Food Trend

Projected Nutrition Trends for 2015: Part 2

Nutrition Trends: My Projections for 2015 

  1. Inflammation - Consumers will become more interested with the role that inflammation plays in chronic disease development and learn about the big picture of inflammation.  This will hopefully lead to promoting fruits/vegetables, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, omega-3s, legumes and ancient grains and discouraging sugar, trans fats, processed foods, excessive grain/starch products, fatty and cured meat products.  There is potential for the message to get confusing when discussing things such as types of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA vs EPA vs DHA), proper supplementation, analyzing omega-6:omega-3 ratio, and dairy intake.
  2. More ingredient-specific food marketing - With words such as "Natural" and "Superfoods" being recognized as simply media hype, consumers are starting to get more savvy with reading the ingredient list - which means food companies are going to get more savvy with pushing the "good" and denouncing the "bad".
  3. Consumer push for GMO information - The debate on GMOs and their impact is only just starting.  With the call for more transparency in the food supply, labeling GMO presence is starting to become the standard.  Many still aren't sure what to do with this information, but getting it on the label will help further the discussion.
  4. Let's get cooking and gardening - This has been on the up and up for years, in large part due to the social media boost of instagram, pinterest boards, and rise of the DIY and food blogging realm.  The cacophony begins to organize itself into more concrete messaging and useful layman resources.

Projected Nutrition Trends for 2015: Part 1

Year in Review: Trends in 2014

  1. Everything paleo - This diet became immensely popular for its "what we're genetically meant to be doing" messaging.  Most feel it is very doable and satisfying thanks to the high protein intake. As an RDN, I was happy that it encouraged vegetables, fish, eggs, and healthful oils/nuts/seeds, but disappointed that it cut out healthy legumes and took such a strong stance on dairy products.  
  2. Gluten free - Gluten continued to get criticized thanks to books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain.  I am glad that consumers are tuning into the importance of minimizing refined grains as a whole (gluten containing or not) but also try to use this campaign to educate on Celiac disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, food hypersensitivities, general health and everything in between.
  3. Juicing/smoothies - Somehow instead of eating fruits and vegetables it became much more popular (read: healthier) to drink them instead.  While those smoothies are definitely packed with nutrients, many are lacking when it comes to fiber.  Thankfully the juicing trend is starting to head back in the direction of smoothies with the option of adding ingredients like flaxseed oil, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, oats, etc.
  4. Butter is back - From the New York Times articles to the publication of The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz, last year saw the tides turn back toward encouraging fats in the diet.  It is a worthy message after hearing 30+ years of low-fat as the major factor in heart health, but beware of trying to over-apply this to all of the fats that we know contribute to heart disease.  Embrace nuts, seeds, nut butters, various cooking oils, and avocado as one's primary fat sources and add in some cheeses, dairy and butter in moderation.

 

Food Trend: Chia Seeds

I've been getting questions recently on chia seeds and thought I'd brush everyone up on this new food trend.  Chia seeds are the new flaxseed.  They can be picked up at your local grocery store (or Trader Joe's/Whole Foods!) and are in fact the seed of those Chia Pets that became popular about 15-20 years ago.  

Chia seeds nutrient profile: 1 tablespoon contains 70 calories and the following...

  • 4.5 grams of unsaturated fats - the healthy ones that push cholesterol in the right directions, most of which are the omega-3s that help to fight inflammation in the body
  • 5.5 grams of soluble fiber - an excellent source of this fiber that helps slow carbohydrate absorption for longer, more even energy, helps fight cardiovascular disease, and aids in healthy digestion
  • 2 grams protein - although not packed with protein it is a high quality complete protein, making chia seeds a good additive to the diet for vegetarians and vegans
  • Enumerable antioxidants, and some vitamins and minerals (Calcium, Iron, Thiamine, Phosphorus, etc.)

I also found it fascinating that they are capable of forming a gel-like consistency as they are very hydrophilic.  At some point I'll have to experiment with using it in recipes as a fat-replacer and emulsifier.

Happy Chia-seeding!