2015 has been shaping up to be a year just like the last; especially with everyone once again resolving to get in shape. Before you click “Send” on that juice cleanse order, take a look at what nutritionists foresee to be the top diet trends for the year, and what I have to say about it.
Pollock Communications, a leading food, health and wellness public relations agency, and Today’s Dietitian, or what I like to consider my nutritional Vogue, teamed up to survey 500 Registered Dietitians, and below is what they found.
Will gluten be out? Will kale stay in? Maybe this will finally be the year for arugula awareness?!
Perhaps the low fat craze is back? I don’t know. I don’t follow Oprah on twitter. Did alcoholic drinks manufactured by Real Housewives finally make the list? Let’s find out.
In no particular order, here are the top 15 diet trends predicted for 2015:
We love our superheroes, why not our superfoods? Nuts and seeds top the list, with kale continuing to reign over the greens. Additional healthful food choices include Greek yogurt, avocado, and coconut products for the protein and gut-healthy probiotics, beneficial unsaturated fat, and immune-boosting qualities they provide, respectively.
I’ve been doing it with my boyfriends for years, but it seems the average consumer is catching on and going green…with tea, that is. Green tea provides a bevy of antioxidants, is naturally low in caffeine, and has zero calories.
Speaking of going green, consumers are projected to be on the lookout for more eco-labels in the coming year. Particularly GMO-free. GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) are organisms in which the DNA has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally.
Along with GMO-free foods comes the onslaught of gluten-free and organic purchases made by consumers. Do they even know what all this means? Another blog for another time.
High quality foods
High quality foods contain a considerable amount of nutrition per serving. Maximize your intake of these nutrient-dense products, such as fruits and vegetables, which are full of vitamins and minerals.
Did somebody say steak?
While animal-based proteins (meat, poultry, fish) are higher quality than plant-based sources such as legumes and nuts, being that they are more readily absorbed in the body, a mixture of both should be incorporated into the diet.
Red meat should be consumed in moderation due to the unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol content, as well as the environmental demands required for production.
Good fats vs. bad fats
As I just mentioned, saturated fats such as beef are less healthy than unsaturated fats like avocado, nuts, and seeds. Consumers have added fat back into their diets because we’ve all fallen off Oprah’s red wagon of lard sometime between 1988 and now. Visit the American Heart Association for more direction on proper fat consumption to maintain heart health.
Low-fat is still out.
Low-carb is still in.
It pains me, however despite my assertion that Gluten-Free is NOT the New Black, it still seems to be. Although the evidence indicates otherwise, consumers continue to believe following a gluten-free diet will lead to weight loss. In reality, gluten-free products are usually higher in calories and carbohydrates and lower in nutrients than gluten-containing alternatives. The high glycemic index and refined nature of gluten grains may even support weight gain.
My other favorite, the paleo diet, is also here to stay.
Back to the future
The banishment of gluten and adoption of the Paleolithic lifestyle has led to the re-emergence of ancient grains, such as amaranth, quinoa, spelt, and freekeh. Amaranth and quinoa are gluten-free, however they provide less nutritional value than the gluten-containing spelt and freekeh – which are higher in fiber and protein.
How are we matching up?
Consumers tend to compare their health status against that of their friends, family, and, naturally, famous people. Keep in mind, the image you see in the mirror is real, and the one you see on Instagram is fake. Life doesn’t come with a Valencia filter, and neither do you.
MyPlate (myplate.gov), the USDA guide for healthy eating, remains an important tool used by dietitians, and available to the individual, to track nutrition and log daily intake. There’s even an app, because we’re all lazy.
Speaking of which….
Couch potato or non-starchy veg?
Good news, it appears fewer consumers will be complacent this year about being overweight. 26% of dietitians vs. 44% last year feel Americans will be okay with their unhealthy weight status. That’s a start.
Having it all
Since we’re all stressed, spoiled, and short on cash, consumers search for foods that meet their three basic needs: convenience, taste, and price.
Sometimes the trendier option has to be forgone for the more practical option. Story of my life. And my wardrobe.
Just like a man, blogs written by non-nutrition professionals cannot be trusted! They’ll say anything to get in your pants. And in the case of nutrition blogs written by non-credible sources, you may not be wearing the same size when you put them back on. Taking the wrong advice can leave you confused and in worse shape than before!
I cannot stress enough, the only people you should be taking dietary advice from are Registered Dietitians. Anyone else without the proper training and credentialing should not be consulted when it comes to your health. Visit www.eatright.org for the most up-to-date, evidence-based nutrition information, and to find a nutrition professional near you.
Let me leave you with this (gluten-free) grain of thought: When you follow different fashion trends your wardrobe changes; when you follow different diet trends your body changes.
Wouldn’t it be better to avoid all that fluctuation and adopt a balanced eating pattern, incorporating foods from all groups, to support long-term health and fitness? Maybe next year.