10 Most Searched Diets of 2020 on Google

Most popular diets of 2020

As we come to the end of 2020, I’m sure we can all agree this year was not like any we’ve ever had before. But surprisingly, in the diet world, nothing seemed to change that much. I would have expected with a global pandemic and quarantine life, that the most searched diets on Google would look vastly different this year compared to last year. Here are the 10 most searched diets on Google for 2020:

1. Keto diet.

The keto diet is back on top. Interestingly, it didn’t make the list at all in 2019, but in 2018 it was also at No. 1, and in 2017 it was No. 6. This only proves, much to my chagrin, that the keto diet’s popularity is not disappearing anytime soon.

Here’s the deal: The keto diet is very high in fat, supplies adequate protein and is very low in carbohydrates. There’s a lot of research being conducted on the keto diet, and even though there are keto success stories being shared in the scientific community, it’s still controversial.

A diet very high in saturated fat remains associated with an increased risk of heart disease. And putting your body into a ketogenic state, which is caused by cutting way back on carbs, isn’t something you should take lightly. Side effects include increased urination, bad breath, fatigue, vomiting and confusion. Who’s still game?

2. Intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting might have fallen to No. 2 after being No.1 in 2019, but it definitely seems to be around for the long haul. To be clear, though, there are many types of intermittent fasting, but the two most popular are either the 5:2 format or what’s referred to as time-restricted eating.

During time-restricted eating, you can eat within any 8-hour window: for example, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. During the remaining 16 hours of the day, no food is consumed, except zero-calorie beverages. The 5:2 format is when two non-consecutive days of the week are spent “fasting,” basically consuming around 500 calories per day. The remaining five days of the week, you can eat your regular diet.

There’s been a lot of research to conclude that you may lose weight on these types of diets. However, it’s still not understood if the benefits occur because you’re simply restricting calories (personally my guess) or because you’re not eating for long periods of time. And whether or not any of it’s sustainable for the long haul — that remains the real question.

3. Paleo diet.

Here’s a diet I thought had been slowly losing momentum. It was No. 3 on the list in 2015, and then much to my happiness, it wasn’t on the list again. Well, at least not until this year. Granted, the paleo diet does have some good traits: It encourages lots of fruits and veggies, lean meats, fish and healthy fats. However, it also advocates for eliminating dairy, whole grains, beans and legumes on the premise that cavemen were not farmers, but hunters and gatherers.

Eliminating these very healthy foods from our diets is where I cannot agree with the paleo approach. Research supports numerous benefits to a diet rich in whole grains, beans and legumes, especially to help prevent heart disease. Truth is, if we really wanted to follow a pure paleo diet, I think we would all need to live in the wilderness.

4. DASH diet.

Finally, a diet on this list that actually makes sense. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Since its creation some 20 years ago, it has been scientifically proven to help lower blood pressure.

The beauty of the DASH diet is that it doesn’t eliminate any food groups but rather places emphasis on certain foods it wants you to eat more of. For example, it encourages four to five servings of vegetables per day, four to five servings of fruit per day and two to three servings of low-fat dairy. It’s also designed to be rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium, specific nutrients that have been associated with lowering blood pressure. I can only say that I wish more of these types of diets were searched for.

5. Atkins diet.

If there’s one fad diet out there that has shown a lot of staying power it’s the Atkins diet. One could say that Atkins was the “king” of low-carb diets. “Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution,” Atkins’ first book, was originally published in 1972, long, long before Google was even a thing. And even though he’s no longer alive, it seems that one version or another of his diet keeps on living.

In 2016, Atkins 40 was No. 4 on the most searched Google list, and in 2015, it was the Atkins induction diet at No. 6. The overall gist of any version is that it is low in carbohydrates. For example, in the original diet during the two-week induction phase, only 20 grams of carbs are allowed. Eventually, as the diet progresses, the carbohydrate allowance does too. However, it seems most followers of the diet still try and keep their intake rather low because of their initial weight loss success.

Unfortunately, deprivation never wins out, and when they return to eating carbs, so does their weight. Any long-term, successful diet can’t be about eliminating the foods we love, but rather about learning to eat them in a healthier way.

6. Military diet.

Back on the list from the No. 3 spot in 2016 is the military diet, also known as the three-day diet. The gist of this diet is three days on and four days off.

During the “on” days, you consume less than 1,000 calories, and during the “off” days, you can take in around 1,500 calories. In other words, on the “on” days you starve yourself and on the “off” days you diet. Anyone will lose weight with this crazy plan because, on it, you basically eat nothing.

An example of a lunch meal: one egg, one slice of toast. I call that a snack. And you got to appreciate their sales approach: “A hunger pang here and there doesn’t compare to getting on the scale and seeing actual results.” Do they actually think “a hunger pang here and there” is a selling point? I, for one, do not.

7. Sirtfood diet.

Holding steady on the No. 7 spot, two years in a row, is the sirtfood diet. This is definitely a good example of celebrity power. I’m convinced if the very popular singer Adele wasn’t successful on this diet, it would never have gained such popularity.

The sirtfood diet claims that certain plant-based foods known as “sirtuin activators” can boost your body’s metabolism to promote weight loss, reverse aging and decrease inflammation in the body. Sirtfoods include red wine, dark chocolate, berries, coffee, kale, matcha green tea, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, parsley, red onions, soy and turmeric.

The diet plan involves two phases. First three days of phase one you consume 1,000 calories per day, made up of one sirtfood-heavy meal and three green juices. Then on days four to seven, you eat two sirtfood meals and two juices a day, for a total of 1,500 calories. Phase two, a two-week maintenance phase, consists of three meals full of sirtfoods and one green juice per day. All the meals throughout are chosen from recipes provided in the sirtfood book.

Any research at this time is limited to studies conducted invitro or on mice, so it’s hard to conclude that sirtuin-boosting foods have any weight loss or any anti-aging capabilities in humans. One can argue though that the sirtfoods promoted may definitely have some health benefits, but after the calorie-restricted phases are off, will you still lose weight? Not so sure.

8. Whole30.

Whole30 is another diet that isn’t that new but seems to have become quite popular again this year. According to its creators, Melissa Hartwig and her ex-husband Dallas, this diet plan will result in weight loss, high energy levels, better sleep, better mood — you name it — supposedly everything gets better.

The premise is for 30 days you eliminate certain foods from your diet, such as added sugar, dairy, grains, legumes and alcohol, which could be the cause for all your health woes. After 30 days you can start adding them back in if you wish and see how you feel.

But mind you, if along the way you slip-up in any way, no matter how small it is, back to day one for you. Keep in mind that this diet hasn’t been studied independently in peer-reviewed journals to support all its claims

9. Alkaline diet.

The alkaline diet is based on the idea that certain foods we eat are very acidic and are “bad” for us. And in order to prevent diseases such as arthritis and cancer, we should be eating foods that are more alkaline. Losing weight is just the bonus along the way.

Unfortunately the science for this theory is lacking. Our bodies, thanks to our lungs and kidneys, are naturally designed to keep a neutral pH. However, if you choose to ignore the science, you can enjoy eating a diet that eliminates dairy, eggs, meats, most grains, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol, but does include most fruits and veggies, soybeans, tofu, some nuts, seeds and legumes.

Oh, and don’t worry, you won’t need to exercise either. Sigh.

10. Noom.

Falling from the No. 3 spot last year, but not forgotten, is Noom. Noom is an app and diet plan that’s designed to be your personal weight-loss coach. It currently offers two 16-week programs — healthy weight and diabetes prevention — for a monthly fee.

The company says its users have an average weight loss of 18 pounds in 16 weeks, which is refreshing since that’s considered a healthy weight-loss rate. Noom claims it uses lifestyle intervention techniques to help participants reach their goals. I can’t argue with what appears to be a rational approach to weight loss; however, everyone’s weight-loss journey is different, and an app may not be effective for some.

The 10 most popular diets of 2020, according to Google searches:

1. Keto diet.

2. Intermittent fasting.

3. Paleo diet.

4. DASH diet.

5. Atkins diet.

6. Military diet.

7. Sirtfood diet.

8. Whole30.

9. Alkaline diet.

10. Noom.

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10 Most Searched Diets of 2020 on Google originally appeared on usnews.com

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