At least one dietitian hopes people will stop dieting altogether this year, but eating plans appear to be here to stay.
The start of a new year is when everyone starts making predictions about what’s to come.
In the health arena, that means trying to foresee which diets and nutrition fads will be trendsetters in the upcoming year.
U.S. News and World Report has already jumped in. In their annual ranking of diets released this week, the publication listed the Mediterranean diet at the top.
While it can be difficult to predict what will take off, here are a few of the trends that seem to be on everyone’s radar — at least so far.
Mindy Haar, PhD, the associate dean of undergraduate affairs at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) School of Health Professions, believes that gut health will continue to gain traction.
Probiotic pills, though, won’t get the limelight.
Fresh foods that can balance the microbiome will.
“In 2019, more individuals will seek their probiotics from fermented food and drink such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha tea,” Haar told Healthline. “Since high-fiber foods act as prebiotics fueling probiotic growth, there are now more reasons to consume fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.”
In its 2019 trend predictions, Whole Foods said that shelf-stable probiotics — in items such as nut butters and pastas — will be another trend.
A number of health experts believe that 2019 is the year of the plant protein.
Health, environmental, and ethical concerns will cause more people to eat less animal proteins or switch to plant-centered diets, Haar said.
We will see more plant-based options such as bean pastas and soy, tofu, or quinoa burgers on the market, she added.
“Recent food trends have increased the consumption of avocado, kale, and quinoa… all wonderful nutrient-dense foods that should not be given up,” Haar said. “This year, dandelion greens, rainbow carrots, beets, and amaranth are the new popular kids on the block.”
The hot diet trend for 2019 may not have to do with adding or restricting a certain food.
It may be not eating altogether — at least temporarily.
Beth Auguste, RD, a registered dietitian nutritionist from Philadelphia, said that intermittent fasting will become more popular this year.
“It’s easy to follow,” Auguste told Healthline. “It doesn’t require restriction of any specific foods, so it will not hinder your ability to eat away from home.”
Some studies have shown positive weight maintenance results. Beware, though, because fasting can impact hormones.
Intermittent fasting is best for women nearing menopause age, but not for those pregnant or nursing.
This eating plan was in the spotlight in 2018 and that will continue in 2019, Auguste said.
“Low carb diets do work and this is another iteration,” she added.
But Auguste doesn’t recommend the keto diet for those who don’t see themselves sticking to a low-carb diet in the long run.
Rachel Fine, a registered dietitian from New York City, wants people to beware of the keto diet trend.
“Manipulating a state of ketosis is not recommended without the supervision of a doctor,” she told Healthline.
For weight loss and management, high-fat diets do not solely increase overall fat burn.
“Rather than manipulating fat burn via the diet, conditioning exercise and training is the best way to increase the body’s fat burn,” she said.
Fine noted that the metabolites produced from carbohydrate metabolism are needed for fat metabolism.
“The two go hand in hand,” she said, adding that people need carbs and fats in their diets for optimal weight management.
Studies continue to go back and forth about the benefits and disadvantages of trying the keto diet.
Cannabis and cannabidiol are expected to be a growing trend, in particular when it comes to hemp, says Mirna Sharafeddine, RHN, and Jenni Bourque, RHN, nutritionists from Canada.
Hemp can be used to make several food products, such as hemp seeds and hemp seed oil.
Users say they like the substance’s anti-inflammatory effects.
As research increases, so will our ability to get our hands on hemp-based products, especially ones that can make us healthier, the nutritionists told Healthline.
Whole Foods also listed hemp as a top food trend for 2019.
“Hemp hearts, seeds, and oils are nothing new to food and body care lovers— they’re in everything from waffle mix to dried pastas,” the company stated. “But a new interest in the potential benefits stemming from other parts of hemp plants has many brands looking to explore the booming cannabis biz.”
Whitney Stuart, a registered dietitian nutritionist from Texas, agreed.
“Hemp and CBD will continue to infiltrate products as its researched benefits continue to release,” she told Healthline.
Bitter foods such as asparagus, cucumbers, grapefruit, and cacao will be more popular in diets in the coming year, according to Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, a nutritionist based in New York.
“Bitters help detox your GI tract and love your liver,” Gittleman told Healthline. “Bitter foods clean toxic, sluggish bile, which aids digestion and gets your thyroid back on track to jump start your slimming and overall health.”
“Working bitters into your diet several times a day is a must,” she added.
Nutrition trends are one thing, but specific diets are quite another.
Kathleen Meehan, a registered dietitian nutritionist from Houston, hopes that intuitive eating replaces diets all together.
“My hope is that people will begin to recognize the futility of dieting in 2019,” said Meehan, who calls herself a non-diet dietitian.
She told Healthline that between 80 and 95 percent of diets fail in the long-term.
Diets can also be harmful to our bodies, causing increased body dissatisfaction, weight cycling, and disordered eating.
“Intuitive eating isn’t a trend. It’s an anecdote to all the fads and trends,” Meehan said.
This eating practice is not for weight loss, but instead is intended to boost an individual’s awareness and experience of eating.
“I hope that in 2019, more people will begin ditching the diet mentality, and focusing on what helps them to feel good,” Meehan said.
She added she hopes people learn to respect their bodies and make peace with food because it makes them feel good — not because they want to lose weight.