Popular Diet by State: Find Out if Your Healthy Diet is Just a Trend
It seems as if dieting options are endless as people nowadays are rapidly switching up their diets to try out the latest dietary trend. You might be surprised to find out how your location affects your dietary choices—as different diets gain popularity in different states. Does the trendiest diet in your state align with the latest professional recommendations for the best diets overall, or is it simply a passing trend?
Experts say: these are the best diets at the moment
According to U.S. News, a group of nutrition and health professionals provided their input to rank diets according to quality, sustainability, and health. This way, they created a list of the 40 best diets in the U.S. These are the top 5 best diets for this year:
Mediterranean Diet: based on eating traditional Mediterranean foods such as vegetables and whole grains and avoiding added sugars and red or processed meat, this diet may promote weight loss and reduce the risk of chronic and other illnesses.
DASH Diet: standing for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (high blood pressure), this diet encourages foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium to control blood pressure.
Flexitarian Diet: rather than avoiding certain foods, this diet focuses on flexibility and moderation, encouraging people to include more plant-based foods on top of their regular diet.
MIND Diet: this diet combines the Mediterranean and DASH diets to intervene with neurodegenerative delay and promote brain health, specifically, by recommending eating more vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, fish, beans, poultry, and wine.
Mayo Clinic Diet: hoping to help people lose weight and maintain the loss, this diet provides you with tools to make healthy choices and encourages you to eat according to a food pyramid that values vegetables and fruit.
If you’re living on the coast, you might want to reconsider your diet
While the Mediterranean, DASH, Flexitarian, MIND, and Mayo Clinic diets are the most encouraged by health professionals, this may not necessarily reflect their popularity among the general population.
There are significant differences in the popularity of these diets. The Mediterranean diet, for instance, is far more popular than the rest of the options, according to our Google trends research.
The DASH diet is second in popularity but is searched for only about a quarter of the times the Mediterranean diet is searched for. These two are followed by the Mayo Clinic diet, which is most popular in Minnesota—perhaps because of the location of the Mayo Clinic—yet still ranks lower than the first two.
|Diet||Most popular in||Least popular in|
The best diets according to U.S. News are, interestingly, most popular in states that aren’t coastal. Considering the relatively close proximity between Montana, North Dakota, and Idaho, which are all bordering one another, the gaps in dietary trends are astounding, with each state significantly dedicated to a distinct diet.
The most popular diets: Is calorie counting finally out?
While the aforementioned diets may be the healthiest options according to experts, they aren’t necessarily the most prevalent across the United States. In fact, the recommended diets do not make it to the top 5 most searched for—and therefore deemed most popular—diets, which, according to Statista, are:
- clean eating
- mindful eating
- calorie counting
- intermittent fasting
While Statista provides a complete list of the 18 most popular diets, we’ve only mentioned the top 5. The most popular diets among consumers seem to be less focused on specific foods and more concerned with ways of eating in terms of mental perception and time distribution of food.
According to our research, plant-based and intermittent fasting are actually in constant competition for the trendiest diets, with mindful eating and calorie counting being in decline.
Notably, the 5 most-searched-for diets do not at all correlate with the 5 best diets recommended by experts, potentially suggesting a breach in health-related education. If you are wondering where the best diets have landed on this list, you may be surprised to find out that the Flexitarian diet is the first to show up in 9th place, followed by the Mediterranean diet in 13th, and the DASH diet in 14th place.
Are you a trend follower? popular diets by state
|Diet||Most popular in||Least popular in|
|Clean eating||New York||Hawaii|
|Mindful eating||Idaho||North Dakota|
|Calorie counting||Minnesota||North Dakota|
|Plant-based||District of Columbia||South Dakota|
|Intermittent fasting||South Dakota||District of Columbia|
This table provides important insight when compared to the best diets table provided earlier in the article. Idaho, which is the most dedicated to the Flexitarian diet, also ranks first for mindful eating, highlighting that people in that state prioritize a mind-body connection and flexibility rather than strict meal plans. Minnesota, which ranks first for the Mayo Clinic diet, is also all about calorie counting—perhaps highlighting the state’s preoccupation with weight loss.
This table also showed the disparity in preference between the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) and South Dakota. While South Dakota overwhelmingly promotes intermittent fasting and ranks lowest for plant-based, the District of Columbia is the exact opposite. Both, however, are toeing the line on what our research suggests are actually the two most popular diets among the five offered by Statista.
Our final thoughts
While the popularity of diets ebbs and flows at a fast pace with the introduction of diets such as DASH, plant-based, or even keto or paleo, it is important to stay up to date with diets that are recommended by professionals to close the educational gap.
Next time you may consider changing up your diet, take a look beyond the local trends in your state (unless you’re in Vermont, where the best diet is also the most popular) and consult a trained professional for long-lasting results.
This article presents information and statistics from previously published research on the subject in combination with new research using Google trends to compare search trends for the terms “clean eating,” “mindful eating,” “calorie counting,” “plant-based,” and “intermittent fasting” in the United States in 2022. We’ve also researched the terms “Mediterranean diet,” “DASH diet,” “flexitarian diet,” “MIND diet,” and “Mayo Clinic diet” to discover geographical research trends for the best diets in the United States for 2022.
- “Best Diets Overall 2022.” U.S. News and World Report, 2022. https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall.
- “Distribution of Diets Followed by Consumers in the United States in 2022.” Statista, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/993725/consumer-diet-share-us/.