The Most Googled Diets Evaluated By A Dietitian

by Zena Wozniak

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For anyone in the market for a new diet in the new year, you may be researching online to see what’s good. You’re not alone! Below is a list of the most googled diets of 2017.  Included are some classics (plant-based and mediterranean), a few celebrity diets, and lastly, a few extreme diets we aren’t so sure about (boiled eggs and coffee, anyone?)

Sarah Greenfield, RD, CSSD, weighs in on the best and worst of the bunch.

Apple cider vinegar for weight loss

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

On this diet, you simply drink a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before each meal. Apple cider vinegar is supposed to act as an appetite suppressant and help burn fat and boost your metabolism.

Dietitian’s Verdict

This is a great place to start. While I love apple cider vinegar, this alone will not make a drastic change in weight loss – especially if no additional dietary changes are made. Some preliminary research shows apple cider vinegar before meals can decrease your overall caloric intake. It can also decrease the rate at which sugar releases into the bloodstream. This means it’s good to take it with starchier foods. So, while it’s healthy to include apple cider vinegar in your daily diet, don’t expect to see big weight loss.

Plant based vegan lentil soup

2. Plant-Based Diet

Also known as vegan. Plant-based diets eliminate all meat and animal byproducts including milk, butter, eggs, and honey. With the viral popularity of the What The Health documentary on Netflix this year, we’re not surprised to see people looking into a plant-based lifestyle.

dietitian’s Verdict

I am totally a proponent of plant-based diets. There are numerous health benefits. However, this type of diet is typically a lot higher in carbohydrates and not suited for everyone. In general, cardio-based athletes do well on this type of diet (i.e. marathon runners and tri-athletes.) A plant-based lifestyle is tricky to do well. I end up seeing a lot of vegans with compromised digestion and bloating. With that in mind, give it a try and see how you feel. Focus on healthy fats like avocado, hemp seeds, chia, flax, and walnuts. Get your protein from plant-based sources like tempeh, vegan protein powder, beans, quinoa and lots of veggies!

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

3. Tom Brady Diet

If you thought football was all pizza and wings, think again. The New England Patriot quarterback revealed his extreme clean eating regime in his book The TB12 Method. In it, he reports drinking 12 – 25 glasses of water a day. Meals are 80% vegetables to focus on alkalizing the body and decreasing inflammation.

An interview with his personal chef revealed that Tom Brady avoids white sugar, white flour, MSG, iodized salt, nightshades, dairy, coffee, and other caffeine. On the list of foods that are not entirely restricted but rarely eaten are white rice, bread, cold cuts, pineapples and yogurt. One thing he does indulge in? Protein powder. He reports having up to three or four scoops of protein powder in a single day.

dietitian’s Verdict

This is a great diet in theory, but it’s very challenging to implement (especially if you don’t have your own personal chef!) I love the idea of plant-based diet with small amounts of animal protein. This is a sustainable diet for most people. Drinking lots of water is always crucial for health. While this diet is very restrictive, if you follow it about 80% of the time, you will still receive great health benefits.

Boiled egg with grapefruit and salad

4. Boiled Egg Diet

A genius marketing ploy by egg farmers which promises to help you lose twenty-four whopping pounds in only two weeks. Only kidding about the involvement of egg farmers, of course, but we can’t imagine who else devised this. For two weeks, your breakfast consists of two boiled eggs and grapefruit. Lunch and dinners include lean proteins (eggs, chicken, turkey, and fish) served with a side of low-carb vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms and spinach). Bread, pastas, rice and other grains are eliminated as well as fruits and vegetables high in carbohydrates. Snacks are strictly forbidden and beverages are limited to water and zero-calorie drinks.

dietitian’s Verdict

This is the hackers guide to weight-loss. The only problem is it’s not sustainable and usually when people drop large amounts of weight in a short period of time, they gain it right back plus some additional pounds. Also, this type of diet gets really boring quickly. It is best to follow this diet with the addition of some complex carbs to make it more sustainable. The weight loss will not be as quick but it will stay off longer. My recommendation is to only use this diet as a jumpstart to weight loss and then add in more complex carbohydrates like sweet potato, quinoa, amaranth,  to make it more sustainable.

A post shared by Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) on

5. Emily Ratajkowski Diet

If you ask us, this search is more a fascinating dietary inquiry on someone who’s won the genetic lottery but we’ll take the bait. Harper’s Bazaar got the scoop on model Emily Ratajkowski’s diet. Every day begins with a kouign-amann pastry and black coffee. Lunch is a salad or a sandwich. Though she acknowledges the temptation, Emily says she is “well-behaved” when meals are catered on set but does indulge in the occasional cupcake or croissant. Dinner is always out at a restaurant. Her favorite LA restaurants include Bestia, Café Gratitude and Mako. Emily does not shy away from eating meat, even saying that her body “craves iron.”

dietitian’s Verdict

Genetics do play a role in the way our bodies metabolize macronutrients (carbs, fats, protein) and how we store fat. This gorgeous woman definitely has some good genetics! We could attribute her physique to portion control, but for most of us, starting the day off with a pastry only sets us up to eat more sugar and throw portion control out the window. In fact, a high carbohydrate breakfast can often cause blood sugar to spike, leading to a decreased ability to regulate appetite throughout the day. While it might work for her, for the rest of us I’d say start the day with a high protein, healthy fat and high fiber meal.

Ketogenic friendly foods

6. Ketogenic Diet Plan

The ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carb, high fat plan. A ketogenic diet allows for meat, fish, eggs, natural fats, cheese, leafy greens and other low-carb vegetables. It eliminates fruit, potatoes, pasta, rice, bread and other carbohydrates. This diet is designed to stop your body from relying on carbohydrates for energy and instead, convert stored fat into energy called ketones. For a first-hand account of what it’s like to follow the keto diet, check out our 30-day keto experiment.

Dietitian’s Verdict

Some people do really well on the ketogenic diet, but it’s hard to follow. The goal is to keep total carbohydrate intake for the day below 25 grams, switching your metabolism from using sugar for energy to using fat. People often experience something called the keto flu during this transition for about 1 week or 2 where they feel very sick. However, many people report more energy and better focus on this type of diet.

It’s not something I would suggest for a long-term way of eating. But, if you are active and plateaued with your weight, trying the keto diet for a period of time can help you lose that last few pounds.

Mystery diet

7. GOLO Diet

The GOLO diet is actually bit mysterious. (Perhaps that’s why this diet has made the most googled diets list two years in a row.) The diet markets itself as an insulin resistance diet plan. It allows for fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, bread, pasta, and butter but keeps the specific details locked down until you purchase a 30, 60 or 90-day plan. It also requires you to take their Release supplement.

Dietitian’s Verdict

The allure of this type of diet is that everything is all planned out for you. Follow their food plan, take the supplement, and reach out when you need support. If you are looking for a regimented plan, this could work for you. But bottom line, you could save some money by following Micheal Pollan’s simple and straight forward plan: “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

People saying grace before eating

8. The Shepherd’s Diet

A biblical diet plan. No, seriously. The $47.00 program includes The Shepherd’s Diet Ebook, The What Would Jesus Eat Field Guide, The Moses Secret Fat Loss Protocol, Prayer Warrior Anti-Stress Guide, Fat Burning Furnace Nutrients Support and 60-day money-back guarantee. Frankly, it’s a bit suspect that the company behind this is called “ClickBank.” We had trouble uncovering specifics but the general principle encourages seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction and biblical assistance to determine the right nutritional choices, which appear to include high-fat foods.

Dietitian’s Verdict

Well, you can’t argue with Jesus! I am a big proponent of eating a higher, healthy fat diet. Including foods like avocados, coconut milk, nuts, and seeds can help fill you up, decrease inflammation and even lead to weight loss. And while I am not discrediting the Holy Spirit in giving some great nutrition advice, I would suggest taking some time to meditate, decrease stress and connect with your true feelings. This can help curb emotional and mindless snacking. All in all, I support including more healthy fat in your diet and connecting to your own version of spirituality to positively impact your health.

Cup of espresso for coffee diet

9. Coffee Diet

The coffee diet is, well, pretty much what it sounds like. This diet encourages drinking a whole lot of coffee in combination with a “sensible eating plan.” This plan comes from The Coffee Lover’s Diet by Bob Arnot. In the book, he explains how coffee burns fat, suppresses appetite and speeds up metabolism. The plan suggests drinking hot, black coffee after each meal as well as before bathing and exercising.

Dietitian’s Verdict

Ever heard the term too much of a good thing can actually be bad? Coffee is a stimulant and while there is beneficial research to show enhancement in performance during workouts, drinking coffee throughout the day will eventually ruin your health.

Your body doesn’t want to be on overdrive and loaded with caffeine, this is perceived as stress. Prolonged stress eventually causes our adrenal glands to stop working properly and hormone levels tank, specifically, cortisol. So while you may lose weight in the beginning, eventually your body will crash. While starting the day with a cup of coffee is not bad, drinking it all day long is not great for you.

Mediterranean Diet plate with a view

10. Mediterranean Diet Plan

A seemingly reasonable diet plan that will make you feel like a well-fed Grecian goddess. This diet is based on the traditional foods eaten in Italy and Greece. On the Mediterranean diet plan you’re allowed to eat vegetables, fruits nuts, seeds, whole grains, breads, fish, and extra virgin olive oil to your heart’s content. Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt are eaten in moderation. A single glass of red wine is also encouraged per day. Red meat is rarely consumed. Added sugar, processed meats, refined grains, oils and other processed foods are eliminated. Studies show that this diet can cause weight loss, prevent heart attacks, strokes and type 2 diabetes.

Dietitian’s Verdict

This is one of the healthier diets out there and it’s easy to follow. It consist of whole foods with a focus on anti-inflammatory fats, specifically omega 3 fatty acids. There are many studies highlighting the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and this gets a big thumbs up from me. Bottom line, if you are looking for a great new way to eat, fuel yourself as the Grecian goddess you were meant to be!


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