What Were the Top Nutrition Trends in 2018?

Last year has brought with it a whole host of nutrition trends, both in terms of the diet and food trends. Some have left us enticed, some grateful, while others have us simply baffled. Discover what were some of the most searched diet and food trends of 2018 (according to Google), in no particular order. Keep some of these handy, but be prepared to toss out the rest.


Diet Trends

1. Ketogenic Diet

The keto diet emerges on top of the list in 2018 and looks set to remain trendy in 2019. Endorsed by just about everyone, from celebrities to your neighbour, this high-fat, high-protein diet involves restricting your carbohydrate intake to a mere 5% per day. In this way, your body is placed in the state ketosis, encouraging the body to burn fat instead of the little available glycogen (stored glucose) to produce energy. Find more information about the keto diet here.

2. Carnivore Diet

Need we explain this one? Closely related to the keto diet, this trend became popular in 2018, so if you like your meat, you would love it. No vegetables. No fruits. No cheat potato on the side. The premise of it is: you only need protein, fat, vitamins and minerals to survive and the right portion of meat can actually provide us all of that. And all we need is a small amount because protein fills us up very quickly and leaves us feeling full for longer, so we end up eating less overall.

You only eat meat – beef being the first choice, every cut, even the organs. Lamb, pork, chicken and fish come next. And your choices of beverage include water and bone broth. Some dairy product such as butter, hard cheeses and heavy whipping cream are allowed, and eggs are ok too. Advocates have sworn that to see results in as little as a few weeks, but honestly, it probably is one of the most uninspiring diets out there and it is not endorsed by any medical professionals.


3. Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet gained steam in 2018 and is likely to be sticking around come 2019. With more positive research on its heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory properties, it’s not just popular with those looking to lose weight, but also among people who have been diagnosed with heart disease and auto-immune disorders. This diet encourages the consumption of fresh vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, legumes, olive oil, avocados and fish, most of which help maintain heart and brain health. The emphasis is one home-cooked holistic meals while processed food and sugar are restricted.

4. Low-FODMAPs Diet

Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Say what now? FODMAPs, as its commonly known, is the complicated name for short-chain carbs (sugars) found in food that are poorly absorbed by some people, including those who have gut disorders and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The point of this diet is to avoid foods high in FODMAPs, or at least minimise the intake of the following:

  • Fermentable, Oligosaccharides like legumes (baked beans, chickpeas etc.), wheat, rye (biscuits, bread, couscous and pasta), and vegetables and fruits that cause gas (artichoke, garlic, onion, beetroot, rambutan, watermelon, etc.).
  • Disaccharides like milk, cheese (especially soft cheese) and yoghurt
  • Monosaccharides that have excess fructose like apple, mango, dried and canned fruits, and;
  • Polyols like lychee, cauliflower, low-calorie sweeteners, etc.

Research has been promising in suggesting that those who suffer from IBS indeed feel relieved from avoiding high FODMAP foods. Don’t expect significant changes in weight though, this one is not really for those looking to shed pounds. However, with the increasing focus on digestive and gut health, this one might just be sticking around in the New Year. For more tips on gut health, just check out our article on Taking Care of Your Gut.


5. Fasting Diets

Intermittent-fasting diets were all the rage in 2018 and will definitely be blazing into 2019. In a nutshell, intermittent fasting is more of a dietary pattern rather than a diet. It involves consuming calories in a specific time window of the day without eating in the remaining, larger window. Increasingly prevalent for its weight loss advantages, it has also been found to help with inflammation and blood sugar. The Dubrow diet and the lectin-free diet, described below, both incorporate aspects of intermittent fasting into their plans. Though not quite on the radar yet, another type, reverse fasting, is also gaining popularity.

If you’re keen on starting an intermittent fasting diet, here are six tips for beginners to help you out.

6. Dubrow Diet

Developed by Dr. Terry and Heather Dubrow, the Dubrow diet encourages intermittent fasting which focuses on your metabolism in order to teach the body to burn fat. For those who have an aversion to math, you will be glad to know that the diet does not involve counting calories or macronutrients. All you will need to remember is “when” (i.e. sustaining a fast of 12 to 16 hours per day), “what” refers to the kind of food and “how much” is the quantity you should eat when you are allowed to eat.

The specifics of the plan involve three phases that differ in fasting periods, but it is generally a low carb approach that highlights whole, minimally processed foods, lean meats and other protein, vegetables and healthy fats, proportioned depending on the phase you’re in.

7. Lectin-Free Diet

Dr Steven Gundry has a theory. He purports that lectins, which are proteins found in plants, wreak havoc on your immune system and cause inflammation. He also goes a little off the radar with plants being in a war with humankind, but all you need to know is the diet highlights leafy green, cruciferous vegetables, high-quality fats, lectin-free grains like white flour (strangely), most animal proteins and some dairy. It also involves some intermittent fasting.

Weight loss effects are varied, and it is debatable if the benefits actually outweigh the risks, so the jury is still out there as to whether going lectin-free will be trendy in 2019.

8. Optavia Diet

You might not have heard of it but Optavia plans involve following a diet using Optavia products and working closely with their coaches. You are allowed a few meals consisting of the brand’s products, known as “Fuelings”, and a proper meal you prepare yourself that should contain lean protein, and three servings of non-starchy vegetables. What you should avoid or limit: alcohol, butter, coconut oil, shortening, high-calorie desserts and sugary drinks. You are also allowed to eventually transit back to starchy vegetables, dairy, fruit and whole grains as the plan progresses.

Note that there have been reported cases of side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches, leg cramps, rashes and constipation (that’s quite a list isn’t it?), but celebrities like Buddy Valastro, of the TV Show Cake Boss fame, have shown remarkable weight loss benefits.


Though it might not catch on as much in 2019, particularly in Asia, here is a good alternative: The Wellness Insider’s 60-Day Metabolic Tune Up Programme. It goes a step further than plans that Optavia offers by zoning into your metabolism. We believe that health is linked to lifestyle habits and three things go hand in hand: nutrition, exercise and supplements. You will learn what to eat and even when to eat. And there will be support and accountability in our private group where our wellness coach and personal trainer will be there to guide you throughout your journey. And if our word is not good enough, read about real changes from real people here.

9. Flexitarian Diet

Vegetarian diets and veganism may have been exalted as the new lifestyle trends in 2016 and 2017, but in 2018, thanks to the surge in popularity of meat/protein-centric diets like keto and carnivore diets, people want their meat. Hence the rise of flexitarianism, a diet involving a meatless diet that intermittently includes meat or fish.

The flexitarian diet is not merely a dietary phase; it is a lifestyle. It is a healthier way of eating with an emphasis on whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables for most meals, with meat being confined to evening meals. The best part? You don’t just get healthier, you’re also helping the environment. Flexitarianism may actually help to assuage climate change and environmental destruction.

Diets Come, Diets Go

The popular Paleo diet is conspicuously absent from the list; not surprising, given that most people do not find it particularly effective in weight loss, neither is it necessarily as healthy as its proponents claim it to be. Men seem to love it though, given the emphasis in meat. Vegan and vegetarian diets are missing too, taking a backseat for flexitarianism as people become more aware of the benefits of meat and fish.

Stay tuned for our next article on Upcoming Top Nutrition Trends, where we focus on food trends of 2018 that are looking to ride the wave into 2019!


Photo Credits: Pexels, Pixabay and The Wellness Insider


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