EVERY year brings with it a new batch of diet trends. The predicted ‘who’s who’ of the diet world, if you will.
Trends may come from abroad, they are created by companies and others may be led by new technological innovations.
Some are worth knowing; others, not so much.
We’ve rounded up some of the big diet trends of 2023 and asked Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan Elite for his expert opinion on each one – which one will you be trying?
1. Green supplements
Packed in antioxidants, fruits and vegetables, green supplements can offer a useful way to improve health, without having to plow through a bowl of kale, spinach and other nutrient-packed greens.
Available in powder and tablet form, could 2023 be the year we finally find an easier way to get healthy?
ROB SAYS: “This supplement is designed to contain extracts of fruits, vegetables and other ingredients that are high in antioxidants such as algae and seaweed.
“Taking this supplement is more about improving nutrient intake if you don’t eat a lot of highly nutritious vegetables.
“This powder is common with endurance athletes especially cyclists who may have digestive issues who eat large amounts of vegetables to meet their nutrient/antioxidant needs so this could be useful here.”
2. Personal nutrition
There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to our diet and nutrition; different people have different nutritional needs.
Most read in Diet & Fitness
The personal nutrition market is expected to grow rapidly over the next 20 years as more people eat to meet their needs.
In the UK, companies such as Fresh Fitness Food – a personalized food delivery service – offer more packages targeted at various health goals.
It’s not cheap, but if you really want to hone your nutrition, is this the way to go?
ROB SAYS: “This has been around for a long time.
“There’s not too much to say because they offer healthy food options that are usually fresh.
“I think the whole personalized nutrition part is in some cases not as technical and personalized as you might think, but this varies between companies.”
3. Insects as the new norm
Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but insects are slowly gaining popularity as a sustainable food source.
“Insects mostly contain high protein. Plus, it’s more sustainable with less environmental impact, which is a plus for the planet,” says Nataly Komova, RD and fitness expert at JustCBD (justcbdstore.uk).
However, these insects can be disguised in cookies, pasta and protein bars, to name a few, which help mask the taste.
ROB SAYS: “These little friends provide a very sustainable source of protein and if you eat the skin, are high in minerals such as calcium.
“If you can’t resist fried grasshoppers, you can try protein powders that have reached the market.”
4. Seaweed snack
Although seaweed is already widely found in supermarkets and health shops, its popularity is expected to increase, again, it offers a sustainable food source.
“Seaweed contains many healthy nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, iodine and calcium – all of which are important for maximizing health,” explains Nataly.
ROB SAYS: “Sea vegetables are very nutritious and an excellent addition to your diet.
“They are very rich in iodine which is lacking in many people’s diets.
“If you have a thyroid disorder, I would advise you to limit your intake of seaweed because iodine is a precursor for thyroid hormone production.”
5. Avocado oil
Nataly says we will see avocado oil in mayonnaise and potato chips “as people look for more ways to reduce cholesterol”.
ROB SAYS: “This is a healthy oil that is rich in vitamin E and consists mostly of monounsaturated fatty acids that have been shown to be very beneficial for heart health.
“This oil is actually very versatile as it has a relatively high smoking point meaning you can use it for many things, from dressings to frying.
“However it comes at a cost and is generally more expensive than olive oil. Maybe it’s better to leave it for the drizzle and get dressed.”
6. Accurate gut health data
Gut health isn’t going anywhere, and for good reason, as the state of our gut has been shown to impact our mental and physical health.
“We’ve known for a long time that the activity of our gut bacteria plays an important role in weight management,” said Dr Caitlin Hall, Chief Dietitian and Head of Clinical Research at myota.
However, until recently, it was impossible for consumers to know what type of fiber they should be eating to fuel the activity of their unique collection of gut bacteria (microbiome).
Now, consumers can use a high-tech self-testing kit to discover their unique microbiome profile, and use highly specific data about their intestinal bacterial fiber fermentation capabilities to optimize their diet and promote weight loss.
ROB SAYS: “There is an interesting article published in the American Society of Nutrition Journal that shows that caution should be exercised when using these gut microbiome biomarkers towards precision nutrition.
“There is a large amount of unexplained variability in the composition of the microbiome and our understanding of what constitutes a healthy microbiome is still quite rudimentary.
“This offer may not be available yet unless combined with other blood and physiological biomarkers.”
7. Metabolic respiratory data
Offering a data-driven approach to weight loss is the ‘metabolic breath analyzer’.
“This is a tool that collects data from your breath to give you a variety of useful information about your unique metabolism,” explains Dr. Hall.
He adds that before eating or exercising, you can use this tool to quickly check whether your body is burning carbohydrates or fat for energy, and then adjust your diet and exercise regime accordingly.
ROB SAYS: “This test shows you how efficiently your body can convert the food you eat into energy.
“This data can be useful and any tool in the world can be a useful way for people to stay motivated as they monitor their health.
“I imagine most people will use this tool to lose weight but you still need to work on the right kind of diet, which this app for testing helps you do.”
8. Continuous glucose monitor
Although diabetics have been using continuous glucose monitors for years to track their blood sugar levels, they are now gaining popularity for other reasons.
“Monitoring blood glucose levels is something that can benefit people trying to lose weight, not just individuals with diabetes,” says Dr Caitlin.
He added: “If you tend to eat a lot of sugary foods and refined carbohydrates throughout the day, you’re more likely to experience extreme high and low blood glucose levels (otherwise known as blood sugar ‘spikes and crashes’).
“Blood sugar spikes and dips are normal, but when they happen too often they can affect many aspects of health such as energy, sleep, appetite, metabolic health and exercise performance.
“In the long term, this can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and weight gain.”
ROB SAYS: “Research has begun to show that these monitors may also be useful for behavior change as wearers experience increased motivation feeling they have more control over their diabetes.
“Understanding how your body responds to the foods you eat and the exercise you do has the potential to make it easier to design a healthy diet and lifestyle plan specific to that individual.”
9. MIND Diet
The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delays (MIND), which has made waves at the dietary level, is expected to be even bigger in 2023.
According to Karine Patel, weight loss nutritionist for Dietitian Fit & Co, this is due to “the incredible health benefits of the diet, which reduces the risk of developing dementia and declining brain health”.
“The diet combines two very popular diets, the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
“Both diets have been shown to promote weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes,” says Karine.
The MIND diet encourages eating certain foods such as greens, leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, fish, legumes, whole grains, and chicken (not fried) while also limiting foods such as red meat, pastries and sweets, butter and margarine, cheese and fried food.
ROB SAYS: “The research done on the MIND diet seems very promising in slowing the rate of cognitive decline.
“It works by taking the best of each diet (Mediterranean diet and DASH diet) as it relates to brain health.
“For example, fruits are healthy and a component of both diets but only berries are related to brain health, so they are emphasized over other fruits.
“This diet seems like a good idea for those who care about their brain health.”
10. Intermittent fasting
Fasting trend continues; either the 5:2 diet, the 16:8 diet (eating within eight hours and fasting for 16 hours) or even taking a day off from food.
“There is consistent evidence that this diet is effective for weight loss and also reduces the risk of heart disease,” explains Karine.
ROB SAYS: “Fasting continues to grow in popularity and many people find it a useful way to control their weight.
“Despite the many claims made about fasting, the strongest research findings are still mostly limited to the fact that fasting helps control blood sugar.”