Top 10 Popular Diets of 2016 EXPLAINED

Before you have a chance to put on your winter layer, check out the top 10 most popular diets for 2016.  We’ll share with you which ones work and those that don’t to save you personally trying them all out.  You can thank us later!

The 5:2 diet is a form of intermittent fasting, where dieters are allowed to eat whatever they fancy for five days a week, then for two days they are to limit their calorie intake.  For women on the fasting day, that means 500 calories and for men, 600 calories. Besides weight loss, it is believed intermittent fasting is beneficial in helping the body repair cells, which may reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

With only two days of restricted eating (consecutive or split up), some find the 5:2 diet more achievable and sustainable long term than reducing their calories every day.  Being on a regimen of two days with low calories can result in great reductions in body fat, insulin resistance and chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes.

While the 5:2 diet stipulates you reduce your calories for two days, it doesn’t mean you have the licence to feast on everything on the non-restricted days.  Making healthy food choices and exercising is recommended while on the diet.  Some side effects experienced are dizziness, irritability, poor concentration, headaches, difficulty sleeping and dehydration.


The paleo or caveman diet first gained its popularity in 2013 thanks to chefs like Pete Evans pushing it into the spotlight.  The diet is based on the eating habits of hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic era, which means you can only consume meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.  Any grains, potatoes, dairy, and refined sugar are off the menu, along with anything processed.  The theory to abiding by this low-carb, high-protein diet is you’ll lose weight, as well as reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Whilst on the paleo diet you’ll be eating wholefoods and less processed food products, which will ultimately reduce your calories and help you drop kilos.  It’s considered a more sustainable diet as there is no weighing food or counting calories, and many plans adhere to the 80/20 rule, being that you eat by the paleo book 80% of the time.


With no precise records of what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate during the Paleolithic times, the diet lacks scientific evidence.  Many health experts are concerned the paleo diet bans key food groups like dairy products, legumes and wholegrains which could increase the potential for nutritional deficiencies.  You’ll also be eating large amounts of meat on the paleo diet which comes with its own health concerns, not to mention it can be very expensive.



The French devised Dukan diet is based on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate plan of four stages:

  1. Attack – 2-5 days
  2. Cruise – until you’re at your goal weight
  3. Consolidation – every 4 days per .5 kilo lost
  4. Stabilisation – for life

During stage one, you’ll need to adhere to a strict low-fat protein diet with no carbohydrates (besides a small amount of oat bran) including vegetables. When you’ve graduated to ‘cruise’, you can start to slowly introduce some fruits, vegetables and carbs back into your diet, before gradually eating all foods. The final phase sees you having one protein-only day every week to promote long-term weight management.

There is potential for you to see rapid weight loss, which can be very satisfying and keep you motivated to stay on track.  Once you have your head around what you can and can’t eat, the Dukan diet is easy to follow being that you don’t have to count calories.

The Dukan diet is a very strict diet with several steps to follow in order to gain results, which can be unsustainable and unhealthy.  Common side effects seen at the beginning of the diet are bad breath, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, nausea and lack of sleep.  In the early stage, dieters can experience constipation due to the lack of grains, fruits and vegetables.  There is also a danger with this diet you’ll create nutritional deficiencies if you don’t consume vitamin supplements whilst on the plan.



The old Atkins diet has been tweaked to include a wider variety of foods making it more nutritionally balanced.  The New Atkins still claims to transform your body into a fat-burning machine by starving yourself of carbs. In the first initial two weeks, you’ll consume a protein-rich diet and a maximum of 20g of carbohydrates. As a result, you’ll experience rapid weight loss. The weight loss will slow in the next three stages of the diet as you introduce more carbs, initially 5g at a time.


You’re likely to drop a lot of kilos quickly, which may inspire you to keep persevering on the diet.  You’re encouraged to cut out processed carbohydrates and even ditch alcohol, which can mean for many you’re making healthier choices.  The diet is likely to appeal to men with its high intake of red meat and dairy like butter, cheese and mayo.


There are concerns that the high intake of saturated fat will increase dieter’s risk of heart disease.  Side effects of the New Atkins diet are nausea, insomnia, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue and bad breath.  Constipation is likely to occur due to the limitation of carbs and low fibre.



The Alkaline diet aims to reduce the amount of acid in your body by limiting your intake of meat, wheat, refined sugar, dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol.  The diet, which claims to help you reduce weight as well as lower your risk of conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and kidney and liver disorders, is backed by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston.  The Alkaline diet was originally developed to reduce the risk of urine infections and kidneys stones, with little evidence to support the more recent health claims.


Dieters are encouraged to adopt healthy eating habits like avoiding processed foods, sugar, and alcohol.  You’re more likely to be consuming healthier foods which will in turn reduce your calorie intake and help you lose weight.  Depending on the plan, you can be on an Alkaline diet which has plenty of variety and includes all the recommended food groups.


There is a lack of evidence that the Alkaline diet will achieve the health results promoted as the body regulates its acidity levels (pH balance) regardless of your diet.  Reducing your diary intake will require you to find other calcium substitutes to ensure you are getting adequate intake.  In the beginning, some dieters find figuring out what you are allowed to eat and what to avoid difficult and time consuming.



The CSIRO diet is centred around a high-protein, low glycaemic index (GI) rich diet for 12 weeks.  It claims to produce greater weight loss and help you maintain a healthy weight long term.  By eating high protein foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, and legumes it suggests you’ll have better control over your hunger and prevent muscle loss.  The low GI carb foods like rice, pasta and bread are included in small amounts to help you remain fuller for longer.  The diet encourages a balance of nutrients and is designed to control your kilojoule intake without the need for counting calories.


The CSIRO diet is family friendly as it includes all the major food groups and is devised by qualified nutritionists and dietitians.  Most dieters will experience a healthy rate of weight loss making it a more sustainable diet, and it’s very easy to follow.  A number of studies have shown positive health benefits including improvements in blood glucose, blood insulin and LDL cholesterol.


This diet is not about a quick fix, and requires you to go back to basics preparing most of your own meals (this can also be considered a pro).  There is a concern the recommended intake of red meat is too high, increasing the risk of bowel cancer.  Some dieters won’t enjoy the recommendation of only three meals a day, and over-eat during their main meals to compensate.



The detox diet is about fasting entirely or consuming only a small amount of food for a period of days (commonly 5-7 days), to “cleanse your liver”.  Most of the detox diets are supported by bottled tonics of juice and spices or powered packaged drinks.  The idea is that you’re helping your body remove toxins and in turn you’ll lose weight, increase your energy and have clearer skin and eyes.


You’re likely to be consuming more raw vegetables than normal, increasing your overall nutrient intake.  You’ll be cutting out processed foods, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar whilst detoxing.  You’re likely to lose weight quickly, which can help you remain motivated to adhere to a healthy diet once you’ve completed the detox.


That weight you did lose will be regained quickly once you start eating food.  There is a potential danger you’ll experience bowel issues, constipation, and nutrient deficiencies on top of the common side effects like headaches, dizziness, nausea and tiredness.  There is also a lack of scientific evidence that your liver needs you to detox from your diet (besides alcohol) and lifestyle.



The DASH diet isn’t based on restricting calories or eliminating major food groups, instead it’s a healthy eating plan.  It was originally designed in conjunction with the US National Institutes of Health to help lower blood pressure without the need for medication.  It focuses on eating more vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, low-fat dairy and lean protein, and less sweets, salt and processed foods.


There is no need to track the calories you’re consuming, instead you’re encouraged to eat a healthy, whole food diet.  It is scientifically proven to be a heart healthy diet and qualified nutritionists give it their tick of approval.


It’s all about going back to basics, which although is a positive, it can be time consuming and expensive for some.  It hasn’t been designed specifically to lose weight, but it is flexible in regards to the number of servings you have, so you can follow the diet in order to lose excess kilos.



The Biggest Loser diet became popular thanks to the reality weight loss television show.  It’s a six-week plan focusing on eating healthy food and doing regular exercise.  By keeping a food journal, dieters are encouraged to get their calories from fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains rather than processed foods.  Besides seeing weight loss, it claims to reduce your risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s, prevent diabetes and improve heart health.


It is based on a well-balanced diet with acceptable intake of protein, carbs, fats and other vital nutrients.  Your protein intake is staggered throughout the day helping stabilise your blood sugar and providing a more satisfying effect.  Exercise is also an integral part of the program’s success, emphasising weight loss is about a healthy lifestyle, not just all about diet.


The calorie limits may be too low for some dieters, which may reduce your muscle mass and slow your metabolism in the process. Another concern with the reduced calories is that you’ll become deficient in some vitamins and minerals requiring supplementation.  Health experts warn your expectations shouldn’t be as high as the Biggest Loser contestants you see on TV.  Their job is to concentrate solely on exercise and losing weight without the distractions and temptations of the real world, so are likely to experience much greater weight loss.



The Whole30 diet was devised by two American qualified nutritionists and requires dieters eliminate all dairy, grains, soy, legumes, processed foods, sugar and alcohol for a period of 30 days.  While it hasn’t been marketed as a weight loss diet, it has seen participants drop kilos due to cutting out a number of foods.  It claims to improve your skin, increase your energy and reduce your LDL cholesterol.


The Whole30 diet is only a 30-day plan, so while it is encouraging you to adopt healthy eating habits long term, you don’t have to give up your alcohol entirely! You won’t be counting calories or weighing your food, just consuming Whole30 approved foods.


It’s very restrictive, making eating out extremely difficult and unsustainable long-term.  The diet cuts out a number of foods which are questionable to many experts, particular whole grains and legumes. It also requires a lot of planning and preparation to ensure you aren’t including any of the banned foods and still getting the required nutrients.