From intermittent fasting to GOLO: these were the most popular diets of 2019

From the GOLO diet to JLo’s healthy eating plan (Picture: Ella Byworth for

Fad diets pop up on a regular basis, many of which are unhelpful and downright ridiculous.

If you’re considering dieting, remember the golden rule: it’s not about starving yourself, and as with any lifestyle change, take care before making drastic changes to your food intake.

In the last year, we’ve explored the CICO diet (calories in, calories out), the milk diet (where you just drink milk every day, for four weeks – please don’t ) and carb cycling (which staggers the amount of carbohydrates that you consume).

We also investigated why ‘ultra-processed’ foods are bad for us, how to make an easy Keto dinner and how the low FODmap diet can help those who suffer from IBS.

As it’s the end of the year, Google has just released searches for the most popular diets of 2019 – and the results might surprise you.

Here are the diets that made the cut, and what they’re all about.

1. Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is technically not a diet, but an eating plan. It revolves around time restriction – it’s not about what you eat, but when you eat it.

While there are many versions to choose from, the most popular tend to be 16:8 or 5:2.

With 16:8 you can eat during an eight-hour period, but outside of this time you are only allowed to consume non-calorie drinks. It has likely seen a boost after 50-year-old actress Jennifer Aniston, known for her toned frame, revealed that she follows this diet to keep her body in shape.

Meanwhile, 5:2 is focused on days; five days per week you have a normal diet, while only consuming 500 calories on the two other days. However, the time restriction is not set in stone; you can adjust the hours and days to suit your body type and needs.

The eating plan is meant to be help you get lean without having to restrict your food intake to specific foods, and some studies have shown that it can boost the body’s metabolism.

2. Dr Sebi diet

As the name suggests, this diet was named after a man called Dr Sebi, also known as Alfredo Darrington Bowman.

The herbalist developed an alkaline diet, which he believed would rid the body of mucus build-up and cleanse it.

This diet involves only consuming live and raw foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Essentially, everything that you’d find in a Whole Foods isle.

Canned goods are a no-no, as are any animal products, soy, alcohol and fortified items (like cereals). You could also consider it a (very restricted) vegan diet.

Many high-profile celebrities who support the alkaline diet, including Victoria Beckham and Kate Hudson. Variations

There has been some controversy around this diet. Dr Sebi claimed it could cure Aids, as well as various forms of cancer and other illnesses, but there has been no evidence to support this.

Similarly, a man named Robert Young, who claims to have invented the alkaline diet, has been ‘convicted of two charges of practising medicine without a license’.

Make of that what you will, but if you’re going to restrict your diet to such an extent, it’s best to chat to a qualified nutritionist or medical professional first.

3. Noom diet

Noom is also not technically a diet, but actually a weight loss app that offers two programmes; healthy weight loss and one that is tailored for diabetes prevention.

It utilises a traffic light system to tell you which foods are healthy, and which to avoid or eat less of. Once you sign up, you will also be paired with your very own health coach.

So, does it work? Medical News Today reviewed Noom earlier this year, and highlighted several studies which demonstrated mixed results, most quite successful.

For instance, a study from 2016 revealed that out of 38,921 Noom users, 77.9% lost weight with the help of the app. The app also contains features to help you monitor your weight loss, in order to keep you on track, and it was found that those who kept on top of this saw more consistent weight loss.

Now for the downside: Noom focuses on calories, rather than nutrients. As users can’t check this in the app, it might be more difficult for them to ensure their body gets everything it needs, including vitamins, minerals and fats.

What’s more, according to MNT, not all Noom coaches are certified with the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching.

You’ll also have to pay to use the app.

4. 1,200 calories diet

Here’s the thing with calories: there are many factors that determine how many you are meant to consume each day – so there is no one ‘setting’ that works for all people.

This is dependent on your weight, height and how active you are on a day-to-day basis. By eating less calories, the stored fat in your body can ‘burn’ off, but once again, counting calories often means that you forget about nutrients – which are essential.

You need to get a certain amount of calcium and protein, vitamins and magnesium, and tailor the diet to your needs (i.e. the amount of calories your body needs). As an example, a lack of magnesium can lead to nausea, vomiting and fatigue, among other ailments.

According to a report by Public Health England in 2017, Brits should consume 1,800 calories per day. Prior to this announcement, this was recommended at 2,000 calories per day for women, and 2,500 for men.

This is only a guideline – so speak to a personal trainer with nutritionist training or other professional to look over your personal diet, and how many calories you should stick to.

5. GOLO diet

The GOLO diet has lost popularity; in 2016, it was the most searched weight loss method of the year.

It essentially revolves around insulin, and was put together by a team of experts including Jennifer Brooks, a chef who is board-certified in holistic nutrition and psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow, among others.

Those who wish to embark on the GOLO lifestyle needs to sign up on the website, and take part in the ‘rescue’ programme which is said to repair your metabolism, balance hormone levels and achieve sustainable weight loss over the course of 30, 60 or 90 days.

This is done in three steps: calorie-reduction (around 1,300 to 1,800 per day), exercise and taking the GOLO Release supplement.

The latter is meant to be the defining element of the diet, which is perhaps unsurprising, given it’s trademarked and means customers need to come back or stick to GOLO to get access to it again.

GOLO’s website boasts that many doctors are supportive of the diet, as well as glowing recommendations from users, but take this with a pinch of salt: self-promotion is easy. There is also not much in the way of studies to support the method – i.e. that the supplement is of added benefit to people who are already managing a healthy diet and exercising.

Then again, the dietary plan in itself is quite inclusive, with a good level of nutrients included. Allowed foods include: ‘fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats—and of course fresh breads, pasta, and butter’, according to the website.

A diet alone will rarely work in the long-term (Picture: Ella Byworth for

6. Dubrow diet

It was created by reality TV star Heather Dubrow from The Real Housewives of Orange Country and her partner, plastic surgeon to the rich and famous, Dr Terry Dubrow.

There are three phases, each with a ,er, interesting names : ‘red carpet ready’, ‘summer is coming’ and ‘look hot while living like a human’.

In short, this diet consists of intermittent fasting, but where it differs from the version we’ve explained above, this one includes dietary restrictions. Approved foods include vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. You also need to consider how much you consume, and avoid processed foods.

On the plus side, alcohol is allowed.

Be cautious, as the couple claims their plan will ‘activate the anti-aging ability found in your cells’ and have apparently compared this process, known as autophagy, to plastic surgery. Also, it may not be a pheasa

Once again, add a pinch of salt to this diet.

7. Sirtfood diet

The Sirtfood diet allows dark chocolate, caffeine and red wine. OK, that’s not all you need to know, but it’s a pretty great benefit, as far as diets go.

Here’s why it’s OK: these foods contain ‘sirtuin activators’ which are said to improve metabolism, and in turn, help you lose weight, as well as reverse aging. Sirt foods, as they are known, include the aforementioned delights, as well as berries, kale, matcha green tea, walnuts, rocket, strawberries, soy, and more.

As for the diet itself, there are two steps to follow.

During the first step, which consists of seven days, you only consume 1,000 calories per day (see 1,200 calories above for why this can cause problems). You are only permitted to eat one meal, which must feature a lot of sirt foods, as well as three green juices. This lasts for three days.

For the remaining four days, you can have 1,500 calories, includin gtwo sirtfood dishes, and one more juice (yay?) per day. During phase two, you can have three meals and one green juice per day.

Authors of the book about the Sirtfood diet claim it can turn on your ‘skinny gene’. We’re not thrilled about this term to begin with, but there is also very little research to support it.

8. No carbs, no sugar diet

This diet has been around for a while in one shape or another, but it’s been revived this year (it last made Google’s list in 2015).

Back then, it was referred to as the ‘zero carb’ diet, and it has proven popular with celebrities.

It’s pretty much what it says on the tin: no carbs, no sugar. However, not all people who use this diet completely limit themselves; some will have a small carb intake, while others cut it out completely.

That means no pasta, refined grains, bread, starchy vegestables, milk or fruits (which have natural sugar). Instead, you’ll be munching on fish, eggs, cheese, water and tea.

Here’s the problem: carbohydrates fuel our bodies. They are broken down into glucose, which is then used by our muscles and our brain.

If you cut out carbs and sugar completely, energy levels will drop and you may feel tired, and suffer from low blood sugar.

9. Endmorph diet

It sounds a bit alien-like, but endmorphs are not from another planet.

The phrase was introduced by William Sheldon, a psychologist in the 40s, who outlined it as one of three body types. The two others are called ectomorphic and mesomorphic.

According to him, endomorphs have a lower metabolism, due to having a bigger bone structure, less muscle and carrying more fat in the bodies.

The main aspect of the endomorph diet is to avoid refined carbs and eat healthy fats from proteins and nuts, as well as carbohydrates, vegetables and whole-grain foods. This is intertwined with a mix of cardio and strength training.

Exercise and healthy eating, basically.

10. JLo diet

We’re not all that surprised that JLo has made the list, after showing off her toned physique in Hustlers earlier this year.

While her character might be out partying and doing tequila shots on the regular, you’ll have no such fun on Jennifer’s diet. Alcohol and caffeine are strictly forbidden, as are sweets, processed  and starchy foods.

If you need a snack, reach for the fruit bowl or munch on some vegetables. Other foods that JLo likes include fish, sweet potatoes and brown rice. Nutrients are key, with the actress and singer focusing on stuffing as much vitamins and minerals into her diet as possible.

But it’s not just about food – she also works out on a regular basis.

All in all, it appears to be a pretty healthy approach, though there’s nothing wrong in indulging in a cheat day now and again.

JLo, sometimes we need cake and tequila shots, OK?

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