Dieting

Diet plans, programs, books, and pills, such as Leanbean, are popular dieting options. If you are trying to lose weight, you probably realize there are so many diet plans in existence; it can be difficult to select just one. Furthermore, researching effective diet plans can be downright overwhelming. It can be extremely challenging and time-consuming to complete the legwork necessary to select the right diet plan for you. What are the trendiest diets? Which diets are the most popular? What diet plans are the most effective? To find some answers, we analyzed search volume, data from Google Trends, and a range of other sources to assess the state of dieting in the U.S. in 2017.

When it comes to dieting, there is no shortage of diets to choose from. The table below lists the most popular diet plans in America today ranked by monthly U.S. search volume.

The Paleo Diet which is based on consuming only foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate is by far and away the most searched for diet plan. The Atkins Diet – the low carb program associated with American celebrities – is second. In third is the Mediterranean Diet which is based on the consumption of vegetables, olive oil, and moderate amounts of protein. The low carb Dukan Diet is fourth in terms of U.S. search volume, while the DASH Diet based on reducing the amount of sodium in your diet is fifth.

To gauge the level of interest in these diets over time, we looked at Google Trends data which shows that, of our top 10 most searched for diets, the Anti Inflammatory Diet is the only term which has peaked in interest over the past year. Interest has increased steadily over the past 4 years and hit its peak in January 2017. The Paleo Diet has declined significantly with search interest only 27% of it 2013 peak. The Atkins Diet peaked in interest in late 2013 and has also experienced a considerable decline since then.

To help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of each diet, we have analyzed the most popular diets in terms of effectiveness, popularity, and trendiness as well as weighing up the pros and cons of each and the states where the diet is most popular.

 

  1. The Paleo Diet

With a monthly search volume of 368,000, the Paleo Diet is the most searched diet in America. Based on the belief that modern foods – full of trans fats and sugars – cause illness, the Paleo Diet eliminates processed foods and, the theory is, gets dieters to eat the way that nature intended.

The Paleo Diet includes foods like lean meats, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, some fruit like berries and those with low sugar, nuts in moderation, and natural oils like coconut oil. The basic rule of thumb is – if our ancestors 10,000 years ago could not eat the food, then you can’t either! The foods to avoid are legumes, dairy products, cereal, grains, factory farmed meats, soft drinks, fruit juices, and sweets.

The Diet is still hugely popular but we can see from Google Trends that the diet actually peaked in popularity in 2013.

The reason for this surge is most likely linked to the release of the bestselling book The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson in 2013 which promised to help readers reprogram their genes for effortless weight loss by following a primal or paleo diet. The release of another bestseller in 2010 – The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf – had already brought the Paleo Diet into the public consciousness.

The Paleo Diet brings with it certain benefits:

  1. Plant nutrients in fruits, vegetables, and oils have anti-inflammatory benefits.
  2. You will have more iron in your diet.
  3. Proponents of the diet cite increased energy levels.

In spite of the popularity of the Paleo Diet, a study by US News only rates the Paleo Diet as the 36th most effective diet. They assessed all today’s diets across a range of metrics including weight-loss effectiveness, healthiness, and how easy it is to follow. Some of the criticisms levelled at the Paleo Diet are that low fat diets are more effective for fat loss than low carb diets. Other critics have labelled the quest to replicate the caveman diet as “delusional” and ignorant of evolution. Another blow to the diet’s popularity came in 2015 when a Paleo chef’s baby diet book was pulled because it was deemed unsafe.

The states that are most interested in the Paleo Diet according to Google Trends are:

  1. Wyoming
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Montana
  4. Alaska
  5. Colorado

To learn more about the Paleo Diet, check out the following resources:

 

  1. The Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is a well-known, popular diet plan that focuses on eliminating carbohydrates from one’s diet as a long-term goal for weight loss. The emphasis of eating revolves around protein, fat, and low-starch vegetable consumption. Dieters need to learn how to eliminate even the most basic of carbohydrates, like flour and sugar.

Dr. Robert C. Atkins invented this diet plan back in 1972, emphasizing the idea that carbohydrates, not dietary fat, create weight issues in people. Atkins has promoted his diet plan by telling dieters they can drop large amounts of weight without having to give up all types of food they like.

The Google trends graph for the Atkins diet demonstrates that the diet plan spiked in September 2013, and since then has leveled out in popularity.


The average monthly U.S. searches on Google for the Atkins Diet is 165,000, meaning it is still one of the most popular diets in America today. However, the US News study only ranked the Atkins diet 35th in overall diet effectiveness. The Atkins Diet does rank highly in terms of fast weight loss but gets a low rating for heart health, diabetes management, and health eating.

The states where search volume for the Atkins Diet is highest are:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. West Virginia
  4. Louisiana
  5. Alabama

One of the advantages of the Atkins Diet is that there is no calorie counting. Foods like steaks and burgers do not have to be removed from your diet. For those looking to lose weight quickly the Atkins Diet can deliver. Rapid weight loss is common during the initial phase of the diet known as “induction”.

The Atkins diet promotes a long-term lifestyle change, which many dieters find difficult, and also creates the side effect of lethargy, which can be difficult for some dieters to implement. Furthermore, some experts feel that limiting carbohydrate intake can be unhealthy, and cause unnecessary side effects. Elsewhere, Atkins dieters have reported experiencing dehydration and constipation.

To read up on the Atkins diet, please visit the following links:

 

  1. Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet, as the name suggests, is based around foods consumed in Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy like fruits, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and vegetables. The Mediterranean Diet takes a long-term approach to dieting rather than the quick-fix approach adopted by other trendy diets. Highly processed fast foods are to be limited as are dairy products. Salt is eliminated while a glass or two of red wine is encouraged.

In terms of popularity, the Mediterranean Diet is the third most searched in America with 135,000 per month. From looking at Google Trends we can see that interest in the Mediterranean Diet peaked in 2013 before levelling off over the last few years.

The top 5 states in terms of interest in the Mediterranean Diet are:

  1. Idaho
  2. New Mexico
  3. Maine
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Vermont

The spike in interest in 2013 is likely linked to a well-publicized study that year from the New England Journal of Medicine on “Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet”. The research showed how following the Mediterranean Diet can reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.

In terms of overall effectiveness, the U.S. News Study ranks the Mediterranean diet at number 2. The Mediterranean diet scores highly across the board ranking 1st in best plant-based diet and easiest to follow, 2nd in diabetes management, healthy eating. If you are looking for a quick fix weight loss program, the Mediterranean Diet might not be for you – it only ranks 19th as a fast weight loss diet.

There are many benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.

  • It is easy to follow.
  • All major food groups are included.
  • Low saturated fat.

On the flip side, critics of the diet have pointed out a number of cons.

  • It is expensive to buy the fresh food required to follow the diet.
  • It is not especially effective for losing weight.
  • Portion sizes are left open to interpretation.

To learn more about the Mediterranean Diet check out the following resources:

 

  1. Dukan Diet

With 90,500 monthly U.S. searches, the Dukan Diet is tied for fourth in our list of most popular diets. The diet, named after Dr Pierre Dukan, involves 4 phases designed for quick weight loss.

  • Attack Phase: The first phase last 1-7 days and limits dieters to unlimited lean protein and 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran each day.
  • Cruise Phase: The second phase can last from 1-12 months depending on how much weight you lose. The diet during this phase alternates between lean protein and loan protein with non-starchy vegetables. Dieters are also to have 2 tablespoons of oat bran each day.
  • Consolidation Phase: The time you spend in this phase depends on how much weight you lost during the first two phases. Dieters can eat lean protein, veggies, some carbs, fats, and 2.5 tablespoons of oat bran per day.
  • Stabilization Phase: This phase is similar to the consolidation phase and lasts as long as your weight remains stable.

As you can see from the phases, the Dukan Diet is very much based on a high-protein, low carb diet. Dieters are allowed to eat lean meats, fish, shellfish, fat-free yogurt, eggs, and certain vegetables. Dr. Dukan created the diet as far back as the 1970s after being inspired by an obese patient who was unwilling to give up eating meat. An online survey among 1500 Dukan dieters found that, on average, dieters lost 16 pounds during the first two phases. In 2014, a study presented at the Annual American College of Nutrition Conference showed that the Dukan Diet was both safe and effective.

Looking at Google Trends data, we can see that the Dukan Diet peaked in interest in 2012 and has experienced something of a decline since then. This peak might well have something to do with admissions from celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Gisele Bundchen that they followed the diet.

The five states where the Dukan Diet is most popular are:

  1. New York
  2. Connecticut
  3. Louisiana
  4. New Jersey
  5. Massachusetts

Just like other popular diets like Paleo and Atkins, the Dukan Diet does not rank very well in US News effectiveness rating, ranking only 37th in best overall diet. A number of other studies have also been undertaken that leave question marks over the effectiveness of the Dukan Diet:

  • A survey of 5,000 Dukan dieters by Le Journal des Femmes Sante showed that 35% regained all the weight they had lost in less than a year. The figure was as high as 80% after 4 years.
  • A study by the University of Granada on rats shows that high protein diets like the Dukan Diet increase the chances of kidney disease.
  • The British Dietetic Association labelled it the “worst diet of 2011”.

To learn more about the Dukan Diet, check out the following resources:

 

  1. DASH Diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet has the same number of searches as the Dukan Diet, meaning it is tied for the fourth most searched diet in America today. The DASH Diet is a diet loaded with fruit and vegetables, and includes low-fat and nonfat dairy, nuts, beans, meat, fish, poultry and seeds. Sugars, red meat, and added fats are limited. The diet, developed by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, was originally designed to reduce blood pressure, however the weight loss benefits soon became apparent.

Interest in the DASH Diet has remained relatively steady over the past five years with two major spikes in interest in January 2014 and January 2015.

The states where it is most popular are:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Maine
  3. Delaware
  4. Mississippi
  5. New Hampshire

The U.S. News expert panel ranked the DASH Diet as the number one diet in America in terms of effectiveness. There has been a number of other studies which show the benefits of the DASH Diet.

  • An ENCORE study in 2010 found that obese adults who followed the DASH diet in and exercised daily lost an average of 16 pounds over 4 months.
  • Dr. Alison Steiber led a 2012 study that proved the DASH diet was effective in preventing and delaying chronic kidney disease.
  • A 2011 paper published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the DASH diet can lower the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.

As with most diets, there are some drawbacks to consider.

  • The DASH Diet can be costly as wholesome food usually ends up costing more than processed alternatives.
  • The diet can be difficult to stick to because you have to eliminate sweet foods.
  • The DASH diet is primarily designed for better long term health so those looking to shed a few pounds quickly might be better looking elsewhere.

To learn more about the DASH Diet check out the following resources:

 

  1. Vegan Diet

With 60,500 searches per month, the Vegan Diet is the sixth most popular diet in America. Veganism is, for many,  an ethical stance against the meat industry. Vegetarians do not eat fish, poultry, or meat. Vegans go one step further than vegetarians and do not eat any animal products or by-products so dairy products are excluded as are honey and eggs.

U.S. News ranks the Vegan Diet as the 16th most effective overall with a score of 3.3 out of 5. The diet ranked 2nd in best Diabetes Diet and 5th in terms of weight loss. The Vegan Diet only ranked 26th in best diets for health eating and 30th is how easy it is to follow.

From looking at Google Trends we can see that interest in the Vegan Diet has remained steady with spikes in interest in June 2015 and January 2014. It is unsurprising that interest in a diet would peak in January as new year’s resolutions take hold. The other spike in interest in Veganism in June 2015 coincided with Beyonce going public on the benefits of her Vegan diet.

Google Trends also shows us the states where veganism is most popular. The top 5 are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Maine
  3. Arizona
  4. Alaska
  5. Vermont

Research shows that a Vegan Diet can help to prevent a number of illnesses like Parkinson’s and colon cancer, while Michael Greger of the Human Society of the United States is on the record as saying “a plant-based diet is like a one-stop shop against chronic diseases”. On the other hand, sticking to a Vegan Diet can be difficult. Many common foods are excluded so you will need to shop carefully and often. It can also be a challenge to find Vegan sources for the nutrients you miss out on by eliminating all animal products from your diet.

Check out the following posts to learn more about the Vegan Diet:

 

  1. The South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet, created by Dr. Arthur Agatston and Marie Almon, was formed to help Dr. Agatston’s patients lower their heart disease risk. The theory behind the South Beach Diet is the creation of a simple, accessible diet that replaces “bad carbs” with “good carbs,” as well as replacing “bad fats” with “good fats.” “Bad carbs” in this diet are considered to be those with a high glycemic index score. The South Beach diet feels that these “bad carbs” continue to make a person feel hungry even after eating a decent meal. “Bad fats”, according to the South Beach Diet, are those high in saturated fats. These “bad fats” are to be replaced with “good fats,” which are unsaturated fats.

Interest in the South Beach Diet peaked in January 2013 and has experienced something of a decline since. Although, it has experienced a spike in interest in January every year since.

The states where the South Beach Diet is most are:

  1. New Hampshire
  2. Delaware
  3. Vermont
  4. Maryland
  5. Connecticut

U.S. News ranks the South Beach Diet 24th in the best overall diet category and 9th in the fast weight-loss category. Critics of the diet say it is very demanding to those accustomed to taking larger amounts of carbs. The diet can be expensive and any relapse can result in dieters putting back on the weight they lost. To really benefit from the South Beach Diet, it must be a new way of life.

For more info on the South Beach Diet, please see:

 

  1. Cabbage Soup Diet

The Cabbage Soup Diet is tied in 7th in most searched diets in America. As a plan, the Cabbage Soup Diet is about as simple as it sounds. Dieters are expected to eat meals for one week that are limited to cabbage soup. This diet plan boasts that it is a quick weight-loss plan, and offers no other eating guidelines or exercise routines to match the diet plan.

Depending on where you look to read more on the Cabbage Soup Diet, you will find a wide variety of suggestions based on this diet. Most of these suggestions try to guide you with eating other foods alongside the cabbage soup diet.

The Cabbage Soup Diet peaked in interest in 2013 and has gradually declined since then – apart from the traditional new year spike in January each year which most diets experience.

The states where the Cabbage Soup Diet is most popular are:

  1. Mississippi
  2. West Virginia
  3. Arkansas
  4. Louisiana
  5. Alabama

As a quick-fix diet plan, The Cabbage Soup Diet can be extremely effective. Many who have tried it for fast weight loss report they lose about ten pounds in a week. However, researchers do not support the idea of dieters implementing the plan. The severe caloric restriction of the plan can do harm to one’s health, so most experts advise against the plan.

To read more information on The Cabbage Soup Diet, please see:

 

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Diet

The trendiest diet in our Top 10, the Anti-Inflammatory Diet is a diet based on the consumption of the naturally occurring anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The theory behind the diet is that chronic inflammation causes chronic disease so dieters should consume foods that combat system inflammation. Dieters should take in 2,000-3,000 calories with 50% made up of carbs, 30% from fat, and 20% from protein. The diet is similar to the Mediterranean Diet with an emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables. There are a few additions like dark chocolate and green tea. Foods to avoid or limit include sugar, saturated fats, trans fats, and refined carbs.

Google Trends data shows us that interest in the Anti-Inflammatory Diet has experienced a number of spikes over the past five years and is currently at an all time high.

The Anti Inflammatory Diet is most popular in the following states:

  1. Washington
  2. Maine
  3. Vermont
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Colorado

U.S. News ranks the Anti-Inflammatory Diet as 14th most effective and 6th best plant-based diet. However, the diet only ranks 36th in the fast weight loss category. An Ohio State University study found that the Anti-Inflammatory Diet can reduce the risk of bone loss in women while another study found the diet can help fight depression.

One of the drawbacks to the diet is that you will probably have to take supplements. There is no strict meal plan which may be an advantage for some or a disadvantage for others.

 

  1. Blood Type Diet

Completing our top 10 is the Blood Type Diet with 27,100 U.S. searches per month. The Blood Type Diet, also known by some as the “eat right for your type” diet, guides dieters to form meal plans according to their blood type: A, B, AB, or O. This particular diet plan is the brainchild of Dr. Peter D’Adamo, naturopathic physician, whose diet plan focuses on his theory that each blood type utilized food proteins in various ways. These food proteins, also known as lectins, can be an improper match for an individual’s blood type, resulting in negative digestion and health issues formed by one’s eating habits. The Blood Type Diet believes in forming both an eating an exercise plan that matches up with one’s blood type.

Interest in the Blood Type Diet peaked in 2014 but has remained steady over time.

The states where it has been most popular are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Idaho
  3. Arizona
  4. Louisiana
  5. Arkansas

While this diet has excellent intentions and many nutritionists agree that making a personal weight loss and diet plan for each person is a successful approach to weight loss, some researchers do not agree that dieting based on blood type adds any real effectiveness to the diet plan itself. The Blood Type Diet, therefore, is not promoted by the medical community, and there is little research or evidence to prove that it can produce real, lasting results.

To learn more about The Blood Type Diet, please visit:

Other Resources

For more insight on dieting, check out the following resources:

 

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