Best and Worst Nutrition Trends of 2018
Morgan Medeiros MSc
December 28, 2018

2018 nutrition trendsWeary about nutrition trends? Rightfully so!

Most fad diets are nothing more than hype: you may lose a little (or maybe even a lot) of weight, only to gain it all back within a matter of months. Wait for the next trend to come along, then wash and repeat.

Like each year before it, 2018 saw its share of nutrition trends, good and bad.

We’ve got our three favorites that we plan to carry with us into 2019….plus three that we’d like to see stay firmly in the place of yesteryear.

The Good: Whole Foods, Veggie Subs, Low Sugar

In 2018, Americans woke up to whole food diets and said no to processed foods in higher numbers than ever before.

Focusing on veggie subs and waving farewell to foods high in added sugar, even skeptical consumers were able to embrace tenants of whole food eating and reap the best that natural, unprocessed foods have to offer.

Unlike refined and processed foods, whole foods tend to be lower in sugar (think whole fruit vs fruit juice), salt, and saturated fat.

They also tend to be higher in fiber, unsaturated fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals: all good things!

Heading into 2019, we hope to see veggie subs like zucchini noodles (zoodles!) and cauliflower rice go mainstream, hitting restaurants and cafes in addition to our own dinner tables. Veggie subs are lower in Calories and refined carbohydrate (which most of us already consume too much of), and higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals (which most of us don’t consume enough of).

We’d also like to see big restaurant chains take a cue and start offering more whole foods offered in main dishes and side dishes. Most restaurants do a decent job of offering whole food options in their entree lineup, but side dishes still tend to focus on traditional starchy offerings like french fries, baked potatoes, chips, and bread.

Finally, we want to see a continued dedication to reductions in added sugar: most of us still consume way too much thanks to hidden sugar in added food products.

The Bad: Ketogenic Diets, Fasting, and Coconut Oil

We would love nothing more than to see ketogenic diets, fasting, and coconut oil get left in the rearview mirror in 2019, but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Although extremely popular, ketogenic diets are nutritionally limiting and not terribly well studied outside of use in uncontrolled seizure disorders. Ketogenic diets don’t leave much room for the meaningful inclusion of important food groups, which may lead to nutritional deficiencies and difficulty in long term adherence.

Fasting, on the other hand, is something of a recipe for emotional disaster: most of us don’t do well functioning mentally or physically for long periods without food. While fasting may theoretically reduce Caloric intake in the short term, it may also cause excessive intake once the fasting period is over.

Finally,while completely delicious, we’d like to see the popularity surrounding coconut oil die down a little bit until the long-term effects of consumption are better understood. For years, the highly saturated nature of coconut oil has been such that doctors and scientists have warned against its consumption. Until research proves otherwise, it’s best to stick with what we know to be good in olive and canola oils.

Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).

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