Nutrition Trends: 2014 Edition

Photo Credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks, 2 Million Views, Thanks via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks, 2 Million Views, Thanks via Compfight cc

Nutrition Trends: 2014 Edition
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

 

We took to the blogosphere earlier this year to highlight the food trends of 2013. We focused on chia seeds, natural sugar “alternatives”, self-monitoring, gluten-free foods, juicing, and leading a simpler life. And we have to say that those trends were pretty accurate. In honor of the New Year quickly approaching we wanted to share some of our predicted food trends of 2014.

Alternative Sugars

There’s no question that alternative sugars have become increasingly popular these past few years. With products like Stevia and coconut sugar leading the way last year, we have a hunch that Pyure will take the lead this coming year. It’s organic, non-GMO, and has a decent amount of fiber in a serving. According to their website, Pyure is an organic stevia blended with agave inulin fiber, which can act as a probiotic and digestive aids. With claims like that, we foresee a surge in popularity for this stevia sweetener. This does not mean we are fans rather we are just letting you know!

Beans, Beans, They’re Good for your Heart…

The editors at Eatocracy predict that beans will be a big trend among the culinary scene come 2014. We’d have to agree with them. Chefs have been featuring more protein-rich beans on their menus. We love it! Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, not to mention vitamins and minerals. Plus, they hold up well and can serve as the protein source in a main dish. It’s quite the win-win situation for restaurants, as beans are typically less expensive than meat and they draw in the vegetarian and vegan crowds. Just remember, you need 1.5 cups of beans to equal 3 oz of animal protein.

Photo Credit: Admanchester via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Admanchester via Compfight cc

Cauliflower

Who didn’t know someone who tried cauliflower pizza this past year, are we right? Cauliflower has been making headway in the online foodie scene recently. With recipes like cauliflower pizza, fritters, and mashed “potatoes,” cauliflower is quickly becoming the “hidden” vegetable. Don’t let the white color fool you, cauliflower is packed with vitamins and minerals, and we just can’t wait to see the new recipes to come next year! Check out one of our favorite recipes here.

Allergy-Friendly Foods

While we predicted gluten-free foods to be a trend in 2013, we have a feeling they’ll continue to rise in popularity come 2014. We, also, think that allergy-friendly foods, brands like Enjoy Life Foods, will become popular this year. With more and more food brands toting the gluten-free, peanut-free, and casein-free logos, we predict they’ll continue to grow. Food allergies seem to be on the rise, especially among school-aged children, so keep an eye out for kid and allergy-friendly foods.

Photo Credit: prideandvegudice via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: prideandvegudice via Compfight cc

Healthier Fast Food

Fast food continues to stay popular among Americans. We predict a surge of newer fast food options this year. Not only do we think (hope) that the main fast food companies, like McDonalds and Burger King will work to provide healthier food options for consumers, but we also think that some new options will emerge. In NYC alone, there are a number of healthy “fast food” joints popping up all over the place. With options like Hu Kitchen, Mulberry & Vine, and Fresh & Co the idea of grabbing a quick bite to eat may mean going to buy a quinoa-kale salad rather than a double cheeseburger.

Food Apps/Health Trackers

There’s no question that the app business has been drastically growing these past few years. We predict that it will continue to grow, especially in terms of food and health tracking apps. Apps like Fooducate, MyFitnessPal, and Lift have become quite trendy. We also think that their health tracker program counterparts will follow suit. Programs like fitbit, the Jawbone UP band, and Nike+ Fuel Band all track certain aspects of your health and allow you to sync with your computer (or phone) and track your health.

Probiotics

Who knew the word bacteria would be so trendy? 2013 was a big year for probiotics, and we don’t think that they will be going anywhere in 2014. With benefits ranging from improved digestion and preventing constipation, it’s no wonder these little bacteria get so much attention. It’s important to note that the research is still out on all their health effects, however, when on antibiotics or prescribed by a doctor, these microorganisms have been shown to balance the bacteria in your intestines. We’re looking forward to seeing more news and research on probiotics and any additional benefits they may have. Learn more by watching our video here.

 

Frozen Yogurt or Frozen No-gurt

Frozen Yogurt: Is your yogurt really yogurt?

Cold, sweet and creamy — If you’re like me, nothing screams “summer” more than ice cream! But under the heat of the sun, choosing a healthy, frozen treat isn’t always easy. In recent years, frozen yogurt chains have been making their way across the nation. Due to both food trends and as a health conscious society, many swap traditional ice cream for frozen yogurt as a lighter, healthier option than most traditional ice creams. Some people think that because it’s “yogurt,” it must be healthier. Well, fro-yo fans, read on to learn if this seemingly low-fat and cold snack is really healthier? Does it provide the same benefits as eating yogurt? And most of all, does your frozen yogurt actually contain well, yogurt?

Frozen Yogurt or Frozen No-gurt

Under the FDA, there is a standard of identity that defines yogurt: cultured dairy ingredients with a bacterial culture containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles. These beneficial bacteria then convert pasteurized milk, to yogurt. For frozen yogurt products however, there is no standard of identity that exists. In other words, any cold and creamy, sweet and swirly dessert can call itself “yogurt,” without actually containing any “real” yogurt! Don’t panic just yet-some frozen yogurts actually do contain yogurt.

So if frozen yogurt products aren’t required to actually contain these live and active cultures, how do we know if our favorite frozen ice cream alternative contains yogurt or no-gurt? Well thanks to the National Yogurt Association, they have developed an Active Cultures Seal, which can help customers identify what frozen yogurt products actually contain yogurt. The NYA’s Live & Active Cultures seal on frozen yogurt product signifies that it “contains at least 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture.” For those individuals who think they are reaping the health benefits of yogurt the Live and Active Cultures seal can help you differentiate which frozen yogurt actually contains these good-for-you active cultures.

Does your favorite brand of frozen yogurt contain yogurt? When in doubt, ask the company for the seal of approval, or check out our quick guide to see if your favorite fro-yo brand made the cut: 

 

Frozen Yogurt Brand

 

 

Contains Yogurt or No-gurt?

 

Live & Active Cultures Seal?

16 Handles

No-gurt

No

Pinkberry

Yes

Yes

Red Mango

Yes

Yes

Tasty D-Lite

No-gurt

No

TLC

No-gurt

No

 

 A “Sometimes” Food

The trending idea that frozen yogurt is “more healthy,” does have some truth to it. Ounce for ounce, frozen yogurt typically contains fewer calories, and less saturated fat than ice cream.  Plus frozen yogurt has an extra bonus; it contains the beneficial bacteria that your belly needs and loves.

Portion with Caution

Fro-yo fans should be careful with portion size, choice of toppings (ie. fruits or cookies) and amount of toppings. Be most mindful in shops where customers like you, can self-serve. Calories easily add up to the equivalent or more than traditional ice cream. The machines distort a customer’s portion control. Because it can be difficult to eyeball exactly what “1/2 cup” or “3/4 cup” looks like, we often end up buying and eating more than we think. This is mindless eating and weight gain. For those who only want a few spoonfuls of a frozen snack, opt for a kiddie cup or use my 5 second rule with the self-serve machine. (Hold machine handle down for five seconds and then lift).

Tips to Navigate the Freezer

If you are aiming for health:

  • Look for the Active Cultures Seal or do your research online.
  • Choose fresh fruit for the toppings
  • Eat real yogurt such as Greek yogurt or Better Than Whey Yogurt

If you are being mindful of your waistline:

  • Opt for places with kiddie portions or use the 5 Second Rule.
  • Opt for no toppings
  • Buy prepackaged frozen pops that are pre-portioned

If you want ice cream:

  • Eat the real thing to satisfy your cravings
  • Eat a small portion of the real thing without toppings
  • Just eat it and enjoy, but not everyday

*Whether you’re a fro-yo fan or want to try it for the first time, this week Mom Dishes It Out is giving a month’s supply of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars to 5 lucky followers! To enter, visit Mom Dishes It Out!

Are Super Foods So Super?

 

Are super foods so super?

By: Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE

www.eatingandlivingmoderately.com

Tropical berries such as gogi berries, acai berries, and more have been bombarding the food industry and the media. These products claim almost magical health benefits including a more youthful feeling, lowered cholesterol, and weight loss. But are these products really all their manufacturers claim?

For centuries, the Asian population has included Gogi Berries as part of their diets in hopes of longer lives and to reduce aliments. This is due in large part to their high antioxidant content. Antioxidants may slow the aging process by minimizing damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage. By doing so, antioxidants help reduce the risk of disease and possibly aging. A research article from The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, found that subjects who drank gogi juice daily for a 15 day period reported significantly higher energy levels, athletic performance, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, mental acuity, calmness, and feelings of health, contentment, and happiness compared to the control group.

More popular than the gogi berry are the acai berries. These berries are also packed with antioxidants and are also good sources of fiber and monounsaturated fats (the good fats!). A pilot study published in a 2011 edition of The Nutrition Journal, found that in patients suffering for metabolic syndrome, supplementation of acai berry led to improved cholesterol as well as better fasting glucose and insulin levels. Other students have found that use of acai berries can reduce inflammation.

So, are you all set to run out and buy a bottle of juice or a box of supplements?

Not so fast.

While it is true that added these foods into your diet may have some health benefits, there is little research to indicate that these benefits are above and beyond those one would find from “non-exotic” products.

All berries are wonderful sources of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. There is little evidence to show that gogi and other berries are better sources—only that they are significantly more expensive. There is no reason to spend $40 when you could simply add local blueberries or raspberries to your diet. Also, eating whole foods rather than swallowing supplements is the recommended way to get your macro and micronutrients.

So, these “super berries”  are just as super as your raspberries and blueberries. To have a lifestyle of health and longevity, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables daily. They don’t have to be from an exotic location, rather it is preferred if they were from your backyard or a local farm!!

 

 

Photo provided by Ambro: <p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1499″>Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18447631

http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2010.0150

http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/45

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-03-23/health/acai.berries.scam_1_advanced-wellness-research-acai-weight-loss-claims?_s=PM:HEALTH