From WeightWatchers to Paleo, we’ve tracked the rise and fall of some of the last decade’s most popular diet trends:
- 5:2 Diet
- Paleo Diet
- Dukan Diet
- Sugar free Diet
- Weight Watchers Diet
- Mediterranean Diet
- Gluten free Diet
- Raw Food Diet
The data in the above chart shows the changing trends based on Google searches for each of these diets over the last 10 years. From this, we can see the Paleo Diet had the highest peak in interest, around 2014. The Dukan Diet seemed to skyrocket in 2012, but it has since tapered off. Hover over the circles to see each diet in detail.
The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 Diet, sometimes known as the ‘Fast Diet,’ involves two non-consecutive days of calorie restriction (500 calories for women, 600 for men) each week and normal eating—without restriction—on the other five days of the week.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet follows the idea that we should imitate the same food groups eaten by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. That means higher animal protein intake, low carb intake, non-starchy fruits and vegetables, no grains, and higher fat intake.
The diet started to build momentum in the second half of 2013, but it really exploded in 2014. It has tapered off more in 2016 with a few spikes of interest along the way.
The Dukan Diet
Originating in France, the Dukan Diet is protein-based and has four stages: attack, cruise, consolidation, and stabilisation, plus over 100 “allowed” foods that are mostly protein-rich or non-starchy vegetables. The diet gradually re-introduces more starchy and fatty foods towards the last phase.
We can see the Dukan Diet first came onto the scene in early 2010, the same year Dr. Pierre Dukan published his book on the diet. Popularity saw a massive peak in early 2011, but then gradually fell out of fashion from 2012 onwards.
The Sugar Free Diet
As it sounds, the Sugar Free Diet asks people to give up sugars—mainly refined sugars, flours, white bread, white rice, and potatoes. It emphasizes low glycemic index foods to maintain your blood sugar levels.
The Sugar Free Diet popularity has been growing steadily for many years until its first big spike in early 2012. Popularity exploded around the beginning of 2016; it seems sugar free was this year’s must have New Year’s Resolution!
The Weight Watchers Diet
Weight Watchers uses their Points counting system to monitor food intake. Foods that are higher in sugar and saturated fat have a higher point value, while foods that are more nutritionally dense and fill you up longer “cost” less points.
Unlike other diets that have had more steady increases or decreases, the popularity of Weight Watchers has increased almost the same amount at the beginning of each year from 2005 to 2013, then declined more as each year goes on.
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet emphasizes most plant-based foods: whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It opts for healthy oils instead of butter and using herbs and spices instead of salt.
The Mediterranean Diet began in 2005 but didn’t have that big of an impact until 2008 and 2009. However, it really took off at the beginning of 2013 before people seem to have quickly lost interest again.
The Gluten Free Diet
Those on the Gluten Free Diet avoid anything containing gluten, which is a protein in wheat. Any grains and other packaged products containing gluten are avoided.
The Gluten Free Diet first spiked in 2007 and 2009, then it slowly grew in interest and peaked in 2012. Popularity remained high between 2012 and mid-2014 but the diet started to fall out of fashion towards 2015.
The Raw Food Diet
Raw foodists often believe cooking makes foods toxic, so the Raw Food Diet involves mostly raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains, nuts, and seeds.
The Raw Food Diet has garnered a pretty moderate amount of interest throughout the last decade, with its biggest peak at the beginning of 2007. It declined most from mid-2014 through 2016.