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Diet trends for 2021: Our registered dietitian details top healthy habits

A new year is well underway, which means many people have decided to make lifestyle changes (or least attempt a healthy change). UC Davis Health registered dietitian Melinda Gong looks back at some of 2020’s most popular diets and gives her predictions for hot diet trends in 2021.

Most searched diet of 2020

The Keto Diet is still holding strong and was top of the list of most searched diets in 2020, according to Google. This diet is very high fat and low in carbs – think of only being able to eat two slices of bread for the entire day. It can work in the short term, but it’s very challenging to maintain for a long period of time. The high amount of fat can potentially increase a person’s blood cholesterol levels, cause digestive problems, and a condition known as fatty liver.

Best diet of 2021

The Mediterranean Diet has been rated the No. 1 best overall diet for health by U.S. News and World Report. The idea is to follow the lifestyle and eating habits of people who live in the Mediterranean region of the world. The overall diet is to eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and seafood. Red meat, food with saturated fats and simple sugars are eaten less often. Much research has been done on this way of life. People who eat like this tend to have lower instances of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. There’s also links to decreased chances of depression and dementia.

Your guide to healthy seafood and why you should eat more

Best-selling cooking appliances in 2020

Most Americans spent more time than ever cooking at home in 2020. According to Amazon, the best-selling kitchen appliance was a waffle maker. Shocking, but true. The next top kitchen appliances were Instant Pots and air fryers. Both appliances are terrific and can make quick and easy meals that are low in fat. The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that can cook dried legumes in a matter of minutes, or whole grain brown rice in half the time it would take on the stove top. This appliance can help people easily follow the Mediterranean Diet. Air fryers cook up crispy foods without needing to deep fry them, therefore saving a ton of calories.

Up-and-comer diet trends for 2021

Eating for your gut microbiome is gaining more attention as research continues in this area. Your gut microbiome refers to the bacteria that lives in your intestines. Scientists are discovering just how important it is to nourish those little critters. There’s a lot of validity in eating to help the good bacteria thrive. This has been shown to help with weight loss, prevention or stabilization of diabetes, and even brain health. The most important part of eating for your gut is to increase fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. The main takeaway is to eat a variety of foods to help diversify your gut population. It’s also important to eat less red meats, simple sugars and alcohol.

Tips for finding your perfect eating plan

When searching the internet, there can be a lot of information to weed through, which makes it hard to discover what might be best for you. If you have questions or want advice, UC Davis Health has many registered dietitians available to help guide you. Ask your health care provider for a referral.

UC Davis Health also offers many free health education classes on a variety of topics, including weight management, diabetes, heart health and more. These classes are available virtually for you to take in the comfort of your home. Some small in-person group classes are available as well.


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