Today, Google is putting out its annual Year In Search report, which includes the top trending diet searches of the year in the US. You’ve probably heard of most of them, if not tried a few yourself. Some are actually sound, nutritionists say, while others don't necessarily have much scientific backing…and a few are a little off the wall. Here's the entire list of the top trending diets of 2019, starting from the top.
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Intermittent fasting diet
The intermittent fasting diet caught everyone’s attention recently when Jennifer Aniston revealed that she does it. There are different versions of this diet, which involves periods of going without solid food—Aniston favors the 16:8 version, which means she eats within an 8-hour window then fasts for 16 hours. But does it actually work? It can.
“It’s suspected that the reason it helps people lose weight is that eating within an 8-hour window simply limits the total amount of calories consumed in a day,” New York-based nutritionist Lauren Harris-Pincus, RD, previously told Health.
Dr. Sebi diet
The Dr. Sebi diet is a controversial one. The guy behind it is the late Alfredo Darrington Bowman, aka Dr. Sebi, who wasn’t a medical doctor but a self-educated herbalist. It didn’t help that he claimed (until a 1993 lawsuit ordered him to stop doing so) that his diet could cure conditions like AIDS, sickle cell anemia, lupus, and leukemia. Basically, the Dr. Sebi diet promotes consuming plant-based foods and supplements that supposedly decrease disease-causing mucus by bringing the body into an alkaline state.
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“Noom diet” was one of the top trending diet searches in 2018, and it’s high on the list again this year. Noom is actually an app—one that lets users log meals, access workout plans, track exercise, set goals, rate their motivation level, and connect with like-minded people. It also has articles, recipes, and support from personal health coaches (although not RDNs).
If that’s not enough, if attempts to address emotional eating and looks at how factors like stress and boredom can affect eating decisions. That all comes at a price, however: around $50 a month, and the plan is designed to last for four months. “While the app provides support, the user ultimately has to make his or her own eating and exercise decisions,” Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Health contributing nutrition editor, previously told Health.
1200 calories diet
Just as the name of this diet implies, it's an eating plan that limits dieters to 1200 calories daily. Many variations exist, and the diet doesn't restrict any one food group or type of food. While sticking to 1200 calories a day might sound feasible for the short-term, keep in mind that the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that moderately active women between ages 26 and 50 should take in about 2,000 calories daily to maintain a healthy weight. Cutting back to 1200 might be too restrictive to sustain.
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Keto ultra diet
The high-fat, low-carb keto diet was at the top of last year's top trending diets list from Google. Quick refresher: the goal of the diet is to get your body to a state of ketosis, where you burn fat for energy rather than carbs, which leads to weight loss. This variation of the super popular keto diet is basically keto with supplements, which claim to put your body in a state of ketosis or increase fat burning while you're in ketosis already.
The premise of the GOLO diet is that hormone imbalances lead to stress and anxiety, and this in turn makes you hungry and tired…which triggers overeating. While diet and exercise are part of the GOLO plan, users are also advised to take a supplement called Release to help bolster those healthy habits and boost weight loss. "Without independent data on Release, it’s difficult to say if it indeed leads to better results, and if it’s safe for all," Sass previously told Health.
Created by Heather Dubrow of Real Housewives of Orange County and husband Terry Dubrow, MD, one of the stars on Botched, the Dubrow diet is an intermittent fasting plan with three phases that focuses on whole foods and restricting calories. The diet features sample meal plans and it doesn't eliminate carbs. But all the phases and fasting windows could make it a bit complicated to follow, Sass previously told Health.
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The Sirtfood diet can be filed under “Is this too good to be true?” It claims to be the only eating plan which actively encourages red wine and dark chocolate, which are both high in sirtuin activators. (Sirtuins are a type of protein that protects the body’s cells from dying and from inflammation, and research suggests they can help regulate metabolism, increase muscle, and burn fat.) This diet has actually been making headlines for a while due to (unsubstantiated) claims that singer Adele followed it to lose weight.
No carbs no sugar diet
This plan appears to come from Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, who announced on Instagram back in January that they would be attempting a 10-day no carb, no sugar challenge. Apparently J. Lo discovered that cutting out an entire macronutrient was not easy and reported this on social media: "So it turns out, when you don't have sugar and you don't have carbs, you're really really hungry all the time. So we're trying to figure out a lot of good snacks."
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This diet is inspired by research from the 1940s, when a psychologist classified people into three body types: ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs, the latter having excess fat and less muscle tone. Supposedly, endomorphs have slower metabolisms, and their bodies are more likely to convert excess calories to fat. They're advised to eat more protein and fats while keeping an eye on carb intake.
If Google's 2019 list has inspired you to try any of these diets, just remember that most diets don’t work, insofar as they don’t lead to sustained weight loss. The worst case scenario is that a structured eating plan (no matter how “healthy” it claims to be) can lead to disordered eating habits.
If you think you need to lose weight, or simply want to eat more healthy foods, start by speaking to a doctor or nutritionist. “Many people have successfully lost weight and kept it off by simply consuming more whole food-based, balanced meals, eating mindfully, garnering support, and being active,” Sass said.
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