Looking for the hot new diet trends to follow in 2012? Who better to ask for help than the nation’s top nutrition experts? In a survey by Pollock Communications, a full-service public relations agency with long-standing relationships in the food and wellness industry, responses from more than 200 registered dieticians (RDs) in its network were tallied to identify the top 2012 nutrition trends for consumers and food companies. The survey revealed five nutrition trends to anticipate in the New Year.
1. Go green and add some spice
Unprocessed, natural foods will be the biggest consumer nutrition trend in 2012. Most RDs (72 percent) predict that consumers will continue to demand more local, organic, sustainable, fresh and minimally processed foods. With consumers returning to the table and cooking at home, they will become more aware of where their food is coming from and what it contains. RDs also agree (46 percent) that simplifying the ingredient list, (39 percent) sodium reduction and (37 percent) eliminating high fructose corn syrup, will play key roles in dietary modifications in the coming year. In addition, consumers will look to spice things up with exotic and ethnically diverse flavors and cuisines.
2. Diet trifecta: vitamins, minerals and fiber
Eat more antioxidants and phytonutrients…and get more fiber. Of the 204 responses, nearly all RDs (96 percent) emphasize more antioxidants and phytonutrients in the diet, and many (59 percent) say consumers need more vitamins and minerals. While most agree that consumers are already consuming enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, RDs say Americans are lacking sufficient amounts of fiber from whole grains and fruits and vegetables.
3. ‘Tis the season
Seasonal and local fruits and vegetables rise to the top. Nearly all RDs (94 percent) agree that in the coming year there will be a bigger push for Americans to consume more fruits and vegetables. Eating seasonal and local plant-based foods that are organically grown will be a big trend in the coming year as well.
4. How low can you go?
Go low with trans and saturated fat, sugar and sodium. The majority of RDs (78 percent) name trans fats as the most harmful nutrient in the diet, followed by added sugars (68 percent), saturated fat (58 percent) and sodium (52 percent). In 2012, expect consumers to put a greater emphasis on reducing these harmful dietary hazards.
5. Make your plate look like MyPlate
Use USDA’s MyPlate as your guide. Many (69 percent) RDs are using MyPlate to counsel patients and it will continue to play a role in diet recommendations through 2012. MyPlate recommends half the plate consist of vegetables and fruit, with the other half made up mostly of whole grains and a small portion of lean protein.
“As RDs, we are at the forefront of nutrition issues, consumers’ perceptions and diet and lifestyle behaviors,” says Dr. Julie Upton. “It’s our goal to help provide our expertise to debunk the common myths and misperceptions and provide our insights with consumers and food and beverage manufacturers.”