The Best (and Most Effective) Diet Trends of 2017

From flexitarian to fruitarian (yes, that’s a real thing),  it seems as if there’s a diet to suit every preference and style. But slapping a label on an eating plan certainly doesn’t make it healthy, and if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a slim figure, you’ll want to go with something nutritious but also realistic.

In 2017, we saw some old diet trends resurface as well as some brand new diet plans we’d never heard of. And while some will surely go the way of the typical fad diet, it seems that some are extremely effective. We’ve found the diets that have been working as well as the ones that aren’t.

What makes a diet healthy?

Paleo diet products on wooden table

A good diet is going to involve a variety of foods. | iStock.com/Magone

Since no two bodies are alike, it makes sense that not everyone will thrive by following one single diet plan. However, there are some “rules” that all diets should follow: A variety of foods should be eaten, including plenty of plants, little to no trans fat, limited sugar, and plenty of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This might seem simple, but the fact is, dozens of variations of this diet exist, and what works for some won’t work for others.

Next: Portions matter. 

Aim for perfect portions

Fresh green salad with grilled chicken

You don’t want to stuff yourself when you sit down to eat. | iStock.com/Lilechka75

Esteemed food author Michael Pollan said it best: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. The “not too much” portion of this statement is critical. Whether you want to lose weight or just maintain your figure, if you eat too much of anything — even nutritious foods that are high in fat, like avocado and nuts — you’ll throw your body off balance and pack on the pounds. Paying attention to portion sizes will help you succeed at any diet plan you follow.

Next: Trendy 2017 diet tips.

This year in trends

Healthy Lifestyle Diet

There were a couple of “it” diets this year. | iStock.com/Rawpixel Ltd

Every year, health experts try and hone in on diet trends that are nutritious and effecting for anyone wanting to live a healthy lifestyle. Some, like bone broth, have actually been around for centuries, while others are fresh and new. 2017 was definitely a year of trying new things, but it was also a year of working to improve certain diets and abandon others entirely.

If you’d like to get healthier in 2018, focus on the best and most effective diet trends of 2017. Here’s what worked.

Next: This diet has been named the best for the last seven years.

DASHing through the fads

Vegetables and salmon

The DASH diet comes highly recommended. | iStock

The DASH diet was named the United States’ best diet overall by U.S. News & World Report for the seventh year in a row. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension and was originally developed to help people lower their blood pressure. It focuses on low sodium, low-fat, plant-based meals.

Next: Wine, chocolate, and olive oil are all A-ok on this diet.

The Mediterranean diet

fish tacos with red cabbage slaw and sliced avocado

The Mediterranean diet will have you munching on a lot of fish and vegetables. | iStock.com

The Mediterranean diet was named the second healthiest diet for 2017, and this is one diet plan with a lot of tasty options. Based on the eating habits of countries around the Mediterranean Sea, the diet focuses more on meeting nutritional needs than calorie-counting. Cheese, olives, nuts, salmon, chicken, and veggies are common staples, although high-fat foods are enjoyed in moderation.

The diet plan limits red meat and starchy carbs like pasta, but wine and chocolate are praised for their antioxidant content. Sign us up!

Next: The high-fat diet that torches excess fat.

The Ketogenic Diet

Fish and vegetables

You will eat very few carbs while on the ketogenic diet. | iStock.com

The Ketogenic Diet took 2017 by storm. This eating plan takes the low carb lifestyle one step further by incorporating plenty of high-fat options, which puts the body into a state of ketosis, a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. But food intake isn’t actually low — fans of the diet claim they rarely feel hungry.

Next: This diet is perfect for those who can’t quite commit to going meatless.

Flexitarians, unite

Sliced grilled beef barbecue on a wooden board

Having a nice juicy steak is still an option while on this diet. | iStock.com

The flexitarian diet has become increasingly popular in recent years. While research has shown that cutting back on meat consumption has numerous health benefits, cutting it out entirely just isn’t realistic or possible for some people. On a flexitarian diet plan, you can reap the benefits of a vegetarian diet while still enjoying a steak now and then. The idea is to focus on veggie-heavy meals with vegetarian protein sources like beans, lentils, peas, nuts, and seeds, while indulging in meat once in awhile.

Next: Meet the diet designed to benefit your brain.

The MIND diet

Olive Oil

This diet can help fight against Alzheimer’s. | Thinkstock.com

The MIND diet was created to help prevent neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. It’s a hybrid version of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, focusing on brain-boosting foods like olive oil, nuts, salmon, and dark leafy greens.

Next: With this plan, your days of yo-yo dieting will be behind you.

 The Volumetrics diet

Refrigerator full of healthy food

You’ll enjoy a lot of fruits and vegetables on this diet. | olesiabilkei/iStocks/Getty Images

To put it simply, the Volumetrics diet aims to help you stop your on-and-off dieting and simply adapt a new lifestyle. This plan relies on foods with a low-energy density and high water content, such as fruits and vegetables — but you can eat as much of them as you’d like. Whole grains, beans, lean meats, and low fat dairy are also encouraged.

Dr. Barbara Rolls, who developed the diet, believes that eating low-calories foods like fruits and veggies in high volume helps people stay full and feel satisfied.

Next: Anti-inflammatory still reigns supreme.

The anti-inflammatory diet

Donuts and candy with sugar spread and written text in unhealthy nutrition

You’ll avoid sugar like the plague while on this diet. | iStock.com/OcusFocus

While this diet tends to be promoted more by naturopaths than mainstream medicine, everyone can agree that inflammation is bad, and certain foods can help fight in. The anti-inflammatory diet focuses on inflammation-fighting foods such as leafy greens, nuts, salmon, berries, beans and lentils, tomatoes, and healthy fats. Refined foods, processed foods, and sugar should be avoided whenever possible.

Next: A diet to help you conceive?

The fertility diet

Pouring milk in the glass

The fertility diet is beneficial to more than just pregnant women. | naturalbox/iStock/Getty Images

While the aim of the fertility diet is to help women who are having problems getting pregnant, the truth is, the diet itself is a very healthy one for anyone to follow. The emphasis is on vegetable proteins and oils, whole foods like whole milk, and plenty of folic acid.

Next: This diet is restrictive, but it’s completely animal cruelty-free.

Go vegan?

Fresh Close up Vegetable, Vegan salad in man hand.

Going vegan has shown some people some major improvements. | iStock.com/DronG

Veganism is on the rise, with an estimated 6% of Americans identifying as vegan in 2017, which is a huge step from 2014’s 1%. While this diet won’t work for everyone, if your body responds well to a plant-based diet, you may notice some surprisingly pleasant changes such as increased energy and better sleep (not to mention the environmental benefits). The vegan diet eliminates all meat and dairy, and ideally focuses heavily on vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, and nuts.

Next: This diet is designed for long-term health.

The Mayo Clinic diet

Diet plan

This diet was developed by medical professionals. | iStock.com

The Mayo Clinic diet was created with the goal to help people maintain a healthy weight for life. Developed by medical professionals, the diet has two main parts, the “Lose it’ phase and the “Live it”phase. The first phase is two weeks long and jump-starts your weight loss, while the second phases focuses on maintenance through proper portion control and meal-planning.

Next: This is a commercial diet plan that has withstood the test of time.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers success stories

A lot of people have had success with Weight Watchers. | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Weight Watchers

Not only  is the Weight Watchers program still around, but it’s better than ever. The constant support, the easy to follow program, and the Beyond the Scale program contribute to its success.

Next: Notice a common theme?

The secret to dietary success

Healthy diet shaped into a heart

A lot of these diets have a few things in common. | Udra/iStock/Getty Images

While many of these diets subscribe to different philosophies, they definitely have a few things in common. They all promote eating plenty of vegetables (fruit too, but in moderation for some), they all recommend healthy fats for energy-burning and feeling full, and they all suggest avoiding sugar and eating to excess. If you follow these guidelines, you can call your 2018 diet whatever you’d like.

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