We’ve heard about man magnets, woman magnets, but try googling food magnets and you’ll come across loads of marketers trying to sell you their take on food-shaped magnets that you can put on your refrigerator, or wherever. Little does it occur to us that food itself is a creature magnet, which attracts virtually all species of humans. People are naturally drawn to food, as water is to parched soil. The reason why food talk is so popular, so are the food blogs, food shows, food fads, or any topic with food as a suffix or prefix in it.
To whet our appetites for what’s tops the nutrition charts this year, we’ve rounded up some pertinent takes on the topic.
- Looking up to souping: According to Rachel Beller, MS, RDN, CEO of Beller Nutritional Institute “Souping is the new juicing.” Reason being, soups keep the fibre, seeds, rind and pulp, that juicing often discards. Therein lies the most nutritive parts of foods that can now be palatable.
- Sprouted grain: While these were hot a few years ago, they seem to have made a comeback, for some great reasons. Sprouting creates enzymes that make plant proteins, essential fatty acids, starches, and vitamins more available for absorption. So get out the sprout farms you may have stashed away in the attic, for a new run this season.
- Oh sugar: Considering the anti-sugar tirades coming at us from the experts, manufacturers are under increasing pressure to reduce the added sugar content of their products. They could well be turning to more natural sweeteners, like stevia, maple syrup, agave syrup, monk fruit, date sugar, and coconut palm sugar. The fact that many of these are metabolised by the body no differently than normal sucrose, seems to have escaped popular attention.
- Probiotics, creating brain waves: Beyond improving intestinal health, there’s an important gut-brain connection that’s becoming very popular. Emerging research suggests that probiotics may be helpful in treating symptoms of depression.
- Full-fat Dairy: Considering that people are beginning to include more fat in their diets, there seems to be a trend towards using more full-fat and reduced-fat, versus fat-free dairy products. According to a survey conducted by the Virginia-based IRI, US whole milk sales increased from 27.9% of the retail market in 2010 to 32.1% in 2015.
- The Pulse of the issue: So confident is The United Nations that pulses will peak in popularity, that the organisation has dubbed 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP). IYP 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production; which in turn aimed at greater food security and nutrition, globally.
- You just can’t beet ‘em: Beet juice, as a standalone or combined with passion fruit juice, beet hummus and beet-infused sports drinks, made waves at The Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo last year at Nashville, Tenn., USA. It’s believed that consuming more beets is a good thing, as they are rich in betalains, antioxidant compounds, folate, fibre and minerals like manganese, potassium, copper and magnesium. Whoa! looks like you just can have too much of this good thing.
- Cholesterol Restrictions (now what?): The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which reviews the latest research and makes recommendations for the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, has stepped back from the 300 mg/day rule. It’s still uncertain whether or not dietary cholesterol in excess of 330mg/day affects the risk of coronary artery disease or risk of diabetes. While studies are inconclusive, we’ve got our scopes on the horizon, looking out for something more concrete.
- Sustainable Diets and the ecosystem: The sustainable diet is all about eating sustainably and responsibly, viz. without adversely affecting the ecosystem from which our food sources have been derived. Tune into this space, as we look at exploring this vast topic in a little more detail.
- Food Waste concerns: Food waste is already an issue of global concern, especially in many European and Asian countries. While in France laws have been enacted to curtail this, the coming years are expected to see a lot more concern being raised. A great way to begin is cutting food waste in our own homes.
- Pushing for Protein: Protein intake seems to have made a comeback, as more research emerges on the benefits of increased high-quality protein intake, especially amongst middle-aged men and women.