Diets are nothing new. They’ve been around for decades, yet the diet industry is still booming. The market is flooded with diet books, diet pills, diet plans and specially designed diet foods. The internet is teeming with advertisements promising a flat stomach, toned thighs or a vanishing muffin top. Nobody can deny it- the Western world is obsessed with dieting.
Diet fads and diet crazes are common too- every year we see new diets appear, often gaining a lot momentum – especially if a celebrity or public figure admits that they are a fan. Celebrities, along with qualified dieticians, can often be the driving force behind the popularity of some diets, bringing certain eating habits to mainstream attention. The influence that these diet gurus have over our eating habits can be stunning: Whether we’re going gluten-free, cutting out certain food groups or simply avoiding chocolate, it’s undeniable that diet regimes endorsed by ‘authorities’ are prolific moneymakers.
However, the fact that these diets and their advocates are popular doesn’t always mean that the diet itself is healthy or beneficial in the long-run. Diet gurus can make a lot of money, and they’ll say a lot to make sure their diet is advertised as the healthiest, easiest and most rewarding in existence – sometimes, even if they technically aren’t. Despite the fact that some of these diets have been slammed by nutritionists for years, many remain hugely popular to this day.
New diets are appearing all the time: With so much information flooding the market, it can be difficult to keep track of it all. But if you’re interested in trying something new to lose the pounds after failing on the January resolutions, read our list of the Ten Most Influential Diet Gurus of 2014 who believe that what they advocate is the healthiest, best lifestyle on the planet.
10. Dawn Jackson Blatner – The Flexitarian Diet
This is the plant-based diet for people who don’t want to commit to a plant-based diet. Confused? The idea behind it is that you eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally allow yourself a meaty meal of your choice. Blatner highlights the amount of options that this diet allows you to have: While receiving the benefits of a vegetarian diet, you can still indulge in your favourite foods and attend dinner parties without worrying about limiting yourself. In general, this diet is seen as a relatively positive one to follow. It’s claimed that the average flexitarian weighs 15% less than someone who eats meat regularly! And if you’re doing your bit for saving the planet, it can’t be that bad; this one doesn’t advocate any extreme diet changes.
9. Various Celebrities – The Pescetarian Diet
Pescetarianism has become popular mainly due to a plethora of celebrity advocates. Celebrities and political figures who have publicly admitted to following a pescetarian diet include Ariana Grande, Olivia Wilde and Bill Clinton. The pescetarian diet is similar to a flexitarian diet: Pescetarians follow a vegetarian diet with the inclusion of fish and shellfish. This diet was one of the most googled diets last year, and its popularity has continued this year.
8. Dr. Douglas N. Graham – The 80/10/10 Diet
Dr. Douglas N. Graham is the driving force behind the 80/10/10 diet. Graham advocated a diet of only raw fruits, vegetables and nuts for many years. This extremely controversial diet has been criticised for being difficult to follow, extremely expensive (organic fruit certainly doesn’t come cheap) and anti-social. Graham has recently redesigned the diet to the point that it now contains cooked animal products – that’s the popular 80/10/10 diet in which 80 percent of the diet should be healthy carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, and the other 20 from equal parts protein and fats. It came to mainstream attention late last year when an Australian woman named Loni Jane Anthony revealed on her blog that she eats just 20 bananas a day, despite being 26 weeks pregnant with her first child!
7. Michael Pollan – The Omnivorous Diet
Surprisingly, one of the most googled diets in the past year has been the omnivorous diet. The majority of people worldwide follow this standard diet of meat, dairy, grains, fruit and vegetables. Why the sudden interest? This is most likely due to a popular book, ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ by Michael Pollan. Pollan is the main advocate of the ethical-eating trend- this means following a diet that is environmentally friendly, instead of having weight loss as a motivation. Due to increasing concerns regarding what we eat and the environment, these types of dietary concerns are becoming more and more popular.
6. Drs. Bradley & Craig Willcox – The Okinawa Diet
The Okinawa diet is a newcomer that has certainly made its mark. Two influential doctors, Bradley and Craig Wilcox, in association with Makoto Suzuki, have made this diet a success with their popular book ‘The Okinawa Program’. The buzz surrounding the Japanese diet came about after the Japanese were recently revealed to have one of the highest life expectancies on the planet. Naturally, people began to equate this high life expectancy with diet. So this diet fad, based on the way the people of the Ryukyu Islands eat, is popular among those hoping to stay healthy for longer.
5. Robert Atkins- The Ketogenic Diet
The Atkins diet is one of the most famous diets in history – first released in the 70s, it became particularly popular after Robert Atkins released a refreshed version of the diet in 2002. The Ketogenic diet is the first stage of the Atkins diet. This diet is frowned upon by nutritionists because of it’s said to be difficult to maintain, and can cause some nasty side effects. Followers of this diet avoid carbohydrates and eat a large amount of fatty foods, causing the body to burn fats for energy. Although the Atkins diet has waned in popularity, the Ketogenic diet was still one of the most searched for diets on Google last year, showing the influence Dr. Atkins still has over modern diets.
4. Stanley Burroughs – The Master Cleanse Diet
The Master Cleanse diet is reportedly one of the most dangerous fads on our list. It was designed by Stanley Burroughs over 50 years ago but the enduring popularity of this diet plan is phenomenal – especially considering the health risks that are involved. This diet requires you to drink a concoction of lemon juice, cayenne paper, maple syrup and water, whilst avoiding solid food completely! Although this is definitely an effective way to lose weight in the short term, the diet can have terrible effects on your health. This diet is very common amongst celebrities, including Beyonce.
3. Jamie Oliver – The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has been popularised by a multitude of dieticians and celebrities. Books such as ‘The Mediterranean Prescription’ by Laurie Anne Vandermolen and ‘The Mediterranean Diet’ by Marissa Cloutier are Amazon bestsellers, and the hugely influential British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has advocated the benefits of a Mediterranean diet for many years. This diet includes a high consumption of vegetables, fish, healthy fats such as olive oil, and red wine. Penelope Cruz was recently voted Fitness Magazine’s “Celebrity with the Hottest Body”, and she credits her Mediterranean diet as the reason why she earned this title.
2. Gwyneth Paltrow – Juicing and Detoxing
Actress-turned-food guru Gwyneth Paltrow has been a long term advocate of detoxes and juicing. This diet involves consuming large amounts of fruit and vegetable juices, along with small ‘clean’ meals. ‘Clean eating’, a term used frequently by Paltrow on her website Goop, generally refers to food that is organic, unprocessed and low-fat. While these kinds of foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meat, are very healthy, Paltrow’s dietary advice has been the subject of scrutiny lately. Paltrow may have spoken out against the Master Cleanse, but her diet is suffering a similar backlash. A recent diet plan she released on her website has been termed a ‘starvation diet’, seemingly advocating a concoction of water and spices to quell the appetite.
1. Loren Cordain – The Paleo Diet
Topping our list is the Paleo diet sensation which first took the world by storm last year. Dr. Loren Cordain, the American nutritionist whose book ‘The Paleo Diet’ made this lifestyle famous, has been researching the diet for many years. He is the founder of The Paleo Movement. This diet mimics what scientists believe to have been the eating habits of cavemen: This means a diet high in fibrous fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood, nuts and seeds. It advocates unprocessed foods; the sort of things that occur only in nature. For diet fanatics, this diet is the one to keep your eye on in 2014.
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