The world is full of diets and magical supplements that promise to help us be more healthy and lose weight, and that means many of us spend a lot of time googling diets to see what they entail, and whether they're real science or big scams.
This week Google released its annual "Google's Year in Search" data, which tracks how many people searched for a given term in 2017, compared with previous years. It's a good way of tracking trends, and according to Google, these are the most-searched for diets in 2017 in the U.S. Some of them, well, are just plain terrifying.
1. Apple cider vinegar diet
Apple cider vinegar is credited with near-magical properties. Fans say it clears up skin and makes hair shinier, and you can also use it to clean your kitchen. Not a lot of beauty products are also cleaning aids.
The apple cider vinegar diet is based on the idea that drinking a small amount of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can help people lose weight and control blood sugar by blocking the breakdown and absorption of starch. According to CNN, the jury is still out on how effective that is, but the apple cider vinegar diet was the top diet search in 2017, according to Google.
2. Plant-based diet
Whether people are becoming vegetarian or vegan, or just trying to make vegetables the major part of their diet, plant-based eating was one of the major diet trends of 2017. It's not necessarily a path to weight loss, but focusing on vegetables and trying to cut out processed foods is for many people a good way to get healthier.
Read more: What Exactly Is a Plant-Based Diet?
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3. Tom Brady diet
It can be shocking to see what serious athletes eat to keep themselves in peak physical condition. In September, Tom Brady told the world about his "alkalizing," anti-inflammatory diet in a new book called The TB12 Method, and people were stunned. Not only does he drink 12 to 25 glasses of water a day and multiple shakes and smoothies, but he won't combine protein with starchy foods like potatoes or bread, and he won't consume white sugar, white flour, MSG, iodized salt, "nightshades" (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.), dairy, coffee, or caffeine.
Check out what Tom Brady eats on an "average day" in the Boston Globe.
4. Boiled egg diet
The boiled egg diet promises to help people lose more than 20 pounds in 14 days. There are different versions of the boiled egg diet, but they focus on eating large amounts of eggs as the main source of protein while eliminating foods high in carbohydrates or natural sugars. Fruit, bread, pasta, and rice are not allowed. The most extreme version of the boiled egg diet involves eating nothing but boiled eggs and water for 14 days, but most variations allow chicken, fish, and vegetables. This, um, sounds kind of scary.
5. Emily Ratajkowski diet
Model and Gone Girl actress Emily Ratajkowski is famously good-looking, so of course a lot of people were curious about how she achieves it. Does she follow an "alkalizing" diet like Tom Brady? Does she only eat standing upside down? In March, she described her typical food day to Harper's Bazaar, and revealed she's a self-described carnivore who loves meat, eating out, Italian food, and an occasional cupcake or croissant.
Emily Ratajkowski's diet was one of the most-searched-for diets of the year, but it looks like she doesn't have a magic diet secret, just genetics.
6. Ketogenic diet plan
The Keto diet was one of the biggest trends of 2017, and the low-carb, high-fat, high-protein diet looks like it's on track to be one of the top trends for 2018 as well.
7. Golo diet
The Golo diet was one of the Internet's most-searched-for diets of 2017, but it's a mystery. Even Googling it now, most of the results seem to be articles asking, "What is this most-searched-for diet that nobody has ever heard of?" It appears to be a weight-loss system that says the key to weight loss is managing insulin, not counting calories, and apparently that involves buying the company's $40 supplements to "optimize insulin performance."
8. The Shepherd's Diet
This is a Biblically-inspired Christian diet plan based on the idea of letting the Holy Spirit guide your food choices and looking up scriptural references to food, nutrition, and health. It's also called Biblical Belly Breakthrough, and it costs $47 for an ebook and bonus material like the "What Would Jesus Eat Grocery Field Guide," which imagines what Jesus would buy at the grocery store.
9. Coffee diet
The "coffee diet" sounds like a dream. It claims drinking coffee increases a person's metabolism, burns fat, and suppresses the appetite. Following the diet involves drinking hot, black coffee after every meal, right before exercising, and before taking a bath. That does sound pretty fun, and the rest of the diet is a basic, sensible, healthy-eating plan.
10. Mediterranean diet plan
The Mediterranean diet has been held up for years as the ideal combination of eating for health and pleasure. It features foods like olive oil, whole grains, fish, fruits, and vegetables. It's no surprise that the Mediterranean diet was one of the year's most-googled diets. It's flavorful and satisfying, and it's also associated with cardiovascular health and a longer life span with a lower risk of dementia and age-related illnesses. It even involves wine.