January is undoubtedly the most popular time of the year for making self-improvement resolutions. And, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight.
According to a 2018 survey of Americans, fully 45% of respondents say they plan to “lose weight or get in shape” in the new year (survey details here). In fact, it’s estimated that 45 million Americans go on a diet each year.
With the gain in popularity of the ketogenic diet over the last few years, we decided to compare interest in keto with several of the most well-known competing diets.
To do that, we use a tool Google offers called the “Keyword Planner.” This tool allows us insight into how often people are searching on Google for information on a particular topic using specific search terms (which Google calls “keywords”).
While using Google search volume as a corollary for popularity doesn’t necessarily translate to the number of people actually following a particular diet, it does provide us with information about the relative interest in each of the diets.
Before we start our comparison, let’s look at how Google searches for the term “keto diet” have increased over the past few years (using another Google service called “Google Trends”).
As this chart shows, interest in keto started to rise dramatically at the end of 2016 and is now more than 10 times what it was just two years ago. That’s a stunning increase in popularity for a diet that was originally developed in the 1920s to treat pediatric epilepsy.
For our comparison, we used the following diets and tracked their Google search volume over the previous 30 days:
- Keto diet
- Paleo diet
- Whole30 diet
- Weight Watchers
- Atkins diet
- South Beach diet
- Mediterranean diet
- Vegan/Vegetarian diets
- Raw food diet
- Intermittent fasting
Here are our results, ranked from most Google searches to least:
The keto diet is the clear winner in this competition, with over three times the search volume of its nearest challenger-Weight Watchers.
What’s even more impressive is that Weight Watchers benefits from a multi-million dollar advertising budget dedicated to promoting its brand of weight loss. The keto diet isn’t part of any one company and doesn’t enjoy this type of marketing push.
Intermittent fasting is our surprise third-place finisher.
Similar to keto, intermittent fasting is not the product of any company or organization, but its recent rise in popularity looks similar to keto, as we can see in the Google Trends results for the search term “intermittent fasting.”
It’s clear that the keto diet has become a very popular topic of interest, but it remains to be seen if it can maintain its high-flying status or will be replaced by the next big thing in our never-ending quest to lose weight.