Walk into a coffee shop with your friends, and undoubtedly at some point in your conversation about family, kids, work, and your favorite TV shows, you’ll end up talking about dieting. The South Beach Diet, Paleo Diet, Mediterranean Diet, and a handful of cleanse diets will likely generate some lively conversation. Fad diets and trends and attitudes about nutrition are always evolving, and 2014 is no different.
In a recent survey of 500 registered dieticians, the trade magazine Today’s Dietician, published the results of the survey that provide a snapshot of the most popular diet trends in 2014. And the results suggest that consumer-demand and food companies that market nutritional products, diets, and supplements have a lot to do with it. Here’s what to watch for:
- Where’s the Wheat?: Popular diets based on available food during the Paleolithic Period have spawned a host of diets like the Paleo Diet and the Caveman Diet. These diets are based on eating only foods that were available at the time early humans roamed the earth. If you can’t shoot it, or eat it right from the plant or bush, it’s off limits. Expect to see more diets and food products that emphasize a gluten-free lifestyle.
- Kale for All: It looks a lot like dark green spinach leaves, but kale has more of a bitter taste. This leafy green has a similar nutrient profile as spinach loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C. And while it’s been a lesser known plant, kale will get its big break in 2014 and be added to salads and sandwiches, and even turned into baked kale chips. An estimated 27 percent of dieticians in the survey said kale would dominate the leafy green vegetable category.
- Forget About Low-Fat: Low-fat diets have been promoted for weight loss* and heart health for decades. But with so many other options to help reduce* weight and treat* chronic conditions, low-fat diets may have finally run their course. Dieticians said low-fat diets will be a distant memory in 2014 as more people consider low-carb diets and other eating plans.
- Follow the MyPlate Model: For 19 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture promoted healthy eating based on the Food Pyramid. But in 2011, the Food Pyramid was replaced by ChooseMyPlate. It’s a more visually appealing model for how to eat healthy. Take a closer look, and you’ll see that half your plate should be stacked with fruits and vegetables at every meal. An estimated 75 percent of dieticians surveyed said they plan to use ChooseMyPlate to help people make better food choices and build their own healthy eating plans.
- Healthy Shopping: Walk through any grocery store and pass through the book and magazine section, and you’ll see a splash of headlines for diets, exercises, healthy recipes, and lifestyle habits to prevent disease. This year expect to see more health-oriented messages coming at you when you go shopping. Stores know consumers are reading food labels and more hungry for health information than ever before. Supermarkets nationwide are even hiring dieticians to make the shopping experience even healthier for consumers.
- Health News on TV: The average adult watches an estimated 34 hours of TV a week. And even if you fast forward through the commercials during your favorite shows, you’re bound to catch a few of the ads. Take a closer look, and you’ll see more white-coat doctors on TV this year promoting healthy living, medications, and products. Expect to see more celebrity trainers and chefs on TV offering healthy eating tips and advice.
- Dare to Compare: Dieticians in the survey said people will spend a lot of time comparing their health and weight to TV personalities and health-related shows in 2014. Think The Biggest Loser, I Used to Be Fat, and Extreme Weight Loss. People often do this to try and convince themselves, “Hey I’m not as bad as that guy.” It’s an exercise in gauging your own health and wellness, and consumers are expected to do a lot of that in 2014.
- Digital Digestion: Go ahead and Google “weight loss*” and the popular search engine coughs up a staggering 438 million hits. “Diet” gets 141 million hits. Unfortunately not all of those sites are going to lead you to smart, healthy, sustainable plans for following a healthy diet. It’s one reason an estimated 67 percent of people rely on personal beliefs and half truths to make nutritional decisions. And that’s a trend that will continue in 2014.
- Down on Dieting: Fewer people will be dieting in 2014, according to recent survey by the consumer market research firm the NDP Group. Researchers found a slight drop in dieting from previous years. And that’s an alarm for healthcare professionals. It means more people are becoming complacent about their health and weight. Most people need to go on a diet and lose* weight. After all, an estimated 70 percent of all adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. But don’t expect to see a surge in dieting this year, more people seem to show little concern or willingness to change their eating and exercise habits.
- Feast on Fruits and Vegetables: While the average American is overweight or obese, one dietary trend shows promise in 2014. More people are increasing* the number of fruits and vegetables they eat each day. And that’s great news. Remember, half your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables at every meal.
Dieticians can probably predict the trends in diet and consumer food choices better than most people. This recent survey highlights the collective knowledge of dieticians to give us a snapshot of what diet trends will be most popular in 2014.