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5 top diet trends for 2013

Local expert gives you pros, cons of this year’s popular nutrition plans.

As the new year begins, many are trying to make healthy changes to their diet.

A survey of more than 200 of the nation’s registered dietitians, conducted by Pollock Communications, a health and wellness communications firm based in New York City, revealed five top diet and lifestyle trends that will “make news and be on consumers’ minds” in 2013.

We asked Kimberly Oswalt, a registered dietitian who works as a dietary counselor at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, to examine these trends.

Trend 1: Natural and simple meals with few ingredients are in. Low-fat and low-carb are out. 


  • “Fewer ingredients mean fewer preservatives and oftentimes less sodium and sugar. Choosing more wholesome foods, those typically found in the perimeter of the grocery store — fruits, vegetables, meat/fish/poultry, dairy, whole grains — tend to be healthier than the processed counterparts that are tucked within the grocery store’s inner aisles.”  


  • “Consumers should be wary of buying a product just because it has the word ‘natural’ on the front of the package. A ‘natural’ food doesn’t necessarily mean it is a ‘healthy’ food or a low-calorie food.”


Trend 2: To lose weight or adapt a more healthy lifestyle, more consumers will look to the wheat belly/gluten free approach, as well as commercial diet programs.


  • Gluten free diet can really benefit those with specific medical conditions, such as celiac disease. Some choose to adapt the diet without a specific medical condition. “When an individual with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, they will have an immune reaction which can cause damage to their small intestine, which can lead to malabsorption of certain nutrients which can cause vitamin deficiencies. There is currently no cure for celiac disease; however, it can be effectively managed by following a gluten-free diet. … The gluten-free approach doesn’t really benefit the general population. … The gluten free diet is designed for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.”

  • “Sometimes formalized programs contain the social support network in which individuals can motivate one another and hold one another accountable which can help with weight loss.”


  • “Individuals may actually gain weight on the gluten-free diet because gluten-free foods are often higher in fat and calories.”
  • “The Jenny Craig program requires clients to purchase prepackaged foods, which can be costly.”
  • “Weight Watchers is not appropriate for children or pregnant women. It also doesn’t accommodate for someone on a therapeutic diet (gluten-free, low sodium, etc.).”


Trend 3: The top three ways people will seek nutrition advice/diet help will be from dietitians, social media and smart phone apps.


  • “Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts. They can help you meet your nutritional goals while taking into account your past medical history, medications and food preferences.”
  • “Social media and phone apps often contain a social network, where individuals can help one another lose weight.”
  • “Smart phone apps can help individuals with self-monitoring. … Research shows that individuals who log their food intake will lose twice as much as someone who doesn’t record.”



  • “Smart phone apps and social media don’t always follow sound nutritional guidelines. For instance, many apps will establish a calorie goal based on your weight loss goals and biometric data (height, weight, age, etc). Be cautious that your calorie goal isn’t set too low. One should never consume less than 1,200 calories without being under a physician’s supervision.”


Trend 4: People will consume more high quality calories.


  • “When choosing what foods to eat, it is important to not only consider taste and flavor but also nutrient content. … Many people choose foods that taste good but aren’t good for them. For example, one might choose a cookie as a snack. This is considered an empty calorie food, one that provides very little nutritional value. … By choosing a piece of fruit instead, you are saving a lot of calories and fat while reaping the benefits of getting vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.”



  • “There are really no downfalls to eating high quality calories.”


Trend 5: Fruits and veggies will remain top food choices.


  • “A plant-based diet will not only help with weight management but will also help prevent chronic disease.”



  • “There aren’t really any cons to eating more fruits and vegetables. Many people may argue that eating more fruits and vegetables is more expensive. There are many ways to get your fruits and veggies without creating a financial burden; for instance, shop seasonally, and compare store ads, or consider planting your own garden.”

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