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    Nutrition and Health Trends for 2014

    Surveys are conducted annually by nutrition experts to predict popular diet, nutrition and health trends for the new year. Over 500 Registered Dietitians partook in this survey to determine which foods are on the top of the list. 14 topics have been suggested to headline 2014, as reported by the nutrition magazine Today’s Dietitian, and here they are:

    1. Anti-wheat / Gluten-free.  Google’s most searched for weight-less regime in 2013 was certainly the Caveman diet, also known as Paleo diet. Gluten-free and ‘wheat-belly” also falls into this category. The lack of evidence to support this type of diet with successful weight-loss will not stop individuals from continuing this trend, and will continue to be a very popular diet belief for 2014.

    2. Ancient grains are very “in” again. A little contradictory to the low grain diets, ancient grains are popular once more. These grains include quinoa, millet and wheat berries, and are nutritionally superior than refined grains. These grains are unfortunately more expensive; and mostly only available in health stores.

    3. Kale, coconut oil and chia seeds. Another trend from 2013 that will continue in 2014. Kale has been served up franticly in 2013, from being used as a staple ingredient in green juices or smoothies, baked into crispy chips, to adding it in salads. Kale is not as popular in South Africa. I cannot say that I have ever seen it on our supermarket shelves. These superfoods, including coconut-oil, with its high concentration of plant based saturated fat, will be popular again in 2014.

    4. “Low-fat” is so last year. The low-fat trend is finally over. Fats are being added back to diets as low-fat diet regimes did not prove to lower body fat. Consumers should however include good fats back into their diets instead of saturated animal fats.

    5. MyPlate. The new American “food pyramid”. This is just the new suggestion for Americans to help fill their plate correctly, with better guidelines and suggestions than the old food pyramid. Please see bottom of entry for South Africa’s food guide*.

    6. “Health” in the grocery store. The supermarket dietitian is apparently the fastest growing job these days, as “health” is becoming increasingly important to consumers.

    7. Comparison to others. Consumers compare their diet and exercise habits to those of TV personalities and health TV-shows. The comparison also extends to family members and friends.

    8. Celebrity/TV doctors. Health information is becoming more popular on television. Whether you are a celebrity doctor, trainer or chef, consumers will be obsessed with you.

    9. Health bloggers will be turned to even more this year compared to previous years. Healthy lifestyle blogs usually offer a fun daily or weekly dose of inspiration. This includes workout ideas, nutritional facts and opinion, and healthy recipes.

    10. Opinion trumps research. Unfortunately most of the nutritional knowledge of consumers is based on opinions rather than research. And this could lead to increasing misinformation this year. Individuals should make sure that, for example, the information that they open themselves up to are based on sound scientific proof.

    11. Sustainable & local food are favoured in 2014. This means that consumers will most likely be looking for more sustainable and locally produced foods.

    12. Comfortable. It is said that Americans are too comfortable and okay with their weight and being overweight. South Africans may very well follow the same trend. 

    13. More fruits and vegetables. This may be the only positive nutrition trend to see in 2014. Dietitians recommend adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet to improve overall health. 

    14. Interest in nutrition and weight-loss will increase even more in 2014. Consumers become more hungry for healthy information.

    Compared to the general trends for 2013 which included improving balancing macro-nutrient intake, supplements, plant-based diets, going digital, no-GMO, organic, “super”everything, fermented foods, alkaline, addition of more spices, whole foods, feed kids like adults etc., 2014′s predictions seem right on the money as the transition started towards the end of last year already. You might have noticed this when you read this article, like some of the points seem to be “so obvious”. My personal favourite trends are adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, and supporting locally produced goods.

    *South African Food Guide:
    South Africa also launched a new Food Guide during the National Nutrition Week of 2012.

    Next week: South Africa’s new Food Guide explained.

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