Another year, another slew of dieting crazes. With 2019 here, you can bet that everyone and their cousin will be out and trying to next big health and wellness fad. But are any of them worth our time? Should you consider any of the next big things in the health community?
First things first, let's clear something up: diets are not worth your time. So, I'm not talking about diet crazes and fads. Dieting is often about deprivation and bad nutrition science. What we're talking about are nutrition trends. Whether we're seeing an increased consumer interest or new, innovative products on the shelves, we're looking at health trends, not the latest crash diet.
These six up-and-coming nutrition trends are ones to watch in 2019.
6 Health and Nutrition Fads Worth Watching in 2019
1) Getting on board with probiotics.
This year is going to be all about getting your digestive health into balance. So much goes into your gut health, and one thing that dieticians expect to gain traction are not pricey probiotics pills at local drugstores, but fresh and fermented foods that can help bring balance to your GI tract.
Foods like Greek yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and probiotics drinks such as kombucha will continue to grow in popularity alongside other fermentations and high-fiber fresh foods. Part of this popularity is due to the average person's increasing interest not only in weight loss but in overall health and consumption of foods that will improve the function of their bodies.
We're seeing a greater interest in how foods impact mental alertness, sleep quality, and a whole range of wellness qualifications far beyond how much one weighs.
2) Plant-based proteins.
As an accidental vegetarian, I can get fully on board with the increasing popularity of plant-based proteins. 2019 is the year we will likely see more vegetarians and vegans and, even if we don't, more people incorporating plant-based diets. That means with it will come diets that feature a reduction in meat consumption, and alternatives will take center stage.
That doesn't mean we're looking at tofu all the time, either: quinoa, beans, lentils, and other alternatives will pack a high-protein punch in 2019.
3) A bigger range of whole grain snack foods.
You'll likely begin to see more and more whole grain options beyond pasta, bread, and tortilla chips. Because whole grains include the whole grain kernel—bran and germ—you get a far greater nutritional benefit. This year, expect to see a larger variety of whole grain foods on the grocery store shelves, like pretzels and canned soups featuring whole grain pasta.
4) More food brands catering to a range of eating styles.
If you are trying a specialized diet, like keto, paleo, or gluten-free (for whatever reason), you will be glad to know that you will likely see a wider range of pre-packaged snacks and foods catering to these various eating styles. What if you don't have a specific eating style? More and more, you will know someone who does and it will become easier to accommodate. If not, you will be able to find, perhaps, healthier alternatives that cut out on certain ingredients that you may want to avoid in your diet this year. Either way, it will prove for some interesting eating in 2019.
5) More plant-based milks.
Lactose intolerance is an extremely common complaint among adults. Even if you have no trouble with drinking old fashioned cow's milk, the advent of more creative nut and plant-based milks have plenty to offer in terms of nutrition. Banana milk, for example, offers a potassium boost. With walnuts, flaxseeds, oats, almonds, coconuts, rice, and all varieties of cow's milk alternatives hitting the market, it's all a little overwhelming. Each have different protein counts, nutritional benefits, and even the chance to reduce bad cholesterol.
Recognize what you yourself need and want in your diet from milk. What do you want to add to your cereals and smoothies? What allergies and sensitivities am I concerned about? This will help you hone in on your milk of choice.
6) Intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting isn't, in itself, a nutritional trend. It is, however, worth mentioning as it is growing in popularity. It is, in essence, the idea that you only eat your meals in a reduced window of time (usually in an 8-hour window) while fasting the rest of the time.
Other methods involve eating normally most of the weak, but doing full fasts one or two days per week, or reducing your calorie count to 500-600 for two days a week. You can typically work this in a way that fits with your schedule, but the idea is that you will significantly reduce your caloric intake and rebalance the hormones that control weight gain.
However, it's important to note that Intermittent fasting may only work in the short term. It can have consequences on your hormone levels and while there have been clear and proven results in weight maintenance, it is not likely a long-term solution. That said, it's not an approach that is restrictive or self-sabotaging in the way that dieting is.
Regardless of the health trends for the year, what is more valuable than jumping on trends is recognizing what you yourself need. Tailor your eating habits to match your health goals—whether its weight loss, reducing your cholesterol, or improving heart health.
Ultimately, what you eat impacts your whole body and making smart choices makes all the difference in the world in how you think, feel, and function.
Here's to a new you in the new the new year.
What foods are you looking forward to trying in 2019? Share what you're excited about in the comments.