Health Hit-Or-Miss

2014 in Food: Top 10 Fad Diets We All Googled This Year

According to Google, these are the diets you thought were interesting this year. Some of them actually work!

1. Paleo Diet


For the second year in a row, the Paleo diet has been the most Googled nutrition guideline. The diet claims to benefit its followers by limiting their meals to include ingredients available during the prehistoric era. The obvious problem with this is that people are following a diet with limited historic evidence. The British Dietetic Association considers the Paleo Diet to be one of the worst fad diets, just barely better than the urine diet.

2. Atkins Diet


A laundry list of celebrities and athletes has attributed this diet to substantial weight loss. Don’t worry, the reason the co-author of Atkins Diabetes Revolution was sentenced to 41 months in jail has nothing to do with the validity of the Atkins program. In fact, it’s one of the few popular diets to yield significant weight loss results.

3. Gluten-Free Diet

Even though there hasn’t been a rise in gluten allergies or the prevalence of celiac disease, increasing numbers of people are living a gluten-free lifestyle. People have WebMD-ed themselves into believing they have a gluten sensitivity of some kind and have caused a 68 percent spike in gluten-free food sales. While this particular diet is incredibly beneficial to those with celiac disease, it can cause serious nutritional deficiencies if not supplemented appropriately.

4. Mediterranean Diet

This diet is one of the few on this list actually supported by medical professionals. The protein and olive oil-filled diet has been consistently linked to health benefits and a recent study revealed that this way of eating protects your chromosomes from deteriorating.

5. DASH Diet

Considering that 67 million Americans have hypertension (high blood pressure) and only about half have their condition under control, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is unsurprisingly nestled in the center of the list. This diet is rare in its universality of application from doctors and nutritionists alike. The diet functions as a way for those afflicted with hypertension to lower their sodium intake as well as their cholesterol.

6. Military Diet


This is actually a form of intermittent fasting. Participants lose weight by eating less than 1,000 calories for three days, followed by four days off (though it’s encouraged to limit calorie intake to 1,500). On this diet, you can eat a spectacular feast consisting of cheese, crackers, bananas, more crackers, tuna and even more crackers. You can only drink unsweetened tea and water, but can cheat with black coffee.


7. HCG Diet


Easily the most dangerous diet on this list, this diet consists of taking over-the-counter HCG supplements (the fertility hormone can only be legally administered by a health professional) and taking in 500 to 800 calories a day. The HCG component is largely a gimmick and unapproved by the FDA, but eating so little will result in unhealthy, short-term weight loss.

8. South Beach Diet


This diet plan also offers a fitness regimen and three stages. Health professionals recommend skipping the first stage, which is highly restrictive and typically results in the rapid loss of 13 pounds, and following the balanced second stage to achieve weight loss goals. The third stage simply gives tips to maintain your ideal weight.

9. Super Shred Diet


This is one of those too-good-to-be-true, lose 20 pounds in four weeks diet…that apparently works. Dr. Ian Smith created the Shred program, then decided to amp it up to a month of well-timed portion control. Moderation is key and you can enjoy things like coffee and bacon without feeling guilty.

10. The Doctor’s Diet


Dr. Travis Stork is adorable. He gives out food prescriptions for another jump-start-styled diet that has three stages lasting 14 days each. The Doctors co-host’s plan has been primarily reported on from an anecdotal context due to its vague, unsubstantiated content.


New Study Finds Fountain of Youth: Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diets have been consistently linked to health benefits, but a new study reveals how eating this way keeps your genes young.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston dropped some serious knowledge in one of the largest studies about the Mediterranean diet. Published by the British Medical Journal, the study provides an analysis of 4,676 women’s diets and blood test results. Researchers determined that the fatty fish-friendly diet prevents your chromosomes from deteriorating.

Courtesy of AMMG

Middle-school biology breakdown: Chromosomes constantly replicate throughout our lives. They have little hats and boots called telomeres. The older we get, the shorter the telomeres can become. Short telomeres offer less protection to your chromosomes, which results in cellular aging and its related diseases. According to the study, those who follow a Mediterranean diet have longer telomeres, thus longer lives.

You don’t have to be old to have cells that can register for AARP; smoking, stress and inflammation can also shorten telomeres. The researchers comprehensively accounted for these and other variables before reaching their conclusion.

If you’ve been doubting the Mediterranean diet, it’s not too late to grab some olive oil.


Can the Mediterranean Diet Make You Less Depressed?


Apparently, the science of “healthy fats” and something called BDNF, a protein that controls certain brain functions,  has been linked to mental disorders like schizophrenia and depression. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like fish and nuts, staples of the Mediterranean diet, which also includes more fresh fruits and veggies than an American diet, and a surplus of beans, whole grains, and olive oil) can make all those BDNF proteins kinda chill out.

There’s also the idea/theory/fact that eating, say, an apple is better for the mind and body than a Big Mac. So, you know. There’s that.

The study itself, however, seems a little sketchy. 96,000 people monitored their diet over the course of a year. At the end of the year, 20,000 people were randomly selected to fill out a PANAS (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule) survey. Only 9, 255 survey results were included in the final study, and all surveys were self-reported, leaving plenty of room for iffi-ness. Also, and for whatever reason, surveys were given only to black or white non-smoking members of the Advent church living in America, over the age of 35.

The point is if you’re having a rough day, treat yourself to a little lemon pepper fish. You’ll perk right up. Unless you smoke, are non-black or non-white, under 35, and not Adventist. If that’s the case, you’re SOL.

H/T Greatist + PicThx The Berkley Diet