Find it hard to keep up with constantly changing food fads? Just like fashion, food trends come and go.

In today’s environment, there is a constant nutrition information overload, thanks to the internet and it can be hard to determine the fact from fiction. Last year saw the rise of sugar free everything, sprouted grains, protein powders, raw treats and ‘fitspo’ models. Here’s my top picks for 2017’s food trends and whether or not they are worth the hype.

Functional Foods

We’ve all heard the term ‘superfood’ a million times over the last couple of years. Heck, even body washes are now sporting the slogan. Well, we are no longer interested in superfoods, so get set for the next buzz word; functional foods.

Functional foods are foods that have additional nutritional functions apart from the naturally occurring benefits. They are similar to superfoods although they usually don’t have the superfood price tag attached. Bread, cereal, spreads, dairy and dairy alternatives are just some of the items that get the functional treatment with everything from vitamin D to plant sterols being added. Sometimes it’s for marketing purposes but in many cases, foods are fortified with extra nutrients to fill nutritional gaps in the population’s diet. For example B vitamins and folate enriched bread and cereal with added iron.

If we followed evidence based nutritional advice such as the Australian Dietary Guidelines, there may have been no need for nutritional fortification but at this point, functional foods serve a good purpose.

Like ‘superfood’, ‘sugar free’ and ‘natural’, no doubt the term functional food will soon be wrangled by marketing companies and turned into a money maker but this one still get a thumbs up.

Savoury Yoghurt

Many flavoured yoghurts and even the plain kinds can come with a fair bit of added sugar. Now, the sugar content listed on the nutritional panel can be a little confusing, as it includes the lactose in the yoghurt. Lactose is a disaccharide (a double unit sugar) that is naturally occurring in most dairy products. To know if a yoghurt contains added sugar, you can simply check the ingredients listing.

To keep up with consumer demand for less sugar, companies are trialling savoury yoghurts. It sounds strange but don’t knock it just yet. Plain yoghurt goes perfectly with many savoury foods such lamb, veggies sticks and my personal favourite roast sweet potato.

I’m keen to see where this one goes.

Sustainable Eating

Due to the current declining state of the planet, people are now looking for more ways to reduce food waste and emissions produced due to food transportation.

Reducing food waste is becoming more popular and has made it’s way into high end restaurants with chefs using every part of animal and veggie.

Farmers markets are also gaining popularity and these days aren’t just for buying jam. Farmers markets are the perfect place to purchase locally grown fruit and veg. Locally grown produce reduces food miles and in turn supports local farmers.

Recent findings have shown that 51% of yearly emissions worldwide are contributed by livestock and the by-products they produce. Reduced waste with nose to tail eating, locally bought meat and reducing meat consumption in general seem to be the most popular ways to help the planet in 2017.

Veganism

The vegan stereotype is no longer a clichéd tree hugger, veganism has now hit the main stage. In the same way sustainable eating is gaining popularity, veganism aims to combat the environmental issues related to animal farming, as well as animal welfare and health. It is now common in many café’s to see vegan options (meaning no animal products including eggs, dairy and honey) and ‘plant based’ has become another new buzzword.

The vegan trend is beneficial and feasible for most people however, inadequate replacement of certain animal products can cause some pretty serious nutritional issues including B12, calcium and iron deficiencies.

In the words of author Michael Pollan ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants’. Note the word mostly. The aim is to increase plant based food consumption, therefore decreasing the consumption of unhealthier foods, which often times contain animal products. If you are thinking of giving up animal products, consult a qualified nutritionist or dietitian to ensure you are getting all your nutritional needs.

I’m not a fan of labels so you won’t see me coming out as a vegan, I also like cheese too much, but more fruit and veggies always gets my tick of approval.

Fermented Food

We’ve seen the ads on TV for years showing bouncing little blue bacteria but more recently fermented foods containing beneficial probiotics are all the rage.

Studies have shown that probiotics may be beneficial for immunity, gut health and more recently have been linked to weight. While they are needed in quite large doses to have significant effects, it doesn’t hurt to include them through dietary means.

This is a trend that can benefit everyone, won’t break the budget and actually tastes good. Sources of probiotic containing fermented foods include;

  • Yoghurt
  • Saurkraut/kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Even tofu and other fermented soybean products

Acai

You’ve seen the purple bowls at every café and struggled to pronounce it but do the ‘superfood’ berries live up to the hype?

Acai berries are small, dark purple fruits that come from the acai palm. They are native to Brazil and South America and these days, are mostly harvested for the western words love of smoothies.

They started out as pureed frozen berries and have now become a supplement that people take daily to maximise their health. The claims come from the antioxidant properties due to the purple skin. However, there is no scientific evidence at this stage to suggest that these exotic berries have any more magical properties than blueberries.

They are delicious but you might as well save your dollars and food miles and stick with the humble blueberry.

Also, it’s pronounced ah-sigh-ee. You’re welcome.

Again, just like fashion trends, food trends come and go. Just because it’s hot right now, doesn’t mean you’ll be healthier for following it. One classic message that’s never gone out of style is consuming a balanced diet rich in a variety of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, dairy and lean proteins. Moderation doesn’t sound as exciting as some of these fads but at least your broccoli will never be a foodie fashion faux par.

+Emma

Follow @nourishedbyemma on Instagram for loads of tips and meal ideas!

By | 2017-06-23T03:09:39+00:00 February 28th, 2017|Food, Health, Lifestyle|
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