Were you on a diet this year? Most Americans were. John LaRosa says his company, MarketData, "estimates that the number of U.S. dieters has risen to 108 million. According to FDA statistics, Americans make 4-5 dieting attempts per year."
This year's trends show that when people got serious about losing weight, they went for something sustainable. That's what you'll find in a list of the 25 most popular diets of 2012 compiled by Dietsinreview.com.
Read on to see the top 10 diets of the year, as determined by total visitors to each of the diet review pages on DietsInReview.com for the past 11 months. We share the pros and cons of each and encourage you to consider these, as well as your doctor's guidance, before trying any of these diets.
1. Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers turns 50 in January, and for good reason -- Weight Watchers works. With a loyal following as strong as ever, Weight Watchers dominated the top spot on our list for yet another year.
PRO: Accessibility; no strict guidelines; sustainable and comprehensive.
CON: Counting PointsPlus values can be tedious; more emphasis on food than fitness; not ideal for diabetics.
2. 17 Day Diet
Launched amongst a publicity blast on The Doctors in 2010, Dr. Mike Moreno's 17 Day Diet book series has grown to be one of the most popular diet books out there. Admitting that there's nothing revolutionary about the plan, Dr. Moreno provides smart guidance to those wanting to improve their eating habits.
PRO: Created by a medical doctor; healthful and organized eating plan; emphasizes fitness.
CON: No online access; 5 pound weight loss in 17 days exceeds 1-2 pound/week industry recommendation; permitted and off-limit foods can be confusing.
A dominant player in the meal delivery diet industry for more than 30 years, Medifast is primarily relied upon by bariatric and surgical weight loss patients. The mostly soft foods diet helps patients manage their weight before surgery and make important adjustments during their recovery.
PRO: Convenience; supports diabetic needs; medically endorsed.
CON: Not sustainable for the long term; not enough whole, fresh foods; pre-packaged, processed foods.
The idea is to take injections (or even synthetic supplements) of the human choriogonadotropin hormone, which is produced by pregnant women, and accompany that with a 500-calorie diet. Critics of the hCG diet can't say enough about how dangerous it is while fans can't say enough about all the weight they've lost.
PRO: May promote weight loss; can be administered by a doctor.
CON: Dangerously low in calories; side effects include fatigue, irritability, headache and male breast enlargement.
5. PINK Method
Released just as "diet season" started last winter, PINK Method is a DVD fitness system created exclusively for women. Lead by a team of trainers and nutritionist Cynthia Pasquella, users follow a cycled eating and fitness plan to lose weight and get in shape.
PRO: Comprehensive fitness and dietary plan; fitness plans are adaptable; suitable for diabetics, vegans, vegetarians, and more.
CON: Not available for men; upfront investment ($60 for book and DVDs plus specialty foods like hemp or whey protein powders).
One of the oldest names in the business, Nutrisystem continues to be a leader in the meal delivery industry after more than 40 years. Celebrity endorsers show how easy the pre-packaged, pre-portioned meals can make losing weight.
PRO: New fresh-frozen chef-inspired meals; convenience; supports many dietary needs.
CON: No organized fitness plan; high in sodium; no maintenance support.
Nicknamed "the sprinkle diet," it's a weight loss supplement that's catching a lot of heat from regulators. Slapped with a near-million dollar lawsuit in California for false advertising claims this year, Sensa "supposedly" tricks your mind in to thinking you're full and satisfied so that you stop eating sooner.
PRO: Convenient; stimulant free.
CON: False claims; no habit changes; not sustainable.
8. Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD
We can probably get away with calling 30 Day Shred one of the best fitness DVDs of all time! Coming up on the fifth anniversary of its release, it's the only DVD on our list and it appears every year. It's fun, it's effective, and best of all it comes with a brand of training only "America's Toughest Trainer" can deliver.
PRO: Effective; respected fitness expert; affordable.
CON: No dietary guidance.
9. Jillian Michaels Detox and Cleanse
The detox and cleanse product is a supplement endorsed by the no-nonsense trainer, who resumes her role on The Biggest Loser in January. While it shouldn't be used as your exclusive plan for losing weight, the seven-day cleanse can be used to jump start more lasting weight loss efforts. Users see reduced belly bloat, smoother digestion, and a slight difference on the scale due to the loss of water weight.
PRO: Promotes healthy digestion; minimal, temporary weight loss; natural ingredients.
CON: No habit changes; no sustainable weight loss; no diet or fitness guidance.
10. Dukan Diet
Former bride-to-be Kate Middleton was rumored to be following this cycled weight loss plan as she prepared for her wedding with Prince William. Created by Dr. Pierre Dukan in France, The Dukan Diet relies on a four-phase eating plan that helps you burn fat stores.
PRO: Research based; significant healthful dietary support; promotes some fitness.
CON: Strict guidelines; side effects include lethargy and moodiness; no fitness plan.