According to the study, 36% of Americans are now following a specific diet. In 2017, only 14% of respondents alleged to be following a particular diet. Interment fasting, Whole 30, paleo, vegan and gluten-free were among the top responses when respondents were asked what diet they were following. While the rise of food tribes is an indicator of a more substantial interest in health and fitness, it must be noted that food tribes are very different from the fad diets of the past.

Fad dieting, popular in the 1990s, seems to be a thing of the past in many circles. Fad diets, including Atkins, The Scarsdale Diet, and the Cabbage Soup Diet are merely short-term eating plans that promise quick weight loss results but are unsustainable in the long run. These diets were adhered to out of frustration, but many people found they created a slingshot effect that made their weight issues worse in the long term. The reasons why these diets didn't work in the long term is simple: they forced people into very narrow food categories and spent less time promoting healthy eating habits.

Today's food tribes are a bit different. For the most part, many diets promote lifestyle changes instead of exclusively food changes. Instead of focusing on a short-term gimmick, the general population is reaching for a more sustainable, long-term solution. Food tribes aren't just a quick plan to drop weight, but rather they are based on a philosophy. Some tribes are focused on ecological factors, while others focus on the way chemicals and additives negatively impact the body.

Sociological reasons may be at play, too. The ability to connect with other individuals who are following similar plans allows for the support that was once unattainable, particularly for those living in more isolated settings. Reddit, for example, has subreddits for every food tribe imaginable. The Ketogenic diet subreddit currently has over 600,000 subscribed users. The vegan community is nearly 200,000 users strong.

It is important to note that celebrity adherence to food tribes might also be a factor in the rising popularity of gastronomic subgroups. Kourtney Kardashian is a vocal adherent of the ketogenic diet, while Tom Brady is known to promote TB12, an eating plan that endorses a high protein, low-sugar diet. Because celebrities are vocal about their food choices on social media, more of their fans are now aware of their eating. Because people idolize celebrities, and the thin-and-trim bodies that they often sport, they are more apt to follow the same diet.

Regardless of the reason for the rise in food tribes, the data shows that more people are interested in health and fitness than ever before. Unfortunately, this does not gel well with the rising rate of obesity in America. It is vital for anyone considering adherence to a diet or food tribe philosophy to explore why they are interested in the philosophy and how it can fit into their day-to-day life. Finding an eating plan that is healthy and convenient is one way to guarantee success.