Daily Dose

The top trending diets in Boston

Have you noticed everyone around you is moody, restless, and anxious to eat pizza again? It’s the beginning of February, which means the month-long saga of resolution dieting plagueing our city has finally started to calm down.

This January’s trending diets are extreme in how they restrict grocery lists and dining options. Trying to think of a Valentine’s Day date when one person is on one of these top-trending diets has the potential to cause a break-up.

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According to Google, these were the top 10 most-searched diets in January 2014:

1. “dr oz diet

2. “virgin diet

3. “paleo diet

4. “super shred diet

5. “juicing diet

6. “mayo clinic diet

7. “low sugar diet

8. “tlc diet

9. “raw diet

10. “wheat free diet

Let’s take a deeper look at the number one diet on this list: The Dr. Oz diet, or more formally, “Dr. Oz’s two-week rapid weight-loss plan.”

So what triggered this city-wide buzz? On Jan. 6, The Dr. Oz show revealed that an entire studio audience lost 1, 093 pounds on his plan. That’s an average of nine pounds per person.

The audience of The Dr. Oz show holding up their total weight loss after two weeks on the diet.

The diet’s primary structure is to avoid carbs and starches (which Dr. Oz has pinned as the root of all successful weight loss) besides a daily 1/2 cup of brown rice. Meat-based protein is also largely restricted to one daily lean serving of poultry or fish.

“Changing your diet by adding lots of fruits and vegetables is waist-friendly because they’re full of water, so they’re going to fill you up,” said Joan Salge Blake, a Boston.com blogger and associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University. “The diet restricts wheat, and I’m not sure why you need to do it to that level, but it eliminates a large amount of foods. Wheat doesn’t cause weight gain, but by eliminating it you will largely reduce calories by restricting the amount of foods you can eat.”

The plan also includes some strange recommends that aim to restructure your eating and grocery shopping habits. For instance, the diet recommends that the first thing people should drink in the morning is a cup of hot water with lemon.

Here’s your life on The Dr. Oz diet:

The ‘No’ list:

• Wheat (except 1/2 cup brown rice)

• Artificial sweeteners (this includes all diet soda)

• White sugar

• Alcohol

• Caffeine (only green tea)

• Dairy (except Greek yogurt)

• Additional exercise

• Meals between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

“When it comes to diet, people don’t like to be told what not to eat, they want to be told what to eat. They find it much easier to follow,” says Salge Blake. “Initially a diet like this works, because it makes it very clear. But you need to look at long-term education, because you can’t stay on a diet like this forever.”

Even though The Dr. Oz diet encourages a high vegetable intake, it restricts followers to low-glycemic vegetables, which is a fancy way of saying non-starchy. Starch-based vegetables include potatoes, corn, and surprisingly, peas.

We all know refined or simple carbs like white bread should be avoided, but why are carbohydrates in vegetables bad for you? Carbohydrate-based foods break down into sugars and starches (hence, low-glycemic) during digestion that, if you aren’t active, will convert into fat.

The Dr. Oz diet and other low-carb diets aim to eliminate carbohydrates, not only so your body will have less spare blood sugar to convert into fat, but also so that the body has less alternatives for things to burn that are quick, and has to resort to burning fat reserves.

In addition to eliminating most of the major food groups, Dr. Oz instructs followers to do these tasks every day:

• Take a probiotic every morning (he claims this helps with weight loss)

• 1/2 a multivitamin in the morning and 1/2 at night

• Nightly detox bath in an epsom salt/baking soda mixture

While the diet’s goal is to make losing weight easy and avoid time in the kitchen, the very detailed instructions seem to make healthy eating a stressful experience (besides the daily bath). The shopping list looks more like you’re making a homemade candle than stocking a fridge.

“What happens after the two weeks, that’s what I want to know,” said Salge Blake. “For two weeks, it’s like you’re staying at a spa and your whole day is mapped out, but now what happens when you check out. That’s what is wrong with our weight management, what happens when we go home. We have got to get improved eating and lifestyle habits so that when we check out, we can maintain our health.”

Have you tried the Dr. Oz diet or any other diets on this list? What’s been your experience? Also, check out this list of the most Googled diets nationally in 2013 and learn what nutritionists had to say about each.

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