Weighing Up the Cost - How Much Do You Need to Spend to Lose Weight?
Healthy Eating and Cutting Calories Cheapest for Food Bills...

Study shows following healthy eating guidelines with calorie restriction is the cheapest approach to weight loss when it comes to grocery shopping; restrictive diets, meal replacements, and low-carb/high-protein tend to be more expensive.

Weighing Up the Cost - How Much Do You Need to Spend to Lose Weight?

When it comes to losing weight, many of us try the latest trends, or put our faith in popular products and diet plans. Healthy eating and counting calories, although proven to be successful, can seem a little boring.

But whether you’re looking at cutting carbs, trying out keto, or going for meal replacements, diet trends, or more specifically, the costs of the food to follow the diet, can take a hefty chunk of your weekly spend.

Understanding the costs of different weight loss programs is important, especially when people are facing financial struggles.

In a new study1 , researchers have evaluated the affordability of popular diets, comparing them to the recommendations within the Australian Guide to Health Eating (which is almost identical to UK healthy eating guidelines), and to the Mediterranean Diet, finding costs can vary by up to £57 per week!

The diets looked at in the study were:

The research shows that the most cost-effective diet was calorie restriction while following healthy eating guidelines - in fact, the next cheapest way of eating was over 20% more expensive!

Lead researcher, Karen Murphy said;

there tends to be a misconception that consuming a healthy diet made up of the five key food groups… is too expensive, which it’s really not.

The diet plans that were most expensive typically restricted multiple food groups and included premium products.

The research assessed the weekly costs of 7 different meal plans and found that weight for weight, ingredients used gave an equivalent cost of between £53 and £110 per week.


Food Costs

Ketogenic £64
Palaeolithic £65
Internittent Fasting £68
Healthy Eating + Calorie Restriction £53
Mediterranean Diet £64
Meal Replacement £71
8 weeks to wow £110


These results are extremely interesting when you consider that the average adult in the UK currently spends £43 weekly on food. With the cost of living increasing at a rate that’s hard to ignore, perhaps food cost should be a significant factor when weighing up your weight loss options!

In addition to costs, study author Ella Bracci notes that nutrition is also key to starting a new diet…

“It doesn’t matter whether you chose keto or carb-free, weight loss is always linked to calorie intake – if you reduce the number of calories you consume, you will lose weight,” Bracci says.

“Healthy eating principles… place an emphasis on fresh produce and staple foods. While an incorrect perception exists that these can cost more, eating a healthy diet doesn’t need to break the bank.”

If you're looking for a bit of help to get started with a healthy, low calorie diet plan that won't blow the budget - check out our Everyday Diet Plan with easy pdf download.

Here's some top tips to make sure you don’t waste food and money:

Slash Your Weekly Food Spend – Planning Your Food Shopping

Juliette Kellow shows you how to slash your food shopping with her top tips for planning.

Healthy Food Shopping on a Budget

Shopping on a budget, how to save money on food and not waste it.

The Art of Using Leftovers and Using up Cooked Food

Wasted food has an impact on our wallets and the environment. Here’s some tips for using leftovers.

Tasty Recipes for Leftovers

Rachael Hill shows you how to use leftover food in delicious, money saving recipes.

Start a Free Trial Today

You can use the tools in WLR to calorie count your favourite recipes, or create your own low calorie versions. Simply input your ingredients to find out how many calories per serving.

Start your free 24 hour trial now.

Take our FREE trial »

1. Bracci, E.L. Developing and implementing a new methodology to test the affordability of current popular weight loss diet meal plans and healthy eating principles. BMC Public Health 23 (2022).

Lose a Stone for Christmas Challenge

If you enjoyed this article, try our newsletter. It's free.

Receive the latest on what works for weight loss straight to your inbox. We won't share your email address. Privacy policy