5 Most Popular Diets of 2012

Santa’s not the only one making lists this time of year. It seems every media outlet finds a way to round up the best and worst of the year to help us archive the time. We’re guilty, too, and promise we’ve checked ours twice.

In our fifth annual Most Popular Diets list, we round up the diets chosen by our readers as the biggest trends. There’s nothing subjective here – just raw traffic numbers pointing to the books, pills, programs, and people that were the most interested in them this year. Some of it gets chalked up to pure curiosity. For instance, we can’t imagine that many people were really doing the baby food diet, ranking #13 this year and down one from last year. But according to Marketdata’s John LaRosa, they estimate that there are 108 million dieters in America, so they had to be doing something.

The top five diets of the year point pretty clearly to what we believe American dieters were actually doing, at least once this year. LaRosa says that the FDA has Americans making four or five different diet attempts in a year! That has someone going on a new diet once a quarter. There’s nothing sustainable about that.

#5 – PINK Method

It seems a key to success in the diet industry is an appearance on The Doctors, which is what nutritionist Cynthia Pasquella got for her PINK Method in late 2011. The publicity made this DVD-based fitness and nutrition program have a spike of popularity at the beginning of the year that dwindled by summer. If you’re into girl powered weight loss and fitness, then the balanced eating plan and regimented workout schedule could be a fit for you.

#4 – hCG

People either love it or hate it, and DietsInReview.com has been pretty vocal over the years about why we think this dangerously low-calorie (500 per day!) diet should be forgotten about sooner than later. It got some attention from Dr. Oz this year, which certainly helped propel the hCG diet to number four, but plenty of web-based stores make this hormone-injection protocol widely available.

#3 – Medifast

Medifast made a jump to number three from number six last year, despite no major brand news or program changes this year. We attribute it to an increase in bariatric and weight loss surgeries, which Medifast supports both before and after, thanks to its soft-and liquid-food diet. The meal delivery brand dominates its category, although it’s not too sustainable for anyone looking for a long-term eating or weight loss plan.

#2 – 17 Day Diet

Down from the top spot last year, 17 Day Diet still holds a leading position on our list at number two. In 2011, weeks after the book’s explosive debut on The Doctors, Dr. Mike Moreno sold the rights to Simon and Schuster for his self-published, cycled-diet book. This year, 17 Day fans were treated to a new cookbook and an anti-aging plan. While there’s no online program for support, the many books in the 17 Day library and legions of fans online provide a network to keep people going.

#1 – Weight Watchers

At number one, for four of the list’s five years, Weight Watchers dominates not only on DietsInReview but the industry as a whole. In January, the brand will celebrate its 50th anniversary, a remarkable milestone that comes with another major program change. For men and women of all ages, the no restriction eating plan is flexible, accessible, and most of all works.

By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com


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