2016 was a pretty groundbreaking year in health and wellness—just scroll through your Instagram feed.
Mega-popular users like @talinegabriel and @shutthekaleup are all about vibrantly colored healthy smoothies, super stacked avocado toasts, and decked out vegan doughnuts. Once regarded as too “hippie” or just plain weird, alternative healthy foods like bone broth and golden milk are considered pretty normal. But despite its Instagram popularity, holistic eating hasn’t quite taken the world by storm … yet.
Google just published its most-searched diets of 2016, we were pretty surprised. To be honest, we didn’t even know some of these were a thing! Turns out we’ve been living in our green smoothie bubble for a little too long.
In any case, we went through each diet and found out all the pertinent information so you don’t have to. Read on to learn more about Google’s Top Ten Diets.
In 2016, the internet was desperately trying to figure out what the GOLO Diet was. At least, that’s why I think this obscure dietary supplement tops Google’s “Most Searched Diets” list. GOLO claims to be a two-part program that includes a natural diet supplement and a meal plan called the “Metabolic Fuel Matrix.”
The entire website is a bit opaque and lacking in any actual detail (or scientific evidence), so it took a lot of reading and more Googling to figure out that the GOLO Diet is meant to stabilize insulin levels in overweight individuals. You take the GOLO supplement—which is not approved by the FDA—and contains ingredients like banaba leaf, chromium, and Rhodiola to lower blood sugar levels, and then follow a basic low-carb diet.
Although the brand cites multiple scientific studies, the research they link to was sponsored by the company itself—not exactly objective. And we’re fans of using botanicals to improve health, but the proprietary diet supplement that’s the backbone of the GOLO Diet seems a bit arbitrary. We’d skip it.
Not sure if the Taco Cleanse is a new high or a new low for the United States, but let’s opt to look at it positively—maybe all we need to make America great again is more tacos.
Essentially a parody of all the crazy diets out there, the Taco Cleanse is a cookbook with 30 days worth of vegan taco recipes. According to the website, there are plenty of “benefits”:
The benefits of a Taco Cleanse are too numerous to name but here are some highlights:
You will wake up in the morning with new enthusiasm when you know your day is going to start with a breakfast taco.
Your chakras will become realigned into an optimal taco pattern.
Your life will become more fun and you will make more friends while consuming the required margarita supplements on the plan.
Your sleep will improve as you begin to detox from the negative self images associated with other diets.
So in. Think about it—vegan tacos are likely to be packed with tons of veggies, healthy fats (guacamole, natch), and plant-based proteins. By ditching the cheese, sour cream, and fried stuff, The Taco Cleanse pretty successfully makes the case for tacos as health food. While we won’t expect major weight loss, we have a feeling we’d probably see the other benefits immediately.
Based on basic training canteen fare, the Military Diet doesn’t seem to have any basis in nutrition or health. The free 3-day diet plan is essentially a low-calorie meal plan—as long as you stay below 1,500 calories a day, you can enjoy vanilla ice cream, hot dogs, and white bread. The whole thing is a bit spartan—with the low calorie count and that lack of fiber in the diet, you’ll definitely feel hungry, too—but it seems like proving you’re tough enough to stick to it is a key element of the Military Diet.
The website boasts that you’ll lose “up to 10 pounds in a week” on the diet without exercise—but it seems more like an 80s-style crash diet thanks to additions like grapefruit and low-fat cottage cheese and lack of scientific backing.
Low-carb diets have entered a new era. In the past, they were regarded as restrictive and fatty—but in recent years many scientific studies have been published that prove it might be one of the most effective ways to lose weight. The Atkins 40 is an update on the classic Atkins diet, and the method that Kim Kardashian credits her incredible 70-pound weight loss after giving birth to her second child.
Dieters on the Atkins 40 are simply restricted to 40 grams of carbohydrates a day—hence the name—which a little less than what you’d find in two slices of whole wheat bread. That’s basically the only rule to follow, unlike the old Atkins diet that asked subscribers to cycle their fruit intake or avoid dairy products on certain days.
Based in science, the Atkins 40 is clearly effective. We also like that it’s a bit more customizable than the older, more rigid Atkins plan. And hey, if it worked for Kim K …
Most people who’ve heard of the ultra low-carb Ketogenic might not realize it was actually created in 1924 as a way to treat epilepsy. Crafted by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic, the Ketogenic diet is extremely high in fat and low in carbohydrates, and includes a moderate intake of protein daily. Wilder created the program while treating children with epilepsy who would experience 10-20 seizures a day. With no way to treat them with drugs—the first anticonvulsant pharmaceuticals didn’t surface until the 1940s—he turned to nutrition.
For epilepsy patients who don’t respond to medication, the Ketogenic diet can literally be a lifesaver because it effectively eliminates seizures. Although the diet is strictly medical, during the low-carb diet craze people turned to the Ketogenic Diet to accelerate weight loss. It has only gained in popularity since methods like the Bulletproof Diet and the Paleo Diet have become more mainstream.
Getting the body into a state of ketosis is key for seeing results on the Keto diet. Basically, when the body is exposed to a high-fat, low-carb diet for a long enough period of time it starts to use energy differently. Instead of burning through carbohydrates (the preferred method of fuel), the body burns fat for energy. When people reach ketosis, they burn fat at a higher rate and see expedited weight loss.
Sounds great, right? The only catch is that it’s incredibly hard to maintain ketosis; it varies from person to person, but most people need to stay below 30 grams of carbohydrates a day. It also takes a lot of planning a dedication—you probably won’t be able to eat out with friends, and you’ll have to bid adieu to booze—so this diet isn’t for the faint of heart.
The Dissociated Diet has been around for a while, but its most recent incarnations (Think: The Fast Metabolism Diet, The Alkaline Diet) have brought the spotlight back on this dodgy methodology. Followers of the diet essentially stick to one food group at every meal—never eat proteins and starches together, avoid mixing alkaline and basic foods when eating, and leave at least four hours between meals.
There is virtually zero scientific evidence that proves “alkalizing” your body works. High-alkaline diets are relatively healthy and unprocessed, and contain lots of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies … so it makes sense that you’d feel pretty good while applying it. But there’s essentially no proof that eating a single food group is better for your digestion or nutrition.
Speaking as a nutritionist, the Wild Diet is probably the only eating style on this list that I’d recommend to a client. A modified version of the Paleo diet, it involves eating high-quality vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats while following a basic schedule of intermittent fasting. There’s zero calorie counting or deprivation on the Wild Diet—you can eat as much as you want, as long as you stick to certain food groups.
The Wild Diet’s creator, Abel James, competed on the TV show, “My Diet Is Better Than Yours.” On the show, his contestant lost a whopping 87 pounds and dropped his body fat percentage from 52% to 30% in roughly 14 weeks. Pretty effective, right?
Unlike the Taco Diet, there doesn’t seem to be an official “Pizza Diet” floating around out there on the web. It seems that this search term is more wishful thinking than anything (“Is there a diet where you just eat pizza? Because that sounds amazing … “), although there are a few men who seem to survive on pizza alone.
Please don’t do this. Vegetables are good.
One of Google’s most-searched diets year after year, the Dukan Diet is essentially the Euro version of the Atkins diet. It’s a bit complicated, with four different stages that require dieters to slowly add different foods back into their meal plans, starting with only protein and eventually integrating the whole food pyramid.
If you like the low-carb lifestyle, try the Dukan Diet. It’s been around for a while and clearly works, but some find it difficult to stick to for obvious reasons.
Remember when the Banana Diet was a thing? Basically, people ate only bananas all day long—they could have as many as they wanted, whenever they felt like, as long as it was pure banana. Well, that’s the Mono Diet: Eat one food for every meal, for anywhere from 48 hours to 30 days.
Yes, you might lose weight if you only eat potatoes for the rest of the year. But you’ll also be missing out on really important nutrients … so we can’t recommend this diet choice in good conscience.