Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are vague goals, such as losing weight or eating healthier food.

It takes a lot more than good intentions to maintain these resolutions, though, and most people don’t follow through in part because the goals are non-specific. Some statistics say as many as 80 per cent of people fail to stick to their resolution for more than six weeks.

For those interested in trying a new diet this year, recent research suggests that you’re better off cutting back on sugar instead of fat. According to a major analysis published in August 2017, sugar consumption is more strongly linked to heart disease and death than fat consumption.

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Many experts also say eating “real food”, or nothing too processed, is a simple but effective approach.

We recently surveyed more than 1,000 people about their New Year’s resolutions. Of the survey sample’s wealthy respondents – defined in this case as people who make at least US$100,000 per year – 87 people said their 2019 resolution was related to dieting or eating healthier.

Take a look at the most popular diets among wealthy people making resolutions for 2019.

About 26.4 per cent of wealthy survey respondents are interested in trying calorie restriction this year

Studies are increasingly suggesting that people can have more energy and experience less illness if they reduce the amount of food they eat by as much as one-half.

In a small study, 34 Americans ate 15 per cent less food than usual for a period of two years. Researchers found that the participants’ bodies aged more slowly compared with those of people who were not on a diet.

The science surrounding calorie restriction is still evolving, but scientists are studying whether reducing calorie intake even a few days a month could help people age more slowly.

About 23.5 per cent of wealthy people are choosing the low-carb diet

Low-carb diets are a popular way to lose weight, and they do help reduce sugar intake. However, researchers are increasingly suggesting that this method could lead to premature death if followed for a long period of time.

A 2018 study, which examined more than 24,800 American adults, found that people who limited their carb intake had a 32 per cent higher risk of dying than those who ate more carbs.

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A low-carb diet can be followed in a variety of ways. The ketogenic diet, for example, encourages people to severely cut carbs and increase their fat intake. Another variation, the Atkins diet, consists of initially limiting one’s total carb intake – while eating a mix of healthy fats, protein and high-fibre carbs – before slowly adding more net carbs to one’s diet.

About 14.9 per cent of wealthy respondents are interested in the WW programme

WW, the health and wellness company formerly known as Weight Watchers, came in third place in the survey. As part of the WW programme, participants translate calories, sugar, proteins and saturated fat into a points system that encourages them to eat more nutritious foods.

WW emphasises flexibility more than restriction. Participants meet regularly with their coaches, who are not medical professionals.

About 13.8 per cent of wealthy respondents want to eat less meat this year

While meat is a good source of protein, consuming a lot of it can be harmful. Numerous studies have linked processed meat to heart disease and cancer, including bowel cancer. The World Health Organisation also says that any kind of red meat could be connected to an elevated risk of cancer.

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The fifth-most popular option in the survey, just behind eating less meat, was “other” diets. About 12.6 per cent of wealthy respondents chose this without specifying a particular one.

Roughly 11.5 per cent of wealthy people want to try low-fat diets in 2019

Consuming low-fat foods is not always healthier. While studies have shown that trans fats can elevate cardiovascular disease risk, low-fat foods generally include higher amounts of calories and sugar.

The low-fat diet has been popular for decades, but scientists have recently become more sceptical about it.

In October 2015, a study of more than 68,000 people found that low-fat dieters did not lose more weight than people on other diets.

Another 11.5 per cent of wealthy respondents want to go on the ketogenic diet. This low-carb, high-fat diet can be a great option for losing weight

Some benefits of the keto diet are clear. The method can help people lose weight and control their blood-sugar and it can benefit children who have epileptic seizures. However, people on the keto diet tend to reduce the healthier carbs they consume. Recent studies have cast doubts on the benefits of long-term keto diets.

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In August 2018, a study of more than 447,000 people found that eliminating entire food groups could lead to premature death. The keto diet essentially requires participants to eliminate lots of fruits and vegetables. There is also some evidence that a low-carb diet like keto could lead people to become less tolerant of glucose and develop diabetes, though there is still little research on this link.

The gluten-free diet was also chosen by about 11.5 per cent of wealthy respondents

There is little evidence that going on a gluten-free diet is beneficial to those who do not have coeliac disease – a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Eliminating gluten is crucial for those who have disease. But in most cases, doctors say going gluten-free is not healthy.

Peter Green, the director of the US Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, said that people on a gluten-free diet have higher levels of heavy metals such as arsenic and lead. This could be caused by the large amounts of rice that gluten-free people eat, since rice can absorb these metals at higher rates than other grains.

Gluten-free dieters should consult a dietitian, Green said.

Only about 8 per cent of wealthy respondents are interested in a vegetarian diet

According to The Washington Post, the percentage of vegetarians within the US population has not changed significantly in the last several years.

Vegetarians tend to weigh less than people who eat meat, according to some observational studies.

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Going vegetarian could have significant health benefits. Studies have linked vegetarianism with lower chances of heart disease and cancer.

Recent studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet may be the best option for maintaining a healthy body and brain. This diet was tied for seventh place with about 8 per cent of wealthy respondents choosing it.

The Mediterranean diet emphasises healthy fats, proteins and vegetables

A study published in May 2018 suggested this diet could also help reduce the symptoms of depression. The study participants also saved about US$26 per week by not following a traditional diet.

Other diets – including veganism, the South Beach diet, Whole30, the 5:2, and the Paleo diet – were not as popular among the INSIDER survey’s wealthy respondents.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivised to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. A total of 1,037 respondents were polled on November 23-24, 2018, margin of error plus or minus 3.15 percentage points with 95 per cent confidence level.

This article originally appeared on  Business Insider .

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