What diets most captured the attention of the pound-losing public this year? Google's annual "Zeitgeist" list reveals the weight-loss schemes that most piqued our curiosity.
And, in good news, this year's most searched-for eating plans were more well-rounded than last year's list, which included such ineffective and occasionally dangerous gimmicks as the raspberry ketone diet and the feeding tube diet. While some of the diets the Googling public researched in 2013 weren't what we'd call ideal, they were far more likely to stress whole, natural foods and nutrient variety. Here's to progress!
In 2013, you searched for...
10. Flexitarian Diet
U.S. News and World Report reports that this diet is for "casual vegetarians" -- those who prioritize a plant-based diet, but also like to tuck into a piece of sushi or a chicken taco every once in a while. Thanks to its balanced meal plans, flexibility and overall healthfulness, the Flexitarian Diet was ranked as the sixth healthiest diet in 2013 by the news organization.
9. Pescetarian Diet
Pescetarians eat a vegetarian diet with the addition of fish. This can be for health or for ethical reasons. In terms of healthfulness, a pescetarian diet can be ideal (see: the Okinawa diet), although as with vegetarianism, it is possible to eat unhealthfully. Check out, for example, this list of unhealthy fish.
8. Fruitarian Diet
Fruitarians -- those who eat mostly or all fruit -- have existed for centuries, but this year a potentially dangerous, fruit-based diet known as the 80:10:10 diet took hold on social media, particularly on Instagram, where photogenic banana breakfasts ruled the day.
The diet also caused waves after Ashton Kutcher revealed that his all-fruit regimen -- his weight loss strategy to play the rail-thin Apple founder, Steve Jobs -- landed him in the hospital.
Nutritionists point out that eating only fruit means you'll miss out on essential fatty acids, protein and other nutrients you need.
7. Omnivore Diet
Unlike many of the other diets on this list, the omnivore diet has no book, expert author, merchandise or defined plan associated with it. It is merely a diet in which one eats all things: dairy, wheat, red meat, gluten, fish. We have come to associate the term with Michael Pollan's 2006 book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, which served as a call to action for those who enjoyed meat and animal products but wished to support an ethical farming system.
6. Okinawa Diet
Japanese people are the most likely to make it past 100, so it stands to reason that adopting a traditional Japanese diet improves anyone's odds, right? Well ... probably not. But it certainly can't hurt: The Okinawa Diet consists of fresh vegetables, tofu, whole grains and fatty fish and encourages moderation with all things sweet, alcoholic or with saturated fats.
5. Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet, which champions high-protein, high fat foods and banishes any hint of added sugar or refined carbs, was originally created as a treatment for those with chronic, debilitating epilepsy. But, as i09 points out, the diet now has a following among healthy adults who think it may be a good weight management system.
In an ideal ketogenic eating plan, 60 percent of calories come from fat, 35 percent from protein, and 5 percent from carbs, reported i09. That's in stark contrast to how most of us eat: 5-15 percent protein, 10-20 percent fat, and 65-85 percent carbohydrates. The goal is to bring your body into ketosis -- a starvation state in which, starved of glucose from dietary carbohydrates, the body produces ketones in the liver. These compounds allow the body to process fat as energy, which can lead to weight loss. That said, it's a medical therapy -- not a diet -- and was designed to be supervised by medical professionals. For many, ketogenic eating can cause complications, including high cholesterol and chronic constipation.
4. Master Cleanse Diet
No one should do the Master Cleanse Diet. We repeat: No one should do this diet! Although it has been thoroughly debunked for nearly as many years as it's been in existence, many (including, at one point, Beyoncé) continue to turn to the diet as a weight loss or "detoxifying" technique. The diet consists of eschewing food in favor of a homemade cocktail of water, lemon juice, Grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper.
"During the fast, you can expect to feel hungry and may get headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sluggishness, diarrhea, nausea, or constipation," wrote nutritionist and public health expert Kathleen M. Zelman on WebMD.
3. Mediterranean Diet
A stalwart for the past several years, the heart-healthy, longevity-promoting Mediterranean diet emphasizes polyunsaturated fats, fresh fruits and veggies and nuts, beans and seeds. And 2013 continued to be a good year for the diet plan, which is based on the traditional eating habits of Greek, Spanish, Italian and other Mediterranean cultures. A large study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that using the diet was associated with improved health for more than 10,000 middle-aged women who participated.
2. Juice Cleanse Diet
Fashionable juice fasts like Blueprint Cleanse and the Starbucks-like chain Organic Avenue can sound great: Atone for previous episodes of decadence by consuming nothing but juiced fruits and veggies for three to 14 day increments. Unfortunately, this diet isn't the cure-all its pseudo-scientific labeling claims. Frankly, there's no research that proves its benefits and plenty that suggests it isn't beneficial: One 2003 study of adult men who fasted for eight days found that although cholesterol, insulin and nonesterified fatty acids were lower after eight days, within a week, those levels had returned to their pre-fasting rates. In other words? There was no lasting benefit to the fast.
1. Paleo Diet
It's no surprise that the Paleo Diet -- also known as the Caveman or Stone-Age diet -- was the most searched-for diet of the year, thanks to its growing popularity among both mainstream eaters and bodybuilders and CrossFitters alike. With accessible recipe and lifestyle blogs like Nom Nom Paleo and Paleo OMG and famous adherents, 2013 was the year of Paleo. And while the jury is still out on whether or not it's a good idea to eat like our prehistoric ancestors (or whether the Paleo diet actually mimics these Cro-Magnon eating patterns), there are some lessons we can all take away from Paleo, like eating whole foods and avoiding foods made from refined sugar, along with flour and processed meat.
Check out last year's list:
10. Marissa Miller Diet
That Victoria Secret model Marissa Miller's habits comprised the tenth most common diet search shouldn't surprise anyone. And while her looks may have more to do with winning the genetic lottery than any particular affinity for kale juice. That said, if her interview with <em>Women's Health</em> is any indication, <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/marisa-miller?page=2">she eats a healthful diet</a>: <blockquote>"I'll cook a batch of brown rice or quinoa and keep it in the fridge, so when I get hungry, I can easily dress it up with olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper, and then add veggies," says Marisa, who often has zucchini and spinach.</blockquote> But perhaps it was <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/marisa-miller?page=2">her admission that she eats in the buff </a>that got all those people clicking.
9. Juicing Diet
Fashionable juice fasts like Blueprint Cleanse, Organic Avenue and the Salma Hayek-backed Cooler Cleanse sound great: reset the mistakes of diets past by eschewing solid food, drinking healthful fruit and vegetable juices for three-to-14 days. But the research proves little in the way of benefit. One 2003 study of <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12624474">adult men who fasted for eight days</a> found that although cholesterol, insulin and nonesterified fatty acids were lower after eight days, within a week, those levels had returned to their pre-fasting rates. In other words: there was no lasting benefit to the fast. Or, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/fashion/28Cleanse.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0">as New York <em>Times</em> writer and resident juicing tester Judith Newman put it</a>: "You know what it cleans out of you best? The will to live."
8. Feeding Tube Diet
Also known as the K-E Diet (short for Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition), this short-lived trend diet reached a fever pitch in the Google-sphere after the <em>New York Times</em> profiled several women who used a nasogastric feeding tube -- developed to feed the gravely ill or injured -- in order to lose weight. The diet, which is only available at one Florida clinic, works by slowly feeding the dieter with a fat and protein-based solution, accounting for 800-calories per day over a 24-hour period. The developer of the diet, Dr. Oliver R. Di Pietro, allows patients to eat nothing else besides water, unsweetened tea and black coffee. He claims that a person can lose 20 pounds or 10 percent of their weight. As we at Healthy Living <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/18/k-e-diet-does-it-work_n_1432790.html">wrote at the height of the diet's publicity</a>: <blockquote>As with any restricted calorie diet, there are risks of headaches, weakness, dehydration and fatigue. Despite this -- and the tube’s dramatic appearance -- the K-E Diet isn't the most dangerous weight loss fad on the block, according to Ren-Fielding. That doesn’t mean it’s a good solution for excess weight. Any quick weight loss scheme -- whether via tube, straw or fork -- is a short-term solution. It will result in dropped pounds, but those come from lost water and muscle mass, rather than fat. The trouble with weight loss of this type is that it returns as soon as the diet ends -- and, it is more likely to return as fat, rather than muscle.</blockquote>
7. NV Diet Pill
The NV Diet Pill, popularized by Carmen Electra, promises to burn fat, tone the body and improve the appearance of skin, nails and hair. There are no clinical studies to back up any of those claims.
6. Miranda Kerr Diet
Supermodel Miranda Kerr's diet is full of healthful, nutritious foods -- <a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-articles/miranda-kerr-on-personal-style#slide-1">she even became a certified health coach practitioner,</a> she told <em>Harper's Bazaar</em>. "Rather than diet my family instilled in me a real appreciation and passion for good health and organic living. I adopt the 80/20 rule. 80 percent good, 20 percent indulgent and that works for me and my body personally," she said, adding that she drinks warm water with lemon and alkalined water all day, as well as <a href="http://nccam.nih.gov/health/noni">noni juice </a> -- a healthful fruit juice from her native Australia. In the same interview, Kerr said that she did her best to follow Dr. Peter D'Adamo's controversial Blood Type Diet.
5. Adriana Lima Diet
The very new mother recently walked in the Victoria Secret fashion show, prompting some curiosity about the supermodel's super weight loss abilities. According to a report in <em>The Telegraph</em>, she stuck to <a href="http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG8872623/Victorias-Secret-show-What-does-it-take-to-be-a-Victorias-Secret-Angel.html">an all-liquid diet for nine days before the event</a>: <blockquote>Lima drinks a gallon of water a day. For nine days before the show, she will drink only protein shakes -- "no solids." The concoctions include powdered egg. Two days before the show, she will abstain from the daily gallon of water, and "just drink normally". Then, 12 hours before the show, she will stop drinking entirely.</blockquote> This isn't so much a diet for health as a crash weight loss strategy for a particular event -- one that may not work and that can cause a host of health problems, like dizziness, nausea and exhaustion. Perhaps not what Googlers had in mind.
4. P.I.N.K. Method Diet
The <a href="http://www.pinkmethod.com/">P.I.N.K. Method</a> was designed specifically for women, and stands for "power, intensity, nutrition, and kardio." Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/pink-method-review">reviewed the diet program</a> and found that, while some of the advice was great -- such as encouraging physical activity and nutrient-rich foods -- some of the health claims made her uncomfortable. "Even in the best circumstances, many of the claims are overstated and not based on research," Mangieri told WebMD. "Foods are not fat burners and not everyone is going to rejuvenate skin, hair, and nails, and heighten their energy and libido on this plan."
3. Raspberry Ketone Diet
After Dr. Mehmet Oz called raspberry ketones "the number one miracle in a bottle," interest in the supplement skyrocketed. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/raspberry-ketone-dr-oz_n_1388258.html">As we wrote previously</a>, raspberry ketones stimulate the production of adiponectin, a hormone found in fatty tissue that improves our ability to metabolize fat. Studies show that thin people have higher levels of adiponectin than overweight and obese people. But does that mean that taking the supplement will actually result in weight loss? That logical leap has yet to bear out in the research, which has only been conducted on mice and not humans.
2. Beyond Diet
Founded by New Jersey-based nutritionist, Isabel De Los Rios, the Beyond Diet is an online diet system and community that is based on eating for body type, portion control, ratios of fat to carbs to protein and "clean" eating -- a term used by many dieters to indicate food made from organic, whole ingredients. The system costs $47 and includes an online community and a newsletter from De Los Rios. Diet chat boards are full of people who feel that <a href="http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/514207--beyond-diet-have-you-tried-it-looking-for-opinions">the advice doesn't warrant the price tag</a> as most of the tips are in line with other systems out there, but that certainly doesn't mean that it's bad advice. <blockquote><strong>Correction:</strong> A previous version of this article erroneously listed Beyoncé's diet as the second most-searched for diet term of 2012. We regret the error.</blockquote>
1. Michael Phelps Diet
Record-breaking, history-making Olympic great Michael Phelps is nearly as well known for his <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/michael-phelps-diet-furious-pete_n_1746922.html">reported 12,000 calorie a day training diet</a> as he is for prowess in the pool. <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2012/05/michael-phelps-12000-calorie-diet-just-a-myth/1#.UMe4rpPjnMA">Never mind that his actual game-time calorie intake is a more modest 4,000,</a> according to <em>USA Today</em>. Given the nature of his carbo-loading ways (necessary for his massively rigorous training schedule), we can only imagine that this diet search was merely a way to satisfy curiosity and not a search for meaningful health information.