According to my daughter, the top tchotchke prize I brought home from this year’s American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) annual conference was the DelMonte MyPlate plate! Her judgment didn’t surprise me, but several of the newest nutrition trends were surprising. Below are five new nutrition trends I saw at ADA’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo(FNCE) which concluded Tuesday:
The protein-packed power breakfast – Research from scientists including Don Layman and Douglas Paddon-Jones appears to indicate that front-loading higher-protein meals earlier in the day – instead of the typical American eating pattern of higher protein at dinner – has several benefits. Dr. Layman has found that a whopping 30 grams of protein at breakfast (and 30 grams at lunch) is needed to generate muscle synthesis, helping to prevent muscle wasting later in life. Dr. Paddon-Jones has indicated that 30 grams of protein at a meal has benefits of muscle maintenance and other research he found benefits of weight management and disease prevention. “Beef for Breakfast” education materials on these benefits also included recipes for Beefy Sweet Potato Hash and Beef Breakfast Burrito. The egg folks suggested a 3-egg (1 whole egg and 2 whites) omelet for breakfast.
Stealth health for adults – While dietitians continue to debate the value vegetable deception for kids (the concept of serving spinach only when mixed into cupcakes, etcetera,) the hidden veggie concept appears to have caught on with product innovators of adult health food. I sampled a delicious squash custard dessert from Garden Lites. Vita-Mixer served up veggie mocktails and demonstrated how an elixir of purred vegetables could be slipped into almost anything from smoothies to cake. Peter Rabbit Organics has pureed organic fruit in squeezable, no-spill pouches with anti-choke caps; but with flavors like Mango, Banana and Orange (and adult-sized price tags) I see adults grabbing an on-the-go “fruit” that’s no-peel, no-spill-down-the-front-of-your-dress/tie fruit for themselves.
Get your (Probiotic) Shots – Autumn is the season that every corner drugstore reminds us to get our flu shot. At FNCE, it seemed every corner of the exhibit hall was offering me a probiotic shot. Previously, probiotics were found mainly in nutrient-rich yogurt or in a pill. And it was never hard for me to recommend the yogurt vehicle for gut-boosting ‘good’ bacteria. But this year, I saw some respectable “shot” products with promising back-up research. Bio-K+ with 50 billion bacteria per bottle is available in cultured dairy (but not yogurt cultured,) fermented soy, and fermented rice. Good Belly Big Shots also contain 50 billion bacteria and is available in a delicious fruit juice or in a lower-calorie oat beverage based shot.
Gluten-free goes whole grain – The gluten-free section of the FNCE exhibits has always been the same: Samples of cookies, white breads and donuts that that always tasted the same: Dry and blah! Enter 2011; this year new gluten-free products have exploded onto the market place. Whole grain crackers made of rice and seeds were flavorful and satisfying. Bob’s Red Mill has always offered a variety of delicious gluten-free products, but this year they had even more, including ancient whole grains like teff and amarayth; they also had helpful new education materials on eating gluten-free. Lundberg Rice’s top-quality bags of rice are not new, but a few of their rice products (flavored rice cakes and crackers) are new and their larger nationwide distribution is good new news.
Low-cal beverages without artificial stuff – Artificial sweeteners abound at FNCE. But this year, there was a new twist. Several weren’t artificial and many weren’t no-cal. Coconut water has recently made a splash on the beverage scene for being a weight-loss gimmick. But at FNCE, I saw it making new waves as a 100% natural juice (or milk-beverage,) however, with significantly fewer calories than other real juices. CasCal is a newly launched beverage by Coca-Cola. We took a bottle of it on a recent picnic; after tasting, my kids and husband all responded, “Ewww, Mom, you can have it!” But I like it. And I believe I’m the demographic to which it’s targeted. At FNCE, I receive a thoughtful new education brochure on pairing this “fermented soda” with foods to enjoy nuanced flavors like cherry and chocolate in the CasCal Ripe Rouge. With only 60 calories per 11 oz bottle, it contains about half the calories of regular soda without anything “artificial.” And there was one new calorie-free sweetener: Monk Fruit. There was very little info available on this new green globe fruit, but it does appear promising.
Have you seen other FNCE summary reports? Despite the lack of spoiler-alerts, I have made a conscience effort to avoid other reports in order to be completely unbiased in my reporting!