WHETHER it’s Weight Watchers, Slimming World or veganism most of us have tried to lose weight at some point in our lives.
Some diets restrict your calorie intake while others encourage you to make healthy swaps.
New research has now revealed the most popular diets in the world.
While some diets have stood the test of time, others seemed to have waned in popularity.
Slimming World was voted the UK’s top diet with 586,000 Google searches a month
But what are the world’s favourite diets and could they help you shed the pounds?
1. Keto Diet
With 2.1 million searches, the Keto Diet is the world’s most preferred form of weight loss.
The keto diet involves eating lots of “good” fat, to curb hunger pangs, while cutting out carbs and eating moderate amounts of protein.
It’s said to boost energy levels and help speed up weight loss.
The diet relies on a normal metabolic process called ketosis – that helps the body keep working.
It’s where the body, starved of carbs for energy, starts to burn fat reserves instead.
For healthy people, who don’t have diabetes and aren’t pregnant, ketosis usually kicks in after three or four days of following the plan and eating less than 50g of carbs a day.
That’s about three slices of bread, two small bananas or a low-fat fruit yog.
So if you’re cutting out all those carbs, what can you eat?
Fat is the answer! It should make up about 60 to 80 per cent of total daily calories, while protein makes up 10 to 15 per cent and carbs are less than 10 per cent.
And it’s not just a calorie free-for-all. Keto enthusiasts should cap their daily intake at 1,800 calories a day.
If it sounds like Atkins, it’s not far off – the main difference being limiting protein on a daily basis.
The best Keto recipes
To give you an idea, these are some sample keto recipes…
- BREAKFAST: 2 eggs, half an avocado and 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs with 4 bacon rashers and grilled tomatoes
- Egg, tomato, basil and goats cheese omelette
- Sugar free yoghurt with natural peanut butter, cocoa powder and stevia.
- LUNCH: Baked chicken served with fried bacon, shredded lettuce and grated Parmesan cheese
- Fried salmon served with broccoli, butter and grated cheddar cheese
- Grilled aubergine, courgette, black olives, almonds, leafy greens, lemon juice and cheddar cheese – dressed with olive oil.
- DINNER: Rib-eye steak served with 2 cups of spinach, wilted in coconut oil, and a handful of macadamia nuts
- Chicken fajita bowl served with onion, green peppers, lettuce, Mexican cheese, half an avocado, cherry tomatoes and sour cream
- White fish served with egg and spinach, wilted in coconut oil
- Chicken stuffed with pesto and cream cheese, served with vegetables grown above ground
- Bun-less burger served with bacon, egg and cheese.
2. Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers is favoured by many for the class element. Weekly classes help people make friends and this can also encourage you to lose weight if you have a strong network of people around you.
Across the globe, 1.6 million people searched for Weight Watchers.
The WW programme is clinically-proven to support weight loss and improvement in blood sugar control in those diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
As well as helping members lose weight, WW helps people change their habits to make healthy eating and physical activity a part of their daily lives.
In July it was revealed that people could get Weight Watchers for free on the NHS under a new government scheme to tackle to obesity crisis.
It’s essentially calorie counting made easy, and there’s absolutely no limit on the amount of fruit and vegetables you can eat.
Dieters even get a weekly Smart Points safety net, meaning you can treat yourself on a night out, as well as a personalised exercise plan.
Weekly meetings and weigh-ins keep people on track.
Overall, the plan is less extreme than many other diets – but the results are still promising.
Allegedly, dieters are able to lose up to 2lb a week.
3. Intermittent fasting
Restricting your food intake at certain times of the day seems to be a popular plan and 1.1 million people worldwide searched for intermittent fasting.
The intermittent fasting diet does what it says on the tin, but it can follow two patterns.
The first is eating just 500 calories two days per week, and eating normally (what you want) the other five days.
The second option is going 14, 16 or 18 hours a day without food, leaving you with a six to ten hour window to eat in.
The time in which your body starts to break down fat is after all digestion is fully completed and the nutrients have been taken from food.
This period after is called the post-absorptive state where excess fat will be stored in the liver for fuel stores, where it can be acessed to keep the body’s functions ticking over when no energy from food is in the digestive system to use.
This is what happens when you sleep and when you are in a planned fasting period and insulin is low. Your body will need to take from fat stores even more whilst awake and fasting, as you’ll need more energy to move around, which is when the weight loss occurs.
4. Slimming World
Class-based diet plans seem to be popular, with over 629,000 people worldwide searching for Slimming World.
The Slimming World diet is run by a Derbyshire-based weight loss company created by Margaret Miles-Bramwell in 1969.
It focuses on a diet of Food Optimising, where members are given a list of Syn Free food, that can be eaten in unlimited amounts.
Syns are short for synergy as the Free Foods, Healthy Extras and Syns all add up to effective weight loss.
The programme encourages dieters to swap high-fat foods for low-fat foods that are naturally filling.
You can get support from fellow slimmers at weekly group meetings and follow an exercise plan to become gradually more active through their Body Magic initiative.
The Slimming World diet is designed to help you lose about 1-2 pounds a week and currently has around 900,000 members attending each week.
5. Dukan diet
The Dukan diet is a high-protein, low-carb eating plan that began in France to re-educate people about how to eat healthily.
Coming in at fifth place globally, the data revealed that 535,000 people searched for it globally.
Created by nutritionist Dr Pierre Dukan over a decade ago, it started under the name “Je ne sais pas maigrir”.
This translates as “I don’t know how to lose weight”.
The Dukan diet quickly became a firm favourite of the 1.5 million French women who followed its plan.
It claims to help dieters lose up to 10lbs within a week by the dieter focusing on protein-high foods and cutting out carbohydrates completely.
The restrictive diet includes four phases – attack, cruising, consolidation and stabilisation.
Dieters eat just protein and vegetables and avoid high-carb foods.
The four phases of the Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet is a four stage plan
Attack phase: During the attack phase, dieters must stick to meat, fish, eggs and non-fat dairy products, which are designed to promote rapid weight loss.
Dr Dukan lets dieters consume a daily tablespoon of oat bran which swells in the stomach to promote fullness and also helps ease constipation.
Cruising phase: The cruising phase focuses on the user alternating pure protein and vegetable days, and is designed to promote a weight loss of 2lbs a week.
On the vegetable days, Dukan dieters can consume an unrestricted amount of vegetables, along with meat, fish and non-fat dairy products.
Consolidation phase: Consolidation phase revolves around preventing weight gain that can occur in a rebound effect to rapid weight loss.
During this period, pasta, cheese, fruit and bread are slowly reintroduced back into the diet.
Stabilisation phase: The final stage, stabilisation, lets diets consume whatever they please, apart from one day a week which must be strictly protein-only.
We have all seen an increase in the amount of plant-based products on our shelves and this could be why 511,000 people searched for the diet.
Veganism is currently defined as “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.
The movement was born in 1944 when a small group broke away from the Leicester Vegetarian Society to form the Vegan Society.
The term “vegan” comes from the first and last letters of the word vegetarian.
Vegans don’t eat anything derived from an animal, including eggs, milk and butter. Honey, meanwhile, is rather divisive in the vegan community.
Aside from food, vegans do not wear or use clothes, shoes or furnishings made with the skins, hair or feathers of animals, such as fur, leather, wool, feathers and silk.
7. Mediterranean diet
If you want to follow a diet that makes you feel like you are constantly sunning yourself on a beach in Greece then the Mediterranean diet could be for you.
A Mediterranean diet is high in foods which are good for you, and low in naughty foods, such as those with a high sugar content.
The NHS explains: “The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.
“But in general, it’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.
“It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.”
It has less red meat but lots of poultry and fish, and also includes liberal amounts of red wine.
And while it’s not a foodstuff, exercise and eating meals with family and friends is characterised by the Med diet.
8. Paleo diet
People on the Paleo Diet only eat foods which could have been hunted, fished or gathered in caveman days.
The diet goes back before the invention of farming, meaning that grains such as wheat, dairy, alcohol, coffee, refined sugar, potatoes and salt are all off the menu.
All processed foods are also banned, while Paleo meals tends to be low-carbohydrate and high-protein.
A typical Paleo meal would be made up of meat or fish, served with accompaniments such as eggs, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.
Legumes such as lentils and beans, which are included in most weight loss diets, are also banned.
Pescatarian comes from the Italian word for fish, pesce.
It means somebody who doesn’t eat red meat, eg beef and chicken, but eats seafood.
This often includes shellfish, such as mussels and clams, but it can vary from person to person.
In addition some pescatarians eat dairy and eggs, while others don’t.
Pescatarianism is believed to have a lot of health benefits, and loosely mirrors a Mediterranean diet.
A balanced pescartarian diet would typically include vegetables, fruits, nuts, pulses and wholegrains.
The NHS recommends eating two portions – 140g – of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish.
This category includes fishes such as herring, as they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids
The NHS says: “Fish and shellfish are good sources of many vitamins and minerals.
“Oily fish – such as salmon and mackerel – is also particularly high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to keep your heart healthy.”
A vegetarian can simply be described as someone who doesn’t eat meat.
It is defined on the Vegetarian Society as: “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, fungi, algae, yeast and/or some other non-animal-based foods (e.g. salt) with, or without, dairy products, honey and/or eggs.
“A vegetarian does not eat foods that consist of, or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from, any part of the body of a living or dead animal. This includes meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, insects, by-products of slaughter or any food made with processing aids created from these.”
There are different types of Vegetarian who eat different things.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both milk and eggs, ovo vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy and lacto vegetarians consume dairy products but not eggs.
Nutrition coach, Jessica Shand said the vest advice for people wanting to lose weight is not to start restrictive diets or to get sucked into fads.
“Instead my advice would be to set clear and realistic intentions on what it is you want to achieve long term and that you will be able to enjoy (nobody wants something they dread doing, it’s no way to live!).
“And remember, it’s how you choose to fuel your body that counts, how you decide to nourish your body with the foods it needs to thrive and make your wellbeing your top priority – they go hand in hand.”
She added that you should seek help and advice from qualified experts in nutrition and wellness and urged people to avoid going to social media influencers for advice when it comes to your health.
“Good, well balanced and wholesome nutrition, proper sleep and regular exercise work together to deliver long-lasting results.
“That will not only help you reach your goals but most importantly will help you feel your best and help you to thrive!
“Fad diets that promise quick fix weight loss are not the answer, they never were!”