Best Tips: Paleo, keto, fasting, Whole 30: Why food tribes are on the rise

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"How does the paleot work?" Here's the simple, solid, and strongly motivational step by step guide. You can do this!.Lifestyle. food. voraciously. Get the Newsletter. Join our growing newsletter community and get the tips and tricks you need to host a killer dinner party..

Hey I just been learning about what the paleot is and while I like the natural food aspect of it. I can say with scientific knowledge that cavemen did eat certain grains..Lifestyle. food. voraciously. Get the Newsletter. Join our growing newsletter community and get the tips and tricks you need to host a killer dinner party..

The Paleo diet, including these foods, was the second most popular in a recent survey. (iStock)

Does it seem like suddenly everyone you know is identifying as Paleo, giving keto a whirl, or suffering through Whole 30? Well, it’s not your imagination. Compared with this time last year, the percentage of American adults following a specific diet protocol more than doubled, from 14 percent to 36 percent. In other words: Food tribes are on the rise. That’s one of the most surprising findings of the annual Food & Health Survey released today by the International Food Information Council Foundation.

The most popular dozen diets were, in descending order: intermittent fasting, Paleo, gluten-free, low-carb, Mediterranean, Whole 30, high-protein, vegetarian/vegan, weight-loss plan, cleanse, DASH and ketogenic/high-fat. Taken alone, each of these diet dogmas snatches up only 3 to 10 percent of the population. (Respondents — of which there were more than 1,000, in a weighted national sample polled online in March — could choose more than one.) But altogether, about 16 percent were eating low-carb in some way. And the reason seems to stem from evolving perceptions of what causes weight gain.

Of those following a certain creed over the past year, weight-related motivators were at the top of the list. Those surveyed considered sugar the top calorie-related culprit of weight gain, followed by carbohydrates, cited by 25 percent of respondents — up 5 percentage points compared with 2017, and a record for the 13-year survey.

Admittedly, a methodological asterisk is at play: Last year, participants were given an open text box rather than specific diets to choose from. But according to the foundation, the spike was probably caused by more substantive undercurrents. In the quest for optimal health and weight, what is driving more Americans to follow specific diet regimens?

A vegan dish. (anakopa/Getty Images/iStock)

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