As we anticipate what’s to come in the New Year and get a jump on client expectations, it’s a good idea to look back at the best nutrition trends of the past year for insight. Identifying the nutrition trends that have been successful and will continue to translate into popular and effective fitness meal plans in the coming year can enhance your position as the expert for both current and potential clients.
The following trends have helped shape the health and fitness industry and enhanced the way clients lose weight:
Clean eating is arguably the biggest weight-loss and healthy-eating buzz phrase of 2014. Likely tied in popularity with the paleo diet, clean eating offers some serious benefits when it comes to health and weight loss, but without the strict criteria and off-limits food groups that can make a diet so difficult to follow. This type of eating plan isn’t necessarily new, but both nutrition and fitness professionals and consumers embraced the trend of clean eating and simplicity in food in 2014. This eating approach also emphasizes reading nutrition labels, and pared-down ingredient lists typically means eating foods with less added sugar and sodium. Plus, with more meals grounded in nutrient- and fiber-rich whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, the diet has also been shown to be beneficial for weight loss.
Meat-free and plant-based diets (both vegetarian and vegan diets) continued to gain popularity thanks to even more research results highlighting their health benefits. These diets have been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve body mass index and enhance weight loss. While some proponents urged going meatless several days per week or only during daytime meals, others chose to follow a completely plant-based vegetarian or vegan meal plan full-time.
Vegetables became the main focus of many meals during 2014, pushing traditional protein stars like meat and poultry into supporting roles. Enhanced by the expanding local-food movement, consumers discovered new vegetables at neighborhood markets and learned new ways to prepare classics like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. These lower-calorie, higher-nutrient, fiber-rich foods not only enhance weight loss success, but also help consumers feel good about choosing local, eating clean and opting for healthy functional whole foods that improve health and wellbeing.
Both health and fitness professionals and consumers began to embrace a total-diet approach in 2014. A growing body of research suggests that an overall healthy diet (as advocated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) may be more beneficial than eliminating or consuming a single macronutrient (like saturated fats or carbohydrates, for example). Low-fat, low-carb and other restrictive diets that have been popular over the years are being dropped in favor of more moderate eating plans such as the Mediterranean Diet.
Buzzwords, popular eating plans and fads come and go in the fitness industry, but nutrition trends like these that embrace healthy foods and easily sustainable diet strategies can provide a foundation for client health and weight-loss success.
Chowdhury, R. et al. (2014). Association of dietary, circulating and supplement fatty acids with coronary risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 160, 6.
Turner-McGrievy, G.M. et al. (2014). Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: A randomized controlled trial of five different diets. Nutrition.
Tuso, P.J. et al. (2013). Nutritional update for physicians: Plant-based diets. The Permanente Journal, 17, 2, 61–66.
Volk, B.M. et al. (2014). Effects of step-wise increases in dietary carbohydrate on circulating saturated fatty acids and palmitoleic acid in adults with metabolic syndrome. PLoS ONE, 9, 11, e113605.
Welland, D. (2009). Living the clean life. Today’s Dietitian, 11, 11, 42.
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