By: First published and, with permission from Ekko World
Diet trends 2019 are part crazy, part personal and part planet.
Food tribes are on the rise and the great majority of us are joining them - keen to try a new eating plan in 2019. While most of us are a reflection of the last blog we read, there are many literally eating for the planet as veganism continues to rise.
According to the annual Food Insight Food and Health Survey, these are the most popular, in order: intermittent fasting, Paleo, gluten-free, low-carb, Mediterranean, Whole30, high-protein, vegetarian/vegan, weight-loss plan, cleanse, DASH and ketogenic/high-fat.
In 2019, you can expect more really interesting (OK, bizarre) consumer behaviour trends to develop around eating patterns and food choices. If you want to really blow your mind, here is a list of 41 current diets (yes, 41) by US News, ranked for their health benefits.
WHEN ANY OF THESE DIETS CAN BE LINKED TO WEIGHT-LOSS AND THEN EXPLOITED BY CORPORATIONS, THEY BECOME BIG BUSINESS. AND, WITH ONLY A FEW EXCEPTIONS, MOST MODERN DIETS TARGET WEIGHT LOSS SO AWARE THE HIDDEN AGENDAS EVERYWHERE.
Millennials in particular are most likely to adopt a personalised diet approach according to very individual needs. And they get their information from blogs, lifestyle apps and social media, not medical professionals or dietitians as their parents may have. In addition, they constantly modify or tailor their food choices according to the messages they receive on any given day.
The two current commercial biggies Paleo and Keto essentially dictate specific food groups or macronutrients to include or exclude, namely protein, fats and carbs. These eating guides are a little bit more nuanced than that, but basically these diets are adopted with a primary focus on health, with secondary environment benefits as well, such as eating less processed food or more fresh food.
Those diets with the '-free' extension: lactose-free, gluten-free were once just the domain of the allergic and food intolerant. They have been adopted more widely for their perceived health benefits, although in the case of gluten, that's a contentious issue.
Cleanse diets are like the weird cousin of the diet family. In 1941 the Lemonade Diet suggested mixing lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, water and cayenne pepper and drinking six times a day for at least 10 days. Beyoncé resurrected this 'Master Cleanse' in 2006 and social media helped it become a global phenomenon, although it came to be roundly criticised by anyone with even a slight knowledge of nutrition.
Then there are the metrics diets - the ones where you count variables. Counting calories is a bit, dare we say it, old school. Today, Macro dieters count the amounts of carbohydrates, fat and protein they consume. Low GI and Anti-inflammatory dieters are measuring glycaemic indices or the ph levels of foods in their guts respectively. These diets are for the truly committed.
Bordering on the ridiculous
Some of the diet choices we have made are just diabolical: Cabbage Soup Diet, the Tapeworm diet, the Breatharian diet where you don't eat, like, at all. The modern dieter is a bit wiser, realising that fad diets are passé and a dedicated food direction is the only way of approaching long term health or body goals. These diets are now roundly recognized as faddish and fraught with danger. Millienials are no fools.
On the Horizon
The forecast for 2019 is that even more new diets will be added to our growing list and a few of them are set to really take off.
The Flexitarian Diet has been in play for a few years and is expected to continue to gain traction. The Nordic Diet is one to watch, Based on 10 core concepts: eating more fruits and vegetables every day; eating more whole grains; eating more seafood; choosing high-quality meat, but less meat overall; seeking out food from wild landscapes; using organic produce whenever possible; avoiding food additives; basing more meals on seasonal produce; consuming more home-cooked food; and producing less waste. The return to relaxed family meals at home with friends and family mirrors attributes of the Mediterranean diet.
Finding your Food Tribe
While dieting is not new, the sense of community that comes with today's food directions is quite modern. We are aligned along certain foodie party lines: what you eat, what you don't eat and why you don't eat it. The responses galvanise food communities as a web of people held together by cookbooks, Facebook groups, a coveted show on the SBS Food Network to make us feel like our food tribe has arrived, or a celebrity figurehead endorsement.
These devices definitely support our decision-making, but the retail market gives us a jump-on-board for free pass. Supermarket shelves heaving with Paleo protein bars, Uber-cool specialty cafes, gluten-free options when you order a pizza - it's as if the decisions have been made for you and you don't have to even think about it. And it is this very device that sees diets end at the personal level and not achieve any higher purpose, because the thinking is being done for you by someone with a hidden agenda.
The Veganism culture shift
Despite there still being a level of vitriol aimed at Vegans, the trend is on the rise. However, history will treat vegans kindly, because they bridged dieting for oneself and eating for a higher cause. Coined in 1944, the term 'vegan' originally described an extension of vegetarianism to expel all dairy products. It then evolved to become "the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals".
WITHOUT VEGANISM, THE LEAP FROM NUTRITION-BASED TO ETHICAL DIETS MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE. VEGETARIANS CAN ARGUE SUCCESSFULLY THEY TOOK THE SAME APPROACH AND FORGED THE SAME PATHS, BUT THE EXTENSION OF VEGANISM INTO FASHION, ACCESSORIES, COSMETICS AND TEXTILES SPURRED AN ENTIRE RE-IMAGINED LIFESTYLE.
The Journey from Low Carb to Low Carbon
Over time, the public has become very aware of different variables about their food: diminished nutritional values, pesticides, food miles, over-packaging, energy-intensive foods, the ethics of animal-based production and the free-range movement went mainstream. Documentaries about food production and preparation became their own genre, even spawning their own film festivals. The public can no longer think of food as a vehicle just to support their personal goals. Eating food, any food, now comes with social responsibilities.
Welcome to the party - Sustainarians, Reducetarians and Climatarians
Words ending in -arian are identity markers. People use these words to say they stand for something. Think vegetarian, humanitarian and disciplinarian. Enter Sustainatarians, Reducetarians and Climatarians. Their titles are pretty self explanatory and there is a large amount of overlap between each.
A Sustainatarian applies to decision-making based on principles of environmental sustainability and fairness to both humans and animals. They usually are buying fair trade, organic, recycled, reused and/or reusable food, clothing and consumer goods wherever there is a choice.
A Reducetarian is in the practice of eating less meat - red meat, poultry, and seafood - as well as less dairy and fewer eggs, regardless of the degree or motivation.
A Climatarian takes on a diet whose primary goal is to reverse climate change, and their weapon of choice are foods with low carbon footprints.
Will 2019 be the year the Food-Arians rise up? Watch this space.
This article was first published in Ekko World - the site where consumers can make transparent choices in all things eco
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