A vegan YouTuber known as Rawvana was criticised by internet users recently after she was caught on video eating fish. The online influencer preaches about her vegan lifestyle and weight loss programmes on the internet, and has more than two million subscribers to her YouTube channel and 1.3 million followers on Instagram. In response to her critics, the 28-year-old uploaded a 33-minute video on Friday to apologise for breaching the diet she has been promoting. In the video, Rawvana explained that she had turned vegan six years ago but started incorporating eggs and fish into her diet two months ago because of health problems. In 2016, her menstrual cycle stopped after she fasted for 25 days, drinking only water. In 2018, she was diagnosed with candida and Sibo (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), an intestinal infection, she says. “I was starting to feel desperate for my health and looked for a solution last summer. And that’s when I started to open up to the possibility of adding some animal products into my diet,” she says. Angry viewers were not assuaged by her video. “The more I listen the more I think about all the people following her diet and buying her products for health reasons when she was very sick herself,” one comment on YouTube read. “It's not that hard to eat a balanced vegan diet. People like @Rawvana exploiting veganism for self-promotion and then abandoning it are damaging to the vegan movement,” a comment posted on Twitter read. Where to go for Peking duck and cocktails in Hong Kong – fashion CEO Anson Shum’s picks Veganism has been growing in popularity in recent years, with the number of US consumers identifying as vegan growing from 1 per cent to 6 per cent between 2014 and 2017, according to GlobalData. While plant-based diets have gained attention, not everyone can resist the temptation to eat meat – and some diets positively embrace it. Here are five others that have gained popularity online in recent years. Flexitarian diet Flexitarian, a blend of “flexible” and “vegetarian”, is the perfect diet for people who wish to take a break from vegetarianism. Followers will enjoy the health benefits of eating vegetables most of the time but still be able to eat a burger, or any other meat- or fish-based dish, once in a while. Flexitarians are recommended to base their meals on five food groups: non-meat proteins, fruit and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and sugar and spice. Calorie consumption should be distributed in a three-four-five ratio; at its simplest, this means breakfast has roughly 300 calories, lunch around 400 and dinner around 500, but the actual amounts consumed depend on one’s activity level, gender and physique. Mediterranean diet The Mediterranean diet was ranked the best diet overall by US News and World Report in 2019 and was one of the 10 most searched diets on Google in 2018. While there is no one standard diet around the Mediterranean Sea, the idea is to eat less red meat, sugar and saturated fat, and exercise frequently. People interested in following the diet can start from the Mediterranean diet pyramid that emphasises fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and and spices. Eating fish and seafood is recommended at least twice a week, as is the consumption of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderate portions. The diet was believed to be helpful in weight loss, heart and brain health, and prevention of cancer, diabetes and chronic diseases, according to a study published in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine in 2013. Research published by Deakin University in Australia in 2018 showed the diet’s potential in treating depression. Dash diet Dash, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, is an easy diet to follow, although it may be hard for those who love salt. The diet favours foods that are high in blood pressure lowering nutrients, such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. It recommends switching from baked goods made with white flour to those made with whole wheat flour and adding one fruit serving to every meal. The hardest part of this diet is to limit sodium intake at 2,300 milligrams a day, which followers will eventually lower to about 1,500 milligrams a day. The US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests replacing canned, smoked or processed food with fresh meat and fish, and using spices and herbs instead of salt. Keto diet The keto, or ketogenic diet was the trendiest meal plan on Google last year, supported by celebrities such as actress Halle Berry, reality TV stars the Kardashians and basketball champion LeBron James. The diet avoids carbs and sugar but promotes the consumption of butter, double cream, full-fat yogurt, leafy greens, meat and seafood. Low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body enters ketosis, a process that burns fat for energy. The diet was introduced in the 1920s to treat patients with neurological disorders, and later people with type 2 diabetes. Some nutritionists argue that such a diet may be harmful for people with underlying kidney or liver problems, and contend that it will not keep weight off in the long term. WW (Weight Watchers) diet Weight Watchers is a US-based company that offers a WW Freestyle programme online to help its users lose weight. The company has developed a SmartPoints system under which every food and drink is assigned a number based on its calories, sugar, saturated fat and protein. Users get a daily SmartPoints budget and pick foods within the budget using the app. The programme is flexible, too. Users going over budget for one day can make it up within the week, while points unused can be rolled over to the weekly quota. The programme does come with a price – US$3.30 a week and users are invited to pay extra to receive group or one-on-one coaching.