The Fall of Keto Diet: a decline of 25% in 2022

The ketogenic—keto—diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet first used in the 1920s to treat epilepsy and has been considered a healthy choice since. We’ve examined Google Trends data on diets to learn why keto has been in decline recently, what diet is taking over, and which states are most up-to-date on the latest healthy diets. Continue reading to find out more.  

The development of the keto diet in the U.S.

The keto diet first began gaining popularity amongst the general public—according to our research on Google Trends—in January 2017. It first took off in the Central United States, most searched for in states such as Oklahoma, Utah, Idaho, Alaska, and Wyoming, and least searched for in the Northeast, in states such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, D.C., and Rhode Island.

keto-diet-trends

Data Source: Google Trends, (https://www.google.com/trends

By January 2019, the keto diet had reached an all-time high, surpassing other popular diets—the Mediterranean, gluten-free, paleo, and vegan diets—by at least 86% in search volume.  The unpopularity of the diet in the Northeast of the U.S. remained intact even during its peak popularity in 2019 when its lowest popularity remained in the New York area. 

The decline of the keto diet in the U.S.

Following its 2019 spike in popularity, keto has been in general decline, though it’s still extremely popular. 

Data Source: Google Trends, (https://www.google.com/trends)

The diet has consistently seen spikes in popularity every January, telling of a well-intentioned population looking to begin the new year healthily. In January 2020 keto was half as popular as it had been in 2019, in 2021 it was 27% as popular, and in 2022, only 18% as popular, and had dipped in popularity during the rest of the year. 

In 2022, keto diet declined by 25% overall in the U.S. 

What diet is taking over the United States?

Recently, there has been a rising interest in the Mediterranean diet, perhaps because health experts have named it the best diet for 5 years in a row. The Mediterranean diet is currently most popular in the Pacific Northwest—Washington and Oregon—where it ranks only 10% behind keto, telling of these states’ adherence to expert advice.

The Mediterranean diet is least popular in the Central U.S. and, surprisingly, in California and New York. That said, the mere interest in search is not enough to beat even the declining popularity of keto. 

A more intentional search by the public is by diet-specific recipes, which shows an action-based intention to prepare a meal, rather than seek information. Considering intention-focused search terms for popular diets, we’ve found that the Mediterranean diet has relatively low follow-through and that the vegan diet is more popular. 

Data Source: Google Trends, (https://www.google.com/trends)

If you’re still doing keto, you might want to reconsider

Keto can be a fast-paced track to weight loss, can be helpful with epilepsy, and may even help prevent cancer by inhibiting tumor growth. However, it comes with disadvantages.

The diet can take 2-3 weeks to work for weight loss. Keto is also extremely restrictive, making it difficult to follow for a more extended period. Even if you manage to follow the diet continuously, keep in mind that the lower amount of carbs can be harmful to your overall health, so it might be best to follow the diet only short term. 

This, perhaps, explains why keto only ranked #37 out of 40 for best diets, according to experts.

The rise of the vegan diet in coastal areas

The vegan diet is followed by about 3% of Americans, according to WebMD, and is currently the most-searched-for diet (in terms of recipes) on both the East and West Coasts.

keto-diet-or-vegan-diet

Data Source: Google Trends, (https://www.google.com/trends

In California, Oregon, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, D.C., and Hawaii the vegan diet has surpassed keto’s popularity by an average of 5%. This can be explained by the recent ranking of healthiest states in the U.S., published by U.S. News, which shows that coastal states are by far the healthiest.

Our final thoughts

While the ketogenic diet remains the most popular diet overall in the U.S., its disadvantages explain why it is not recommended by experts.

The unpopularity of keto on the coasts, combined with the popularity of the Mediterranean and vegan diets in those areas, is telling of the population’s health awareness. If you want to get on top of your health faster, it might be a good idea to move to the West or East Coast. 

Research methodology

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 “paleo diet,” “keto diet,” “Mediterranean diet,” “vegan diet,” and “gluten-free diet” in the United States in 2017-2022. We’ve also researched the terms “paleo recipes,” “keto recipes,” “Mediterranean diet recipes,” “vegan recipes,” and gluten-free recipes” for the same timeframe. 

References

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