Dairy industry perspective: Top 10 nutrition trends

by Keith Nunes
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1) Obesity focus shifts from seeking blame to seeking solutions. Consumers are looking for answers and ideas to help them deal with obesity and/or related issues such as diabetes and hypertension. Solutions include better nutrition education, more information on labels, portion control, ingredient changes and restrictions on marketing and advertising.

2) Updated dietary guidelines and food guidance system renew the spotlight on health and nutrition. The revised food pyramid offers 12 different options as a guide for consumers who want to manage their diet.

3) The health benefits of dairy will continue to multiply. Educating consumers on the benefits of value-added products and new research will improve health and/or prevent or minimize a number of dietary-related disorders.

4) Calcium studies for bone health. Studies confirm the long-term benefit of calcium intake on bone mass and prevention of osteoporosis through diet and activity.

5) Individualization concept is garnering momentum, but some groups are still skeptical of its feasibility. The concept of food choices and nutrition recommendations based on an individual’s needs and lifestyle is building momentum.

6) Sweetened beverage consumption may be a target for obesity prevention efforts. Sweetened beverage consumption has increased 135% in the past 25 years; milk consumption decreased 38% during the same time.

7) Early diet, lifestyle recognized as strong predictors of future health. New studies are proving that not only does a lifetime of habits impact your health but you are what your mother ate, too.

8) Functional foods movement maintains momentum. Functional foods are now categorized by the health benefits they deliver (gut/digestive, heart and cardiovascular, and immune function).

9) The popularity of low-carb diets has peaked. However, carbohydrates remain a major consumer nutrition concern.

10) Food safety concerns continue to keep the industry watchful. Consumers and government agencies are still concerned about the safety of the food supply.

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