The Biggest Diet Trends of 2011

Like years before, 2011 was chock-full of trendy diets that got everyone talking, as well as trying. So what were the top diets of 2011? Read on to find out!

HCG Diet
The HCG diet isn't new (it's been around for more than 50 years), but it's once again a phenomenon. This was the year that people flocked to doctor's offices to get a pricey hormone injection all in the name of weight loss. The diet's deal: eat a restricted calorie diet, usually 500 calories a day, and inject the HCG hormone (or use drops or lozenges) every day. The claim is that the HCG hormone, which occurs in pregnant women naturally and helps them burn fat to use to feed their babies, helps convert body fat to energy so you get all the adequate calories you need every day without feeling hungry, but experts warn that there aren't any studies that prove the safety and effectiveness of the diet.

Paleo Diet
Eat like your ancestors did — as in, the ones from a very long time ago. The Paleo diet is a meal plan based on the hunting and gathering instincts of cavemen. That means lots of free-range, grass-fed meat, fresh seafood, and vegetables, but no grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugars, and processed foods. The Paleo Diet's main focus is to improve your overall health, and many people who have been on it say it's cured their digestive conditions, such as IBS. Experts are split on whether or not it's an effective diet — especially since some very common foods, like dairy and grain, are forbidden.

Read on for more top diet trends of 2011.

Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet and the Duchess of Cambridge — it was a (rumored) match made in heaven earlier this year. While the rumors that either Kate Middleton and her mom were on the diet in the lead up to her royal wedding were never confirmed, the talk coupled with the French diet's debut in America meant the Dukan diet gained much popularity in 2011. Similar to Atkins in its focus on protein, the Dukan diet involves different phases in which you are allowed to eat certain foods, from only meats and oat bran in the first phase to the stabilization phase, where you are allowed to eat anything you want as long as you eat an all-protein diet one day a week. Experts aren't quite convinced, however, saying that the diet may lack healthy fats and required nutrients.

Gluten-Free Diet
Celebrities have touted going gluten-free as a way to have more energy, lose weight, and generally feel healthier than ever. But while many people have gluten intolerance or sensitivities, the popularity of a gluten-free diet reaches beyond those who just can't digest gluten. Almost 50 percent of people polled thought "gluten-free" meant healthier for you, which could explain why all those gluten-free products are lining the grocery store shelves. So what do the experts think? Going gluten-free can possibly be beneficial for you, whether or not you actually have a gluten allergy. That's because following the diet correctly may mean that you'll be eating fewer grains and more fruits and vegetables. It could also just boil down to a placebo effect, but either way, a gluten-free diet can be beneficial for some.

Juice Detox
Detoxing via a few cups of nutrient-rich, freshly pressed juice at a time was also a popular diet trend for the year. Celebrities like Nicole Richie and Gwyneth Paltrow love a good pressed juice, and even Starbucks is getting in on the action, with an announcement that the company is opening up a chain of juice bars next year. Going on a juice fast may not be new, but the juice detox trend got a healthier makeover this year, with many people opting for nutrition-rich pressed juices containing lots of fruits and vegetables and accompanying elimination diets (which emphasize whole, unprocessed foods) to stay healthy and energized.

Have you tried any of these diets this year?

Source: Flickr User William Ismael, Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock
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