The new year often brings an urge to hit reset and improve our health. As 2023 comes to an end, there is no shortage of new nutrition research and trends to inform our healthy eating goals for 2024. From trendy diets to foods linked to better health outcomes, here is a look at the top nutrition news stories over the past week and how they may shape a healthier 2024.
Intermittent Fasting Remains Hot While Keto Cools
Intermittent fasting continued strong popularity in 2023, while interest in the ketogenic diet declined over the year, according to Google search trends summarized in the Times of India. Proponents say intermittent fasting improves metabolism and blood sugar regulation among other benefits. The diet involves alternating intervals of fasting and eating, rather than chronically restricting calories.
Meanwhile, the high-fat low-carb ketogenic diet has waned in interest since its peak around 2018. Critics argue it is too restrictive for long term sustainability. Still, versions like “lazy keto” offer a more flexible take that focuses on low carb without tracking ketones or macros.
“It’s not about following a diet in the traditional sense, it’s more about changing your lifestyle to become healthier.” said one expert on popular 2023 diet trends. Lifestyle changes we can maintain appear more likely to support better health over fad diets we quickly abandon.
Emphasizing Nutrient Density, Not Just Calories
Several outlets published tips this week on improving our diets in 2024. A common theme: focusing on nutrient density in addition to calories.
For example, 100 calories of fries and 100 calories of broccoli clearly differ nutritionally despite equal calorie counts. Experts now advise focusing our diets on minimally processed, fiber & antioxidant-rich whole foods.
Targeting nutrients over calories alone better supports overall wellness, said UC Berkeley nutrition scientist Dr. Esther van der Werf:
“Instead of demonizing high-calorie ingredients like olive oil, avocado and nuts, she recommends embracing them because they also deliver nutrients.”
If a food provides useful nutrition, some extra calories may not be cause for concern.
Key Food Groups for Healthy Eating
Which foods should we emphasize for optimal nutrition in 2024? Here is a breakdown of expert diet tips over the past week:
Fruits and Vegetables: Rich sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidant plant compounds. Aim for variety and proper portions (at least 2 cups fruit + 2.5 cups vegetables daily).
Whole Grains: Swap refined grains for minimally processed whole grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa, and 100% whole wheat whenever possible. They provide heart healthy fiber missing from refined choices.
Plant-based Proteins: Beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh and edamame offer protein minus the saturated fat found in most meats. They also provide key nutrients including fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc.
Nuts and Seeds: Great snack options packed with healthy fats, plant protein, fiber and key micronutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and antioxidants. Select unsalted when possible.
Herbs, Spices and Vinegars: Boost flavor of healthy foods to make them more enjoyable! Compounds found in herbs, spices and ingredients like vinegar offer protective health effects as well.
Healthy Beverages: Stay hydrated with water, unsweetened coffee/tea, and moderate 100% juice intake. Limit or avoid sugary drinks which can negatively impact health despite “empty” liquid calories.
Seafood, Yogurt and Egg Nutrition Wins
In nutrition research last week, three foods were in the spotlight for health benefits: seafood, yogurt, and eggs.
- Seafood intake was linked to improved heart health and longevity in studies published this month. Experts say seafood provides protein along with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids often lacking in our diets.
- Yogurt and probiotics may protect women from breast cancer, found a major study covered by several outlets. Probiotics promote gut health and appear to support immunity. Yogurt provides probiotics along with bone-building calcium and protein.
- Eggs made headlines for their newly upgraded position in US Dietary Guidelines. The news follows weight loss trials finding egg breakfasts reduce hunger and promote weight loss compared to carb-heavy meals. Eggs provide high quality protein to keep you full and satisfied.
Sample Meal Plan for Balanced Nutrition
What might a day following the latest nutrition advice look like? Here is a sample meal plan with balanced macronutrients and incorporation of expert recommended food groups:
|Veggie omelet with 1 cup berries and Greek yogurt
|Burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, avocado, salsa and plain Greek yogurt
|Hummus, carrot and celery sticks, handful of unsalted almonds
|Broiled salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato
|Small square 70% dark chocolate and chamomile tea
This checks off whole grains, fruits/veggies, plant proteins, healthy fats and high quality animal proteins – all expert recommended food groups! Topped off with antioxidant-rich dark chocolate containing inflammation-fighting compounds.
2024 Calls For Lifestyle Changes, Not Just Dieting
While nutrition science continues advancing, experts agree lasting change requires adjusting habits long term rather than temporary dieting. As one Louisiana nutritionist noted recently, “It’s important that people don’t look at nutrition changes as a diet, rather, a lifestyle.”
Adopting new nutrition strategies for the long haul – like meal planning, batch cooking, or setting phone alerts – can make healthy eating easier to maintain. Supporting our physical health also requires cutting stress where possible, prioritizing sleep, and staying active according to research.
The Future is Personalized
In 2024, expect growing emphasis on personalized nutrition guidance instead of one-size-fits all diets. Our individual health conditions, lifestyle factors, medication use and more require tailored nutrition advice from practitioners, says Atlanta-based dietitian Tara Goss:
“There is no perfect one-size-fits-all approach. You have to find the patterns of eating that help you feel and function at your best.”
Nutrigenomics testing to inform personalized diet changes may also gain traction as costs come down. Genetic analysis helps determine sensitivities impacting what diets work best for a given individual.
Early research on the microbiome – the collection of bacteria in our gut – also shows promise in using our unique microbial signatures to custom tailor dietary changes for optimal health. We each host a diverse community of hundreds of bacterial species impacting weight, inflammation, immunity, and more based on how we eat and live.
“It’s an exciting time for nutritional therapies.” said Lisa Moskovitz, RD CEO of NY Nutrition Group. By better understanding individual differences, future diets can help prevent and in some cases reverse chronic disease.
Healthy Eating for All in 2024
With the new year ahead, experts agree lasting change is possible if we emphasize positivity over restriction. Nutrition professor Tina Miller suggests, “Make it about adding in, not taking away.”
Rather than cutting out foods you may end up craving, shift focus to crowding your diet with varied minimally processed whole foods full of protective compounds. Ancient grains, vibrant produce, plant proteins, probiotic foods and sustainable seafood can all help you feel nourished while achieving health goals long term. Support your local food economy when possible for maximum freshness.
Here’s to healthy, flavourful eating for all in 2024!
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.