, the so-called hidden fat around abdominal organs, in excess quantities can increase the risk of heart diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
The National Obesity Forum called for campaigns to improve public awareness about these risks after a survey found that nearly 90% of Britons do not know what visceral fat is, although nearly two out of three said they were motivated to lose weight after learning about the associated dangers.
Of 2,000 adults polled by UK GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare as part of a Euorpe-wide study, 64% said they are determined to lose weight this year.
However, 86% of the people who had previously resolved to diet at New Year admitted they had been unsuccessful.
Professor David Haslam, the forum's chairman, warned: "Fad diets, which usually promise quick fix weight loss, are unsustainable.
"They can actually do more harm than good. Invariably weight is put back on, with some of the weight regained accumulating as visceral fat."
Figures from the NHS Health Survey for England show that around two-thirds of men, and more than half of all women, were overweight in 2007.