EVERY year brings with it a new batch of diet trends. The predicted ‘who’s who’ of the diet world, if you will.
Trends may have come from overseas, they have been created by companies and others could have been led by new tech innovations.
What will you fill your plate with in 2023? Insects may be on the menu
Some are worth knowing about; others, not so much.
We’ve collated some of 2023’s big diet trends and asked Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan Elite for his expert opinion on each – which would you try?
1. Green supplements
Packing in antioxidants, fruits and vegetables, green supplements could offer a useful way to boost health, without having to plow through bowls of kale, spinach and other nutrient-packed greens.
Available in powder and tablet form, could 2023 be the year we finally find an easier way to get healthy?
ROB SAYS: “These supplements are designed to contain extracts of high antioxidant fruits, vegetables and other ingredients like algae and seaweed.
“Taking this supplement is more about improving your nutrient intake if you don’t eat a lot of highly nutritious veggies.
“These powders are common with endurance athletes especially cyclists who may suffer digestive issues eating large amounts of veggies to satisfy their nutrient/antioxidant needs so these can come in handy here.”
2. Personalized nutrition
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all model when it comes to our diet and nutrition; different people have different nutritional needs.
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The personalized nutrition market is estimated to boom in size over the next 20 years as more people eat to meet their needs.
In the UK, companies such as Fresh Fitness Food – a personalized meal delivery service – are offering more packages targeted to various health goals.
It’s not cheap, but if you really want to hone in on your nutrition, could this be the way to go?
ROB SAYS: “These have been around for a while now.
“Nothing too much to say really as they offer a selection of healthy meals that usually come fresh.
“I think the whole personalized nutrition part in some cases is not quite as technical and personalized as you may think, but this varies between companies.”
3. Insects as the new norm
Perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, but insects have slowly been increasing in popularity as a sustainable food source.
“Insects are mostly high in proteins. Also, they are more sustainable with less environmental impact, which is a plus to the planet,” says Nataly Komova, RD and fitness expert at JustCBD (justcbdstore.uk).
However, these insects can be disguised within cookies, pasta and protein bars, to name a few, which helps disguise the taste.
ROB SAYS: “These little fellas provide a very sustainable source of protein and if you eat the shell, are high in minerals like calcium.
“If you can’t stomach fried locusts, you could try the protein powders that have made their way to the market.”
4. Seaweed snacking
Although seaweed is already widely found in supermarkets and health stores, its popularity is set to rise, as yet again, it offers a sustainable food source.
“Seaweed contains numerous healthy nutrients, including fibre, magnesium, iodine and calcium – all are significant for maximizing health,” explains Nataly.
ROB SAYS: “Sea vegetables are highly nutritious and a very good addition to your diet.
“They are particularly rich in iodine which is lacking in the diets of many people.
“If you have a thyroid disorder I would advise limiting your intake of seaweed as iodine is a precursor for the production of thyroid hormone.”
5. Avocado oil
Nataly says we’ll be seeing avocado oil in mayonnaise and potato chips “because people are looking for more methods to reduce cholesterol”.
ROB SAYS: “This is a great healthy oil rich in vitamin E and mostly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids which have been shown to be highly beneficial for heart health.
“This oil is actually really versatile as it has a fairly high smoking point meaning you can use it for many things, from dressings to frying.
“However it does come at a cost and is generally more expensive than olive oil. Probably best left for drizzling and dressing.”
6. Precise good health data
Gut health is going nowhere, and for good reason, as the state of our gut has been proven to have an impact on our mental and physical health.
“We’ve known for some time that the activity of our gut bacteria plays an important role in weight management,” says Dr Caitlin Hall, Chief Dietitian and Head of Clinical Research at myota.
However, until very recently, it’s been impossible for consumers to know which types of fiber they should be eating to fuel the activity of their unique collection of gut bacteria (the microbiome).
Now, consumers can use high-tech self-test kits to discover their unique microbiome profile, and use incredibly specific data about the fiber fermentation capabilities of their gut bacteria to optimize their diets and promote weight loss.
ROB SAYS: “There was an interesting article published in the American Society of Nutrition Journal indicating that caution should be given when applying these gut microbiome biomarkers towards precision nutrition.
“There is a high amount of unexplained variability in microbiome compositions and our understanding of what constitutes a healthy microbiome is still quite rudimentary.
“This offering may not quite be there yet unless partnered with other established blood and physiological biomarkers.”
7. Metabolic breath data
Offering a data-backed approach to weight loss are ‘metabolic breath analysers’.
“These are gadgets that gather data from your breath to provide you with an array of useful information about your unique metabolism,” explains Dr Hall.
She adds that before a meal or workout you can quickly use these gadgets to check whether your body is burning carbs or fats for energy, and then adapt your diet and exercise regime accordingly.
ROB SAYS: “These tests show you how efficiently your body is able to convert the food you eat into energy.
“This data can be useful and any gadget in this realm can be a useful way for people to stay motivated as they monitor their health.
“I imagine most people will use these tools for weight loss but you still have to put the work into following the right type of diet, which the apps for these tests help you to do.”
8. Continuous glucose monitors
Although diabetic patients have been using continuous glucose monitors for years to track their blood sugar levels, they are now increasing in popularity for other reasons.
“Monitoring blood glucose levels is something that can be beneficial for people trying to lose weight, not just individuals with diabetes,” says Dr Caitlin.
She adds: “If you tend to eat a lot of sugary foods and refined carbohydrates throughout the day, it’s likely that you experience the extremes of both high and low blood glucose (otherwise known as blood sugar ‘spikes and crashes’).
“The rise and fall in blood sugar is normal, but when they occur too frequently they can impact various aspects of health like energy, sleep, appetite, metabolic health and exercise performance.
“In the long-term, this can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and weight gain.”
ROB SAYS: “Research has begun to show that these monitors may also be useful for behavior change as wearers experience increased motivation feeling they have more control over their diabetes.
“Understanding how your body reacts to the foods you eat and the exercise you do has the potential to make it easier to plan a healthy diet and lifestyle plan specific to the individual.”
9. The MIND diet
The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND), which has already made waves on the diet scene, is set to be even bigger in 2023.
According to Karine Patel, weight loss nutritionist for Dietitian Fit & Co, this is due to the diet’s “remarkable health benefits, which are reducing the risk of developing dementia and the decline in brain health”.
“The diet combines two very popular diets, the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
“Both diets have been shown to promote weight loss, reduce heart disease risks and type 2 diabetes,” says Karine.
The MIND diet encourages eating specific foods such as green, leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, fish, beans, whole grains, and poultry (not fried) while also limiting foods such as red meat, pastries and sweets, butter and margarine , cheese and fried foods.
ROB SAYS: “The research done on the MIND diet seems really promising in slowing down the rate of cognitive decline.
“It works by taking the best from each diet (the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet) that is relevant to brain health.
“For example, fruit is healthy and a component of both these diets but only berries are related to brain health, so they are emphasized over other fruits.
“This diet seems like a good idea for those concerned about their brain health.”
10. Intermittent fasting
The fasting trend continues; whether it be the 5:2 diet, the 16:8 diet (eating within an eight hour window and fasting for 16 hours) or even taking a whole day away from food.
“There is consistent evidence that this diet is effective to lose weight and also reduce the risk of heart disease,” explains Karine.
ROB SAYS: “Fasting does continue to grow in popularity and many people find it to be a useful way to control their weight.
“Despite the many claims made about fasting, the strongest research findings are still mostly limited to the fact that fasting helps with blood sugar control.”