Diets are popular. Almost 25 million internet users worldwide Google search the word ‘diet.’ It seems like every other week a new diet pops up out of nowhere. What was a hot diet half a year ago has been long forgotten today. In 2012 we’ve, amongst others, seen the Juicing diet, Michael Phelps diet, Beyond diet and the Adriana Lima diet. It is not likely many people will be on one of these diets today.
So what’s the current flavour of the month? Let’s explore which diets have seen the biggest increase in interest compared to last month.
Number 5: Detox diet. Increase in searches: +130%
The detox diet is known for its cleansing effects. The foods in this diet are not contaminated by chemicals; they’re purely organic. The diet gets rid of food containing colourings, pesticides, and preservatives. A diet like this involves drinking large amounts of juices, and limiting certain foods, so that all irritants are eliminated from the body.
Number 4: Gluten free diet. Increase in searches: +250%
Number four on our list is the Gluten free diet. The basis of this diet is the exclusion of particular food groups. Many slimmers on this diet have stopped eating gluten. Gluten is found in spelt, wheat, kamut, barley and triticale. Doctors prescribe this type of diet for celiac disease. People that are gluten intolerant often suffer from an inflammatory skin condition.
Number 3: Paleo Diet. Increase in searches: + 2,850%
The Paleolithic diet, better known as the Paleo diet, the caveman or hunter-gatherer diet, is based on an ancient diet of animals and plants. Slimmers are allowed to eat meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fungi. Regularly consumed foods such as potatoes, sugar, legumes and processed oils are not allowed.
Number 2: HCG diet. Increase in searches: breakout (over 5000%)
People on the HCG diet are only allowed 500 calories a day. Purportedly, the HCG hormone suppresses hunger and triggers the body to use its fat for fuel. The foods taken in have to be unprocessed and mostly organic. The HCG hormone can be injected or administered via serum drops under the tongue. It has been reported that sticking to this diet is very difficult.
Number 1: Dukan diet. Increase in searches: breakout (over 5000%)
The number one slimming and weight management solution is the Dukan diet. It originated in France and is also known as the princess diet. Dieters largely eat proteins. Although the diet was designed 30 years ago by doctor Pierre Dukan, it is most popular now. People start the diet with an attack phase in which only oat bran and protein may be eaten. After the attack phase non-starchy vegetables are allowed and ultimately you are allowed to fall into your old eating habits but with one protein-only day every week.
But does popularity mean effectiveness as well?
Search engine rankings are one thing, but ultimately we need to know whether or not these diets actually help us lose weight. With this in mind we spoke to Dr James Stubbs, obesity research specialist at Slimming World on his thoughts about these top five diets.
Dr James says that any diet that restricts your caloric intake will lead to weight loss. But what matters is not just losing weight but keeping it off. Therefore, the diet that people can stick to for the long term is the right one.
Dr James continued to say:
"So finding a program that fits with day-to-day living and helping people fit healthy eating and physical activity into their everyday lives is more likely to work than any fast or faddy eating regime.
There is now consensus in the scientific literature that a package approach to diet should include: low energy dense foods including fruits, vegetables and whole cereals especially those high in fiber, reasonable increases in protein intake without increasing red meat intake, reduction of fat and sugar intake and high calorie beverages (including alcohol).”
Lori Rosenthal, a registered dietitian concurs with Dr Stubbs’ assessment:
Diets don’t work because they are often extreme, forcing followers to give up whole food groups and change their habits all at once. Although diets don’t work, healthy dietary and lifestyle changes do. The best way to go about losing weight and keeping it off is to make one or two healthy changes at a time, only adding another once a change has become part of your routine and you enjoy it.”
Despite experts suggesting that these diets are ineffective in the long term, their popularity is evident. In a digital world in which we demand everything instantly, the slow-burn of sustainable weight loss programmes doesn’t appeal. This is a worrying mind-set that weigth loss and health professionals need to address.