The Most Popular Diets of 2012 (According to Google)

Each year Google takes a look back at the stories, people and topics that piqued our interest enough to send us to Google Searching for more. The 12th Annual Year-End Zeitgeist tracks the queries with the highest amount of traffic during certain periods in 2012. Click for more on the top trending diet searches of the past year.

  1. Michael Phelps Diet

As the only Olympian to win eight gold medals in a single Games, swimmer Michael Phelps always sets his standards high. And that, apparently applies to meals as well as his races. While training for Beijing, Phelps would routinely down around 12,000 calories a day to fuel his six-day-a-week, five-hour-a-day training schedule. Breakfast included three fried egg sandwiches, an omelete, a bowl of grits, French toast and three pancakes, while lunch and dinner included a pound of pasta at each meal, along with an entire pizza, all washed down with energy drinks and shakes. It’s enough to make nutritionists shudder, but Phelps needed the calories, and burned them more quickly than the average adult his age, owing to his intense swimming routine.

But even Phelps curbed some of the excess before heading to London this summer, trimming his first meal of the day down to a bowl of oatmeal, an omelet, fruit and coffee. But that didn’t keep people from seeking out the astounding diet that fueled the most decorated Olympian ever.

TREND TRIGGER: If an Olympic athlete can eat that much and look that good, then so can I, right?

CLAIM: 12,000 calories a day

IS IT FOR YOU? No, unless you also burn close to 10,000 calories a day, which only elite athletes who work out four to five hours daily tend to do.

  1. Beyond Diet

This gluten-free diet is built on the principles of eating foods with a low glycemic index, or foods that don’t cause a spike in glucose levels in the blood that can release insulin and pack away fat. Nutritionist Isabel De Los Rios is the co-founder and face of the diet, which relies on an online community to educate, motivate and keep dieters shedding pounds. Dieters don’t count calories but do their homework ahead of time, so they focus on servings rather than calories.

CLAIM: “Stop Dieting, Start Eating”

IS IT FOR YOU? Its principles are based on nutrition science, and taking the focus off of calories may help some to eat healthier without feeling deprived.

  1. Raspberry Ketone Diet

None other than Dr. Mehmet Oz proclaimed raspberry ketones the “#1 miracle in a bottle for burning your fat,” and health food stores drained their inventories of the sweet-smelling pills. So far, the evidence for the fat-burning features of raspberry ketones comes from animal studies by researchers in Japan and Korea. In both, mice fed a high fat diet seemed to avoid gaining weight because the ketones appeared to boost levels of a hormone that helps to melt away the fat that otherwise would have accumulated. A 100 mg daily dose to fight fat is the equivalent of 90 pounds of fresh raspberries. Most experts remain skeptical about whether burning fat this way is realistic or safe, but manufacturers don’t need to worry: the Japanese research also showed that applying the ketones to bald spots helps some men to grow hair, and promotes younger looker skin for women.

TREND TRIGGER: Mention on Dr. Oz Show

CLAIM: Burns fat

IS IT FOR YOU? Hard to say, since the requisite studies in overweight or obese people haven’t been conducted yet. But raspberries are a good source of cancer-fighting antioxidants, so you might enjoy other benefits from the supplements beyond a slimmer waistline.

  1. PINK Method Diet

Dr. Phil tends to be blunt about the advice he doles out, so it’s no surprise that he took on obesity head on by debuting the PINK Method diet on his show. P.I.N.K. stands for Power, Intensity, Nutrition and cardio with a K, and is designed to promote weight loss in women through healthy eating plans and high intensity workouts. The plan comes with a massive nutrition guide and workout DVDs, all led by women wearing–you guessed it–pink. Participants stick to light, unprocessed proteins as well as vegetables and fruits. Only one to two servings a week of alcohol is allowed, and refined sugars and processed foods are discouraged. As trendy diets go, it doesn’t raise too many nutritional eyebrows since it promotes healthier eating and getting active. ”The P.I.N.K. Method has some great advice addressing the whole person, recommendations to choose nutrient-rich foods and be physically active,” Heather Mangieri, MS, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics told WebMD. But she notes, it also makes some questionable claims. “Even in the best circumstances, many of the claims are overstated and not based on research. Foods are not fat burners and not everyone is going to rejuvenate skin, hair, and nails, and heighten their energy and libido on this plan.”

TREND TRIGGER: Dr. Phil is a fan.

CLAIM: Lose weight fast for a healthier, sexier you.

IS IT FOR YOU? It depends. The diet promotes healthy eating and lots of exercise, which is a recipe for safe weight loss. However, some stages of the diet are more restrictive than others. Don’t forget that fad diets come and go. For weight loss to stick, you have to make healthy lifestyle changes that won’t lose their pink blush of novelty after a few weeks.

  1. Adriana Lima Diet

Models’ bodies are a wonder to behold, but getting into runway shape is a no-nonsense–and not very fun–business. Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima wowed audiences at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show when she showed off the lingerie line just six weeks after giving birth. Calling it, “the biggest challenge of (her) life,” Lima told CBS This Morning she put on over 40 lbs. of baby weight while pregnant that she needed to shed. Lima has always been fairly honest about how she gets her body runway ready. She told the Telegraph in 2011 that she sees a nutritionist, has her body’s muscle mass, fat and water retention measured regularly and drinks and gallon of water a day. Nine days before the big show, she avoids solids and sticks to only protein shakes. Two days before she stops drinking the gallon of water and drinks normally, and 12 hours before hitting the catwalk she stops drinking entirely. To get those toned muscles, she also works out for two or more hours a day.

TREND TRIGGER: Lima’s Victoria Secret runway walk six weeks after giving birth.

CLAIM: Fast weight loss in a pinch.

IS IT FOR YOU? Subsisting solely on liquids will not only be difficult, it’s likely to lead to unsustainable weight loss.

  1. Miranda Kerr Diet

Model Miranda Kerr, wife of actor Orlando Bloom, says she’s always been passionate about her health and wellness, telling Harper’s Bazaar she lives by the philosophy that “beauty starts from within and I make a conscious effort to fill my body with nutrients through the food I eat.” She credits her family for teaching her the “80/20? rule: 80% good, 20% indulgent. Kerr also sticks to the Dr. Peter D’Adamo Blood Type Diet. The diet uses blood groups to determine the best food choices a person should make, basing these options on the “immunologic relationships between specific foods and a person’s blood type and their role in controlling inflammation, versus traditional model of caloric restriction,” says Ann Quasarano, PR director for D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition. Critics of the diet argue there isn’t enough science to back up the recommendations. ”I know of no plausible rationale behind the diet,” Dr. John Foreyt, a researcher at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston told WebMD.

TREND TRIGGER: The Blood Type Diet

CLAIM: Your blood type determines how susceptible you are to various illness, and based on your type, you should consume certain foods and partake in exercise accordingly.

IS IT FOR YOU? There’s a lack of scientific evidence that your blood type should determine your eating and activity habits.

  1. NV Diet Pill

With spokespeople like Carmen Electra and Holly Madison, what more could a diet pill need? Sold in drug stores, NV Diet is touted as Hollywood’s secret weapon to looking taut on the red carpet. Like many other diet remedies on the market, the pills contain hoodia gordonii extracted from a cactus-like plant of the same name, which purportedly suppresses appetite, and green tea extract, which can rev up metabolism and burn fat more quickly. What NV pills gained in popularity, however, thanks to its celebrity spokespeople and a 60 Minutes episode in which Leslie Stahl traipsed into the African desert to find and try hoodia, it lacks in reliable scientific studies. Most of the weight loss claims come from animal studies, and the few human trials have not been published and adequately reviewed.

TREND TRIGGER: Celebrity endorsements

CLAIM: Drop one jean size in two weeks (Madison did!)

IS IT FOR YOU? Dieticians say the answer to weight loss can’t be found in a pill, plus, the label notes NV works in combination with a healthy diet and exercise regimen. So how can you tell whether it’s the pills or the healthier food you’re eating and the hours you put in at the gym that’s responsible for the slimmer you?

  1. Feeding Tube Diet

This year, brides-to-be took the pre-wedding slim-down to a whole new level. In order to shimmy into their gowns, many women took part in the feed-tube diet craze, also known as the K-E diet. The diet gained popularity when Florida physician Oliver Di Pietro started offering to hook-up women to feeding tubes in his clinic. The fad, which was popular in Europe before making its way to the U.S., involves a doctor placing a nasogastric tube through the nose and into the stomach; the tube is attached to a protein pack that dispenses drops of liquid nutrients for 800 calories a day–significantly less than the recommended 2,000 to 2,4000 for the average woman. If the tubes seem familiar, they are: they’re the same ones used to keep patients who struggle to eat after a stroke or coma fed. Ads for the procedure boast double digit weight loss, and it isn’t cheap at $1,000. There’s a pretty hefty physical price tag too. The weight loss comes from the essentially starving body’s response, which is to slip into a state of ketosis and start to burn stored fat. Taken too far, the tubes can potentially cause the body to eat away at muscle.

TREND TRIGGER: Shedding pounds before the Big Day.

CLAIM: Double-digit weight loss.

IS IT FOR YOU? No, the diet restricts calories too severely and going overboard could damage your muscles.

  1. Juicing Diet

Kale-ginger-beet-goji berry juice anyone? This year, Americans were filling up on veggie juices for “juice cleanses” lasting three days or more. There is no shortage of juicing books and the juice industry is still booming. Even Starbucks joined the craze by buying luxe juicemaker Evolution Fresh for $30 million. The idea behind juicing is relatively simple: the aim is to fast on pure fruit and veggie juices to detox and purify the body to feel healthier, more energized and perhaps a couple pounds lighter.

The problem with juice diets are not their taste–although some varieties are quite bitter. There’s simply a lack of evidence that they really provide sustained weight loss and boost energy levels. Typically, only water weight is lost on a juice ‘cleanse,’ and the pounds tend to creep back after the first bite of solid bread. “There have been no clinical studies that validate their cleansing properties,” Dr. Leonard Bielory, an allergy specialist at Rutgers University, told TIME writer Josh Ozersky. And then there are the uncomfortable side effects, since what goes in eventually gets broken down and comes out. “Drinking only juice for three days or more doesn’t do much but put the individual in an uncomfortable position,” he says.

TREND TRIGGER: Celebrities, Dr. Oz. Fresh fruit and veggie juice is not only tasty, it’s trendy.

CLAIM: ”Cleansing” your body of toxins.

IS IT FOR YOU? Depends. If you want a kick-off for healthier eating, it’s alright, but don’t expect the weight loss to stick.

  1. Marisa Miller Diet

Who doesn’t want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model and Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue girl? Miller is her own best advertising, and her diet is actually a package of common sense tips that you know you have to follow but sometimes forget. Like eat fewer calories, and don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods, just eat less of them. Oh, and exercise. As much as you can.

TREND TRIGGER: Miller’s fit bikini bod

CLAIM: You too can rock a fit bikini bod—if you eat right and exercise

IS IT FOR YOU? The principles Miller supports make sense, but the diet isn’t very specific in terms of what and how much to eat. Could a book be in the works?