What Google’s Most-Searched Diets Say About Healthy Eating in 2013

Posted by on Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 with 2 Comments

The annual Google Zeitgeist report of the year’s top search terms can tell us a lot about our collective interests, from the unfortunately predictable most-searched person (yes, it was Miley Cyrus) to our flash-in-the-pan obsession with certain dance moves (remember Gangnam Style?). One particularly intriguing list, however, gives us a glimpse at the food habits onto which we pin our hopes of weight loss and better health: the top 10 most-searched diets of 2013.

10. Flexitarian diet

Literally, a flexible vegetarian. Rather than forbidding meat consumption for ethical reasons, most flexitarian diets encourage eating mostly plant-based foods for better health. As Mark Bittman, who writes a column titled “The Flexitarian” for the New York Times, defines flexitarians: “…those who ate mostly vegetables but also incorporated meat or fish: people who were moving their meat-heavy diets in a more vegetarian direction, as well as vegetarians who were adding meat or fish back into their meals. The word also suggests a regimen that includes more whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables than the Standard American Diet.”


Trout and tomatoes

Fish & vegetables are building blocks of both flexitarian and pescetarian diets.
Image source: flickr user kulinarno

9. Pescetarian diet 

A pescetarian is, quite simply, a vegetarian who eats fish — but still no meat or poultry, which separates them from flexitarians. One advantage of a pescetarian diet is an influx of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, naturally found in salmon and other fish.

8. Fruitarian diet

This dubious diet consisting almost entirely of fruit can lead to dangerous deficiencies of protein and iron (just for starters), which is why it became notorious in 2013: actor Ashton Kutcher ended up in the hospital after following Steve Jobs’ fruitarian diet plan while playing the Apple founder in a biopic.

7. Omnivore diet

Although technically basic (omnivores are animals or humans who eat both plants and animals), the popular conception of the omnivore diet is loaded with ethical and environmental implications regarding industrial agriculture and sustainably raised food. The omnivore diet is most notably associated with writer Michael Pollan’s book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and its brief prescription for a healthy, omnivorous diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Miso soup is a staple of the Okinawa diet. Image source: flickr user Peter Jan Haas

Miso soup is a staple of the Okinawa diet.
Image source: flickr user Peter Jan Haas

6. Okinawa diet

Famous for their long lives and good health, the residents of Okinawa, Japan have traditionally eaten a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low in meat, saturated fats, salt, and sugar.  Leafy greens, cabbage, fish, brown rice, soup, and green tea are commonly considered the staples of the Okinawa diet.

5. Ketogenic diet

Originally developed as a treatment for epilepsy, the ketogenic diet involves eating an extremely high-protein, high-fat, and low-carb diet with the intent of inducing ketosis, the state where a carbohydrate-deprived body must burn fat for glucose production. Of course, eating a diet so high in fat can lead to issues like elevated blood pressure and chronic constipation.

4. Master Cleanse diet

Let’s blame Beyonce for the enduring popularity of the Master Cleanse: essentially, this “diet” equates to drinking water spiked with lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and a little maple syrup. Of course you’ll lose weight (like Beyonce did) when you don’t eat; however, whether you’ll keep that weight off and what other side effects you might confront make it questionable whether the Master Cleanse and other “detox diets” are actually good for your health. As Dr. Peter Pressman of the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville told the New York Times in 2009, “The contents of what ends up being consumed during a ‘detox’ are essentially stimulants, laxatives, and diuretics.”

3. Mediterranean diet

A perennial favorite, the Mediterranean diet followers’ claims of longer life, fewer diseases, and weight loss are actually supported by scientific research. With an emphasis on vegetables, fish, and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, this diet inspired by the traditionally lean populations along the Mediterranean Sea is linked to lower rates of heart disease and diabetes, just to name a few benefits.

Juice cleanse at the office

Juice cleanses are growing in popularity, despite inherent health concerns.
Image source: flickr user skampy

2. Juice cleanse diet 

Aficionados of juice cleanses, wherein the dieter only drinks a usually pricey, pre-approved regimen of premium bottled fruit and vegetable juices, claim it purifies the body of toxins, increases energy, and results in weight loss. Critics disagree — Dr. Elizabeth Applegate of U.C. Berkeley recently told Slate that, “The whole cleansing concept is silly. The body doesn’t need any help getting rid of compounds it doesn’t want. That’s what your liver and kidneys are for.”

1. Paleo diet

Based on the idea that our hunter-gatherer bodies still haven’t evolved to the point where we can handle agricultural products like grains and legumes efficiently (not to mention processed foods), the paleo diet is based on the grass-fed meats, fish, and vegetables our early ancestors relied on for nourishment. While many critics of the paleo plan argue that we should emphasize eating less meat, not more, the paleo diet has spawned enough blogs, books, and celebrity endorsements to practically guarantee its placement on the Google Zeitgeist for next year.

lunch with vegetables and junk food

Accommodate all kinds of diets at office lunches! (But maybe skip the Rice Krispies treats…)
Image source: flickr user Moresheth

What Can We Learn About Dieting in the Workplace?

The common theme among this broad range of diets? Most define healthy eating in terms of consuming abundant amounts of vegetables and/or fruits, and fewer highly-processed carbohydrates like those found in white bread and pasta. If these diets are the most popular  (or at least spark the most curiosity), it’s probably worth considering this shift when planning company catering or office party menus.

Employees who are working hard to stick to a diet or weight-loss plan shouldn’t feel excluded from workplace events and celebrations, and it’s relatively easy to incorporate the “more veggies, less bread” principle into office meals. When ordering pizzas for an employee appreciation lunch, make sure to add on a few hefty side salads; when organizing a staff breakfast, supplement the usual bagels and donuts with a tray of hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and low-fat cheeses. Waiter.com is ready to help you accommodate all kinds of diets in your company catering, with online ordering and easy customization to support employees’ diet goals.

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

2 responses to “What Google’s Most-Searched Diets Say About Healthy Eating in 2013”

  1. Keri says:

    You have the Ketogenic Diet wrong. High Fat, Moderate protein, Extremely low carb.