Where there is food, there is sure to be someone out there dieting. If you are looking for a way to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply be healthier, then you may have turned to a fad diet in the past. In fact, you might even be researching popular diet trends right now in order to help you find one that you can stick to in order to reach your weight loss goals.
A simple internet search can lead you down a rabbit hole of strange, dangerous, and ineffective dieting trends that will likely leave your head spinning and make you feel like changing up your eating habits is an exercise in futility. While it is true that many of the fad diets that are trendy right now may not be great for long-term use, the fact is that some of them are actually able to deliver on their claims if you are willing to make the changes necessary.
No dieting strategy is going to magically fix all of your health issues or lead you to your overall aesthetic goals, but the good news is that there is some science to support many of the most popular diets that you have likely seen on your social media feeds this year.
The ketogenic diet, which is often shortened to simply "keto," is probably the single most popular diet trend over the past few years. What started as a niche lifestyle that a small number of people were following morphed into an immensely popular diet trend that has led grocery stores, restaurants, and fast-food chains to start offering "keto-friendly" options.
The idea behind the keto diet is to follow a high-fat and low-carb eating plan in order to induce weight loss. Carbohydrates are our bodies' preferred source of energy because they are the easiest to convert into usable energy. When our bodies don't have extra carbs to burn, they are forced to burn stored fat. This metabolic state is called ketosis.
As long as your body remains in ketosis, it is able to burn fat very effectively. This is why keto followers typically consume no more than 50 grams of carbs per day, and most consume fewer than 30 grams.
A number of studies have found that consistently following the keto diet can lead to significant weight loss when compared to low-fat and low-calorie diets. In addition, fats help you to feel full for longer, so you will automatically eat less.
There are also studies that show that the ketones released by your body while you're in this state are also able to provide energy to your brain as well, which results in better brain function.
Low-carb is similar to keto in that both diets restrict the number of carbohydrates that you consume so that your body will be forced to turn to its fat stores for fuel.
The biggest difference between the two diets is the amount of carbs that are permitted in a day. While keto followers usually try to keep their carb intake to fewer than 50 grams, the low-carb diet is more flexible. On it, you can eat up to 150 grams of carbs, but most followers try to keep their numbers in the 50-100 range for maximum effect.
Because this diet is less restrictive, many people find it easier and more sustainable to follow. Experts say that this diet works for a number of reasons.
First, by monitoring your carb intake, you are able to eat more mindfully. Since overindulgence and mindless snacking are often at least partially to blame for weight gain, this simple change allows you to take a big step in the right direction without a lot of pressure.
Restricting your carbs also eliminates many unhealthy foods that are high in sugar, calories, and unsaturated fats, all of which are major contributors to weight gain. Combining these elements with the fact that this diet also helps to mitigate blood sugar spikes, and it's no wonder this has become such a buzzword.
The Volumetrics diet has become extremely trendy in the past couple of years, and it's easy to see why.
The big draw of Volumetrics is its promise that you can eat a lot and still reach your weight loss goals. While this might sound too good to be true, the trick to successfully following this diet is choosing the correct foods rather than restricting portions.
This plan takes a "slow and steady" approach to weight loss, and it divides all foods up into four categories based on how "energy-dense" they are:
The idea is to consume the majority of your calories through the categories that have the lowest energy density. There are no food restrictions, and you are allowed to eat three meals, two snacks, and one dessert every day.  By focusing most of your meals on foods with a low energy density, you can fill up with big portions while still consuming relatively few calories, which is ideal for weight loss.
Experts like this diet because it simplifies the process of following a sensible, nutritious eating plan and has enormous amounts of scientific research backing it.
The important thing to remember with Volumetrics is that it is not so much a short-term diet as it is a long-term lifestyle change that helps you overhaul your eating habits.
This particular health craze has been gaining even more steam in the past year because of its versatility and numerous health benefits.
The basic idea of intermittent fasting is to have a set period of time in which you consume all of your food for the day, and you do not eat for the rest of the day. There are a number of ways that you can split your time, but the three most popular methods are:
The beauty of this diet is that you can adjust it to fit your lifestyle, and there are no complicated food restrictions or macro counts to follow.
The science behind intermittent fasting revolves around what happens in your body during the fasting period. Fasting can improve things like insulin sensitivity, which aids in fat loss, and cellular repair, which is when your cells essentially "clean out" all of the junk that naturally accumulates within them over time.
This diet is incredibly popular among athletes and bodybuilders as well because it helps to boost the levels of human growth hormone, or HGH, in the bloodstream.  Increased HGH levels translate to additional fat loss as well as muscle gain, which is ideal for anyone who competes in a sport.
In addition to the positive changes in your hormone profile, following an intermittent fasting schedule can also help you to restrict your overall calorie intake and increase your metabolism. Some studies noted that people who followed an intermittent fasting schedule saw up to a 14 percent boost in their metabolic rates.
Other important research into intermittent fasting has shown that, when done correctly, it causes significantly less muscle loss than other diets that simply restrict calories over a long period of time.
It is completely understandable to be wary of fad diets that you read about on social media or see on the news. With as many unsafe and unsustainable diets as there are out there, it's smart to remain skeptical when choosing a diet to follow.
However, it is also important to remember that some trendy diets have become popular for good reasons. All of the fad diets mentioned in this list have definite scientific merit, and there is plenty of research to show how each of them can benefit certain groups of people.
Regardless of whether you choose to start one of the diets mentioned above, or you pick a completely different plan, be sure to do plenty of research beforehand, and remember that dieting should be a marathon and not a sprint. If you expect to be in it for the long haul, you can achieve great results.