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New Diet and Health Trends (2023 & 2024): From Extreme Flavors to Reimagined Classics

From more budget-friendly options to fewer feasting hours, here's what to expect in 2024's health and nutrition scene. 

New Diet and Health Trends (2023 & 2024): From Extreme Flavors to Reimagined Classics

Searching for new diet trends? When diving into trending food and nutrition news, it can feel tricky to differentiate a fad diet from a genuinely nourishing eating pattern. 

Luckily, with the help of nutrition and wellness experts, you can learn how to identify if health trends are actually healthy for you and which ones may cause more harm than good. Here’s what to know about this year’s new food trends and which might be worth sinking your teeth into.

Why Subscribe to Health and Nutrition News?

Everyone, from chefs designing menus to consumers shopping for products, is influenced by what’s new in health and nutrition news. Now more than ever, people are interested in avoiding chronic disease, and living longer, healthier lives—some of the newest, hottest products claim to do just that.

Staying updated on trends, or being a trendsetter, isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Understanding what’s gaining popularity can give you a new perspective and prompt an intake of knowledge on a new topic. 

When it comes to food, nutrition, health, and wellness, the landscape is ever-changing. It can be interesting to learn about the latest information regarding eating habits and wellness routines. 

However, you don’t have to adopt every trend that comes along. In fact, some trending foods and products may not be effective in achieving optimal health. Worse than that, some trends may actually cause harm. 

As the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises regarding fad diets, “If a diet or product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” It’s okay to stay current on the latest craze, but banking on “rapid results” or cutting out entire food groups per the latest trend may be ill-advised. When in doubt, it’s best to consult your healthcare team about the safety of the latest trend. 

New Diet Trends

Wondering what the most anticipated diet trends of the year are? Learn about the direction diet crazes are taking, and which movements are trending for 2023 and 2024. 

Mediterranean Diet 

The Mediterranean diet will likely gain even greater traction this year, especially since it was recently named the best diet by the US News & World Report. With a focus on whole foods, this healthy diet pattern is believed to reduce the risk of chronic disease. 

Research is also emerging that suggests the Mediterranean diet may have applications for specific diseases or disorders‚ such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and postpartum depression

Ketogenic Diet 

Although the ketogenic diet, “keto diet” for short, is advised against by many dietitians unless you’re in a disease state (like epilepsy) that warrants it, interest in this high-fat, low-carb eating pattern remains strong. The keto diet is thought to be popular because it can induce rapid weight loss in some cases. 

However, the lack of long-term studies on the effects of this diet is concerning, and some people find it too restrictive and difficult to obtain all their needed nutrients. 

Intermittent Fasting 

The practice of intermittent fasting will continue to be at the forefront of the dieting world this year, too. Although intermittent fasting is heralded as a way to lose weight among its most avid followers, like the keto diet, it lacks strong scientific studies. Plus, it may not be suitable for everyone

Flexible Yet Plant-Forward 

It’s no doubt that plant-based diets have gone mainstream. However, some consumers say products labeled “plant-based” aren’t necessarily checking all the boxes for their health. 

Instead, since many plant-based products come with a long list of ingredients, shoppers seek plant products with simple, short ingredients to integrate into their lifestyle. The flexitarian eating style will continue flourishing as consumers lean towards including more plants without completely excluding meat. 

Less Pricey Produce & Proteins 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising food prices, people are looking to cut costs. As a result, budget-friendly proteins have caught the public’s attention. 

Foods—like canned and tinned fish, beans, and legumes—are being used more readily, as opposed to pricier cuts of meat. Budget-friendly produce picks are also taking center stage, and cabbage is upstaging kale as the trendy veggie since it doesn’t spoil as quickly (leading to less food waste). 

Extreme Flavors 

If you’re a fan of unconventional flavor and unusual food combinations, this could be your year. Companies have been picking up on consumer interest in bolder flavors and infusing products with intriguing new ingredients. For example, pickle flavors are highly sought after, and brands are creating products to match.

Beyond sour and umami flavors—like kimchi and kombucha—having a moment, spicy foods are growing in popularity, too. There’s even a “swicy” craze occurring, which includes foods that are both sweet and spicy. 

Additionally, consumers seek spices and flavor profiles from different cultures or underrepresented regions. Think Peruvian peppers, Indian spice blends, and even Caribbean cuisine. 

Better Beverages

People are looking for better beverage options from dawn (coffee replacements) to dusk (evening nightcaps) and are interested in using drinks to enhance their diet instead of detracting from it. Enhanced hydration options, like pre-packaged drink powders, are rising in popularity beyond the sports world to serve the health-savvy. 

Water is getting an upgrade, too! Some sparkling water brands are introducing trending ingredients—like adaptogens, L-theanine, and green tea extract—into their formulations. 

One section of the beverage sector is receiving a lot of attention— alcohol, or rather, non-alcoholic drinks. Recent reports suggest that fewer individuals are reaching for alcoholic drinks and those individuals who are may not be drinking as often. 

Alcohol-free or low-ABV (alcohol by volume) drinks are stealing the limelight. Today, many beer, spirit, and healthy mocktail options with little to no alcohol exist, making some bars a more inclusive place for people to gather. 

New Food Trends to Bite Into

Some surprising foods and drinks are emerging on the market, providing consumers with more options for meeting their daily needs. People are generally looking for their foods to play a specific purpose or have specific health benefits. 

Consumers don’t just want foods to fulfill their basic needs, they want items that go above and beyond—let’s peek at some trendy examples.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms 

Adaptogens have been hot lately, and mushroom-based products have been particularly popular. Varieties that have been recently receiving a lot of attention include Cordyceps, Hericium erinaceus (“Lion’s mane”), and Ganoderma lucidum (more commonly known as lingzhi or reishi).

With supposed medicinal qualities, mushrooms are being added to many types of products, including coffee powders, teas, protein powders, energy drinks, salad dressings, chocolate and granola bars, and other snacks. 

Avocado Oil Takeover

Move over EVOO, there’s a new trendy oil in town. Instead of olive oil, many cooks are reaching for avocado oil instead. It’s seen as one of the healthiest and best cooking oils for health, considering its relatively low omega-6 fatty acid levels and high amount of unsaturated “healthy” fats. 

Plus, avocado oil has a neutral flavor and high smoke point, making it suitable for many methods and styles of cooking.

Cottage Cheese Treats

Cottage cheese is sneaking into treats, and it’s not just an “older person’s food” anymore—younger generations can’t seem to get enough of it! The newly reinvented dairy product brings a healthier and higher-protein twist to traditional desserts, including “ice cream” and imitation cookie dough.

Date-Based Sweeteners

Speaking of desserts, dates are becoming a popular natural sweetener with many applications. Dates are seen as a better-for-you sweetener and are available in many forms, from date sugar to date syrup to date paste. 

Dates have become a popular ingredient in protein bars and energy balls, too. Additionally, chocolate-covered dates became the go-to, healthy treat of the year, with many claiming they taste like a bite of your favorite chocolate candy bar. 

Teeny Treats

The treat trends keep coming, and maybe less is more! Small treats have a large following, and thanks to their smaller size, they often cost less, too. 

In fact, “little treat culture” became a social media trend, especially since romanticizing the little things in life (including food choices) has become a focus for many in recent years. In other words, people are looking for the feel of luxury but not the cost, and little treats fit the bill. 

Ancient Grains Make a Comeback

According to trend predictions, ancient grains are making a comeback in a big way. Beyond being versatile, ancient grains are highly nutrient-rich and typically friendly for beginner cooks. 

Although there are many ancient grains, buckwheat has landed at the top of many lists, especially since it’s a gluten-free pantry staple. 

Elevated Classics

Social media has helped contribute to the trend of taking classic foods and elevating them, with popular accounts asking their chef friends to turn essential, approachable ingredients into a more impressive meal. Interestingly, instant ramen noodle sales are expected to soar in the coming year. 

Affordable and delicious, instant noodles may provide a good base for adding your own seasonings and extra vegetables to make them more “healthy.” Drinks aren’t getting left behind either, with retro flavors like cola and root beer available in prebiotic soda forms, which may be better for gut health than their regular soda counterparts. 

Foods for Mood 

Functional foods, emphasizing foods for mood and mental health enhancement, are also experiencing unprecedented interest. In particular, consumers and experts alike are looking for foodstuffs that promote a healthy gut-brain connection since gut health is linked with immune system function and mood. 

Substances for optimal cognitive performance are being explored, with ingredients like caffeine, ashwagandha, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and healthy fats receiving particular interest. 

New Health Trends: Beyond Diet and Food

Curious about what’s coming up in overall health? Studies suggest consumers are interested in being more health-conscious, and the trends are saying the same thing. 

Mental Health

Potentially mood-boosting foods aren’t the only category of mental health making waves. All things mental health are taking the forefront regarding health conversations. Telehealth is becoming especially popular and making professional help more accessible. 

Additionally, efforts to avoid burnout are receiving attention, with individuals striving to find the right balance of rest, relaxation, and energy-expending activities for them personally. 

Microbiome Health 

As mentioned above, gut health still garners much of the health industry’s interest. However, the gut microbiome (basically a unique environment that exists in the gut) isn’t the only one researchers and consumers are focusing on. 

In the coming year, health-conscious buyers will be looking for products that may balance their skin microbiome, too. Women will also be looking for items designed to balance their vaginal microbiome. 

Women’s Health 

Companies continue to emphasize women’s health and catering to the female population. Women are estimated to be at higher risk for nutrient deficiencies and are more prone to some diseases and disorders, like autoimmune diseases. 

You’ll likely see more female-specific multivitamins, supplements, gummies, protein powders, and other products targeted toward women and women’s issues—like PMS or breastfeeding—this year. 

Joint and Muscle Health 

With the fitness industry promoting activity at all ages, it’s no wonder trends are promoting more proactive approaches to safeguarding joints, muscles, and bones. Achy joints aren’t seen as just a sign of aging anymore, and companies are beginning to capitalize on the concerns of everyone from athletes and amateur gym-goers. 

You’ll likely start to see products and practices aimed at prevention this year, including optimized workouts, anti-inflammatory supplements, nutrition approaches, and stretches designed to reduce the risk of injury. 

Environmental Health 

Although it’s made the list of upcoming trends for several years, sustainability is here to stay. Studies suggest that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their role in contributing to waste—and want to do something about it. 

One particular area of focus for current consumers is water conservation and minimizing water waste. Regenerative foods and practices are also attracting interest from shoppers since these systems aim to stabilize soil health at the start of the growing process and human health at the end of the spectrum. 

Consumers continue to seek out companies with sustainability claims on the package, and are exhibiting a continued interest in upcycling for climate consciousness.

How to Stay Informed 

While social media can spark new ideas, it's essential to be wary of information you see on the internet until you understand its source. In general, it’s best to seek out research-backed, expert-guided information instead of taking an influencer’s word for it. 

If you listen to influencers for health recommendations, it’s essential to confirm that they have the proper training and knowledge to advise you according to best practices and the most current research. 

For nutrition advice, a registered dietitian is the leading authority and can be consulted for food and nutrition trends. Other health questions can be taken to your doctor, who can likely confirm, deny, or discuss the validity of a trend with you. 

In other words, don’t believe everything you see on the internet! It’s vital to weigh the risks and benefits of every trend against the current amount of evidence (and your common sense). Your healthcare team may be well-equipped to help you make sense of confusing crazes and surprising social media trends regarding your wellness. 

Nutrition & Health Trends: Final Thoughts

Trends can be exciting, but they aren’t always backed by evidence. With a lack of long-term follow-up on many emerging areas of wellness, it’s wise to proceed with caution. 

So instead of relying on influencers without the proper training for health advice, conduct your own research and consult your healthcare team with questions about a trend before you try it. 

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