If you did some internet sleuthing on a diet in the past year, you’re in good company. With all the information available online, who doesn’t hit up Google to do a little research before committing to a new eating plan? From brand-new apps to ancient eating plans, 2018 was full of some off-the-wall — and some totally tame — diet trends. So what are most people searching (and eating) these days? Here are the top-trending diets of 2018, according to Google’s Year in Search.
1. Keto Diet: Not surprisingly, the diet that tops the list is the one that took 2018 by storm. We’ve all heard about (or quite possibly have tried) the ketogenic, or keto, diet. This counterintuitive macronutrient breakdown keeps carbs extremely low (usually about 10 percent of calories) and fats extremely high (up to 80 percent of calories), with protein hovering somewhere in between. Though it does make many people drop pounds lightning fast, health experts have concerns about its long-term use. Nutrient losses and an increased risk of heart disease can result from too much fat and too little fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
2. Dubrow Diet: When celebrity couple Heather and Dr. Terry Dubrow’s book The Dubrow Diet hit shelves just two months ago, it quickly climbed the ranks to become one of Amazon’s best sellers. (If you’re not familiar, Heather Dubrow starred as a real housewife on Bravo’s reality TV show Real Housewives of Orange County, and her husband Terry has his own plastic surgery show Botched.) Their book outlines a plan for so-called “interval eating” — essentially the same concept as intermittent fasting — with the claim that you’ll not only lose weight but also reverse the aging process. So do an actress and a plastic surgeon make trustworthy diet experts? Some critics have questioned their credibility and the diet’s sustainability.
3. Noom Diet: A diet program based on an app, Noom calls itself “Weight Loss for Millennials.” Noom users log in to an interactive interface that allows them to track meals, minutes of daily exercise, motivation levels, and other measures of health, all while enjoying access to a real-life personal coach. Many have described it as Weight Watchers for the digital age. If you’re already joined at the hip to your phone, Noom could be your ideal weight loss tool.
4. Carnivore Diet: All meat, all the time? That’s the idea on the carnivore diet, made famous by various celebrities and Intagrammers in 2018. Devotees contend that eating nothing but meat has cured health problems like arthritis and depression. But evidence for these claims is thus far only anecdotal, with no major human studies on the effects of an all-meat diet. We chatted with experts for a more in-depth look at the carnivore diet here.
5. Mediterranean Diet: The Mediterranean diet is one “trend” that’s certainly not new to 2018. Based on the traditional diets of people living around the Mediterranean Sea, this eating plan involves portion-controlled amounts of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and moderate meat and dairy — typically along with lifestyle practices like communal eating and low-intensity exercise like walking. US News and World Reportrated it 2018’s “Best Diet Overall” for its solid evidence-based health benefits.
6. Optavia Diet: Medifast is the long-established diet company behind Optavia, a line of food products designed as meal replacements. Optavia takes the guesswork out of what you should eat by providing bars, shakes, and other grab-and-go foods that provide most of your daily diet. You then supplement with one “regular” meal made up of a meat, vegetable, and healthy fat. Optavia’s meal replacements contain very few calories (only around 1,000), so in essence, it’s a straight-up calorie control diet. Check out our take on the pros and cons of meal replacements here.
7. Dr. Gundry Diet: Who is Dr. Steven Gundry, and should you eat like him? Gundry is a thoracic surgeon who claims that our genetics are programmed for survival, leading us to overeat. His book Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution explains three phases (“teardown,” “restoration,” and “longevity”) intended to kick-start weight loss and reduce the risk of diet-related disease. The gist by the end: Eat less animal protein, less sugar, and more plant foods.
8. Fasting Diet: In the midst of all the different ways to eat, one 2018 trend garnered attention around not eating, as recent research has shed light on how short-term fastingcould help with weight loss. Some proponents claim that restricting your food intake to a small window of hours during the day adds a powerful boost to metabolism. Others believe that, with fewer hours available for eating, you’ll simply eat less.
9. FODMAP Diet: If you suffer from digestive problems like chronic bloating or irritable bowel syndrome, you’ve probably wondered how changing your diet might help. Enter the FODMAP diet, an acronym for the types of carbohydrates believed to cause digestive distress in many sufferers: Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, and Polyols. (Yeah, now we see why they use the acronym instead.) While staying away from foods that contain these carbs may help to curb tummy troubles, long-term adherence can be difficult, since FODMAPs are found in dozens of common foods, including many fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products. Experts also warn that going without these foods may negatively affectthe good bacteria in your gut.
10. The Shepherd’s Diet: The Shepherd’s Diet — where you eat lamb chops all the time? Not quite. Based on a book of the same name by author Kristina Wilds, this diet claims to be a “biblically inspired seven-step system” for losing weight. Taking cues from the diets of biblical figures, Wilds offers weekly meal plans and encourages readers to seek the direction of the Holy Spirit for their health. Reviewers say the Shepherd’s Diet is essentially a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb plan not unlike keto. But many users have spoken out about the program’s hidden costs and lack of actual biblical references. Intriguingly, a Consumers Compare analysis showed that over 60 percent of online reviewers gave the book one star.