keto diet

7 Food & Nutrition Trends to Watch For in 2017

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The new year is upon us and 'tis the season of food forecasting. 2016 was the year of overnight oats, meal delivery kits, and La Croix sparkling water. What does 2017 have in store...? Here are a few of my top predictions...

1. Waste Not, Want Not
40% of all food produced, never actually makes it to a plate before getting tossed out. Meanwhile, more than 40 million Americans are hungry. Thanks to our millennial generation, we are beginning to value food preservation and do our part in reducing food waste, for not only the economical, but the social, and environmental benefits as well. In 2017, we'll start to see more restaurants, food companies, and even home cooks hop on board and err towards the side of wasting less. We will see more recipes for using broccoli stems, kale stems, potato skins, chicken bones, and repurposing leftovers- food items that may otherwise be tossed out. Check out this site for some tips and recipe ideas for your food close to expiration.

 

2. Is Cottage Cheese the new Greek Yogurt?
We all saw it in the Wall Street Journal, word is out - cottage cheese wants what greek yogurt has. Cottage cheese manufacturers have begun making individual serving containers with sweet, fruit flavored add-ins, similar to their greek yogurt counterpart. High in protein, cottage cheese makes a healthful, satisfying snack. Although if sodium is something you need to be cautious of, be sure to read the nutrition facts label.

 

3. Sweet Potato Toast
This foodie trend has begun to swarm pinterest and food blogs alike. Perhaps it will take off in 2017 as we start to get sick of our overnight oats and chia seed pudding. Click here and here for a few different variations. While you're at it- be sure to follow me on Pinterest for all my favorite recipes!

 

 

4. Turmeric
An ancient spice, with a long history of medicinal properties, turmeric is becoming more and more trendy. Specifically growing in popularity for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, turmeric may relieve discomfort from arthritis, GI and menstrual stress, headaches, and acne alike, not to mention reducing LDL as well. Studies have shown, that consuming turmeric with black pepper or a source of fat helps to increase the spice's bioavailability. Keep in mind, more research is needed and what works for one person (or lab rat) may or may not work the same for you, as everyone's nutritional needs vary. Check out this cozy, warm turmeric milk recipe from Nutrition Stripped. 

 

5. Keto Diet
The all-trendy ketogenic diet has not quite reached its peak. For the early part of 2017, as many of us begin to rethink our health habits and once again begin to fear carbs, I see this diet trend continuing to trend up. Check out my blog post from a few months back for more information on the ketogenic diet. And as always, please contact your MD, ND, or RD before beginning any type of diet plan.

 

6. Plant-Forward Meals
Word is getting out about plants! More and more research is touting the health benefits of consuming more plant-based foods, including lowering cholesterol as well as a decreased risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. We will begin to see more restaurants hopping on board and offering veggie-centered meals. This is not to say we all need to eat tofu or entirely vegan. You can still incorporate a 'plant-based' lifestyle by swapping a meat-heavy meal or two each week with plant-based alternatives or trying to focus a meal around veggies.

 

7. Fermented Foods
Gaining in popularity over the past year for their high probiotic content, we will begin to see more and more fermented food products in 2017. Aside from yogurt, packaged sauerkraut, kimchi, and even fermented water kefir and 'gut shots' will soon line our grocery store shelves.

 

What do you think? What are your predictions for 2017?

The Truth Behind the 'Keto' Diet

Multiple people (male athletes) have approached me lately asking about what they call the 'keto' diet. It seems as though it's becoming more and more popular among various types of athletes and my question is why? Combined with what I know, I did a little research and here is what I found...Read on.

Glucose is the body's main source of quick energy and your brain's preferred source of fuel because it is quick to breakdown and easy to access. It is stored in both the liver and muscle as glycogen. If you remove carbohydrates from the diet, fat metabolism increases because your body needs fuel from another source.

Athletes following a ketogenic diet aim to put their bodies in a state of ketosis, meaning instead of using glucose as the main source of fuel they use fat. In order to do this, the diet must be extremely high in fat and low in both carbohydrates and protein. To reach ketosis about 75% of calories should come from fat and 25% from carbs and protein. Most of the research notes that people typically feel tired, weak, and even nauseous their first few weeks as their bodies enter into ketosis. However, these symptoms do reside after a of couple weeks.

Fat requires more oxygen than glucose to breakdown and be used as fuel. Therefore, in anaerobic exercise (short, high-intensity - sprinting, heavy lifting, etc.) your body requires glucose to fuel those quick bursts of energy because it does not have enough oxygen to catabolize fat. In aerobic exercise your body is able to use more fat as a source of fuel because it is taking in more oxygen. These are typically longer endurance types of exercises. During the course of your exercise, your body typically goes through both anaerobic and aerobic metabolism.

Some athletes believe following a ketogenic diet will allow them to perform stronger and longer by using fat as their main source of energy. To date, no study has shown ketogenic diets to improve athletic performance.


I just returned from FNCE (the national Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo) at which I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Hawley speak about his many studies involving olympic athletes and the ketogenic diet. Dr. Hawley and his colleagues put olympic athletes (speed walkers) on various types of diets - including either a high carb or a high fat diet. They repeatedly found the athletes on the HIGH CARB diet to have the most IMPROVED performance while the athletes on the HIGH FAT diet showed NO IMPROVEMENT at all. It is much more efficient to allow your muscles to use glucose as a fuel. When your body becomes fat-adapted it actually impairs the muscles ability to use the most efficient fuel source (carbohydrates!). 

Like any diet, the ketogenic diet is not particularly sustainable. 

You can function off of ketones and without carbohydrates but you would be lacking essential vitamins and minerals by eliminating fruits and vegetables. If you are considering following a ketogenic diet, I would strongly encourage working closely with a registered dietitian.

There are a variety of reasons to adopt a ketogenic diet, however, it does not seem to improve athletic performance. The ketogenic diet IS effectively used to treat and eliminate seizures in children (although it has shown to be less effective in adults); I do support it in this context but again recommend consulting a dietitian for help.