Health trends are unavoidable. Youâre going to hear about the benefits of this, that, and the other thing every few years. What was trendy a few years ago, might not be today; likewise, the trends of today could be gone tomorrow.
In my opinion, health trends are little more than thatâtrends. Right now, for example, weâre in the gluten-free era. But the reality is that the only people who should be avoiding gluten are those with celiac disease. In fact, the same doctor who came up with the term âgluten sensitivityâ has corrected himself, saying gluten is not the compound that creates problems for people. But the marketers cashing in on the âgluten-freeâ wave donât want you to hear that. Some companies are even advertising foods that never contained gluten, like fruit, as âgluten-free.â
âOrganicâ is also a hot word these days, too. Yes, it does offer some peace of mind knowing food hasnât been subjected to pesticides, but the reality is that there is no additional nutritional value to eating organic. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for labeling something âorganicâ might be deceiving. A product labeled âmade with organic ingredientsâ only needs to feature 70% certified organic ingredientsâthat means nearly a third of the product may contain those pesticides youâre trying to avoid. There are also three different designations for organic-labeled productsâand they donât all mean the same thing in the end.
But whatâs on the horizon? Whatâs next in the food trend world and is there any validity to the claims?
One of the big ones Iâve noticed is ancient grains. These grains have basically stepped in place of your old friend quinoa, which was the star on the scene a couple short years ago. Ancient grains are things like:
As you can likely tell by the name, ancient grains have been around for centuries and have proven health benefits. Most of them are high in fiber and might be able to prevent some forms of cancer, cardiovascular problems, and high blood pressure. In my opinion, ancient grains are a good bet.
A word of caution, though: Try to buy them from your local bulk store, so youâre getting the real thing. If not, please read labels. If they are part of a recipe that contains a bunch of sugar or other unhealthy ingredients, they effectively lose the benefit of a health food!
Weâre also very much in a âless is moreâ trend, which I ultimately agree with. However, itâs up to you to be a smart consumer and be wary of products marketed as âall natural.â For example, a cola using stevia in place of an artificial sweetener isnât exactly a health product even if it does use a natural sweetener.
There also isnât really much clarification on what it means to be âall natural;â at this time, using the phrase is unregulated. Therefore, itâs on you to exercise caution and read labels.
When it comes to nutrition, I like to keep it pretty simple. Eating a healthy diet, in my opinion, means getting a good macronutrient split of lean protein, healthy carbohydrates, and good-for-you fats. You want to make sure your diet is low in sugar, high in fiber, and includes lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and lean sources of protein. This stuff never goes out of style and is the cornerstone of a healthy diet and a healthy life.
Sources for Todayâs Article:
Biesiekierski, J.R., et al., âNo Effects of Gluten in Patients With Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity After Dietary Reduction of Fermentable, Poorly Absorbed, Short-Chain Carbohydrates,â Gastroenterology August 2013; 145(2): 320â328.e3.
Brandt, M., âLittle evidence of health benefits from organic foods, study finds,â Stanford Medicine News Center web site, September 3, 2012; http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2012/09/little-evidence-of-health-benefits-from-organic-foods-study-finds.html, last accessed October 29, 2014.
Consumers Union of United States Inc., âAncient grains can help prevent cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure,â The Washington Post, August 13, 2012; http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/ancient-grains-can-help-prevent-cancer-heart-disease-and-high-blood-pressure/2012/08/10/5a1d9438-b631-11e1-9e4c-5a6a137d65e1_story.html, last accessed October 29, 2014.
âLabeling Organic Products,â United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Services web site; http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004446, last accessed October 29, 2014.
Gans, K., â3 Hot Nutrition Trends: Healthy or Gimmicky?â U.S. News web site, October 23, 2014; http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/10/23/3-hot-nutrition-trends-healthy-or-gimmicky.