Vegan Diet Outranks Keto as America’s Most Popular Diet

It’s January 2023 and the first month of the year is also the busiest month of the year for diet-seekers. So we turned, yet again, to Google Adwords and Google Trends for insights on the latest dieting patterns and trends.

Last year alone, Americans made over 600 million diet-related searches on Google (including searches on supplements and vitamins), according to data from Google Adwords, with January being the busiest month of the year.

Clearly, if you’ve ever thought about starting a new diet at the beginning of the year, you’re not alone. Much of the world sees New Year’s Day as a time to make lifestyle changes or commit to new habits, and the proportion of Google searches dedicated to diet and nutrition on New Year’s Day can be nearly double that during the last week of the preceding year.

Overall, interest in dieting steadily drops as each year progresses, until the next New Year’s Day comes around.

How we compiled the data

Our research is based on Google Trends data for the year 2022. We also got a glance of diet searches for the first few days of January 2023, and they largely confirm the 2022 trends.

Searches related to a diet are grouped by Google into topics (ie Ketogenic Diet, Veganism, MIND Diet), which includes all keywords related to that particular topic. For example, for the ketogenic diet topicGoogle will report its popularity score by looking at all keto-related keywords such as keto recipes, keto meal plan, keto for beginnersetc.

Keto No Longer America’s Favorite Diet

Since 2018, keto has been America’s most popular diet, holding the crown for four consecutive years, according to Google Trends data. But that has come to an end as veganism came to outrank keto, and it’s now the most popular diet in the United States.

Most popular diet in America in 2023

However, the most popular local diet depends on where you live. Veganism is most popular in coastal states and the District of Columbia. Oregon tops the state-specific veganism popularity chart, followed by Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and California.

In states such as Utah, Arizona, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, veganism is just slightly more popular than keto. But in Mississippi, West Virginia, the Dakotas, Alabama, and Wyoming, keto is the top diet by a wide margin.

1. Vegan Diet

Chef’s Pencil has reported numerous times about the meteoric rise of veganism, but its local and global popularity slightly decreased last year. So we were surprised to see the vegan diet taking the crown as America’s most popular diet.

Veganism popularity continues to be very strong, even if some of it’s iconic foods such as the veggie burger is not nearly as popular as it was a few years ago.

For many of its fans, veganism is more than a diet – it is a lifestyle. Therefore veganism-related searches tend to stay consistently high throughout the year compared to other diet plans. And with climate change and animal cruelty continuing to be growing concerns on the public agenda, veganism is here to stay. That’s not to say other reasons why people turn to veganism are less important, for example, its health benefits and maybe because (most) vegan food is simply delicious.

Keto vs Vegan Diet Popularity

2. Ketogenic Diet

While keto was the undisputed number one diet in America for years, its relative popularity was actually decreasing for the past three years. Keto popularity hit a peak in 2019 and since then it has been all downhill, according to Google Trends data.

Nevertheless, keto was so popular that in spite of its shrinking fan base, it was still way more popular than any other diet, up until last year.

Maybe one of the reasons for its decline in popularity is the bad reputation it has gotten over the years, with numerous media outlets and dieting experts labeling keto as the worst diet out there.

keto popularity falls

3. Weight Watchers Diet

In spite of a slow but steady decline in popularity, the WeightWatchers diet remains one of America’s most popular diet programs. The program’s heyday was in the early 2010s, and while it saw a resurgence in 2018, its current relative popularity scores are nowhere near its peak years, according to Google Trends.

4. Vegetarian Diet

Vegan’s diet cousin, the vegetarian diet, follows a similar pattern to veganism, and it is less susceptible to seasonal trends than other diets. Google data shows that once people start a vegetarian diet, they stick with it for months, if not years.

However, Google Trends shows that veganism has become much more popular and talked about than vegetarianism, despite being substantially more restrictive in food choices.

5. Intermittent Fasting

While popular since 2012, intermittent fasting really took off in 2018 and became America’s second most popular diet in 2020, according to Google data.

Despite a dip in popularity, intermittent fasting seems to be making a comeback, with an increase in popularity in 2022 and an apparent surge in 2023 as well.

6. Mediterranean Diet

Hailed for its health benefits, the Mediterranean diet has become popular over the past four years.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the few diets that is unanimously regarded as being good for you. Eating well and taking good care of both your body and mind is especially important during the cold months, and can even help beat those dreaded winter blues.

Methodology

Our research is based on Google Trends data for the year 2022. We also got a glance of diet searches for the first few days of January 2023, and they largely confirm the 2022 trends.

Searches related to a diet are grouped by Google into topics (ie Ketogenic Diet, Veganism, MIND Diet), which includes all keywords related to that particular topic. For example, for the ketogenic diet topicGoogle will report its popularity score by looking at all keto-related keywords such as keto recipes, keto meal plan, keto for beginnersetc.

Featured image credit:  Practical Cures

Chef’s Pencil Staff

Our editorial team is responsible for the research, creation, and publishing of in-house studies, original reports and articles on food trends, industry news and guides.

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