Dietitians Pinpoint Top 10 Superfoods, More


According to the sixth annual national survey of registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) by Pollock Communications and the publication Today’s Dietitian, fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, some pickle varieties, kimchi and miso dislodged seeds as the top superfood for 2018, signaling that in the coming year, shoppers will opt foods that boost gut health and overall well-being.

Rounding out the superfood top 10, the What’s Trending in Nutrition survey placed avocado in the No. 2 spot, followed by seeds, nuts, green tea, ancient grains, kale, exotic fruits, coconut products and salmon.

As for top eating trends, respondents chose clean-eating, plant-based and high-fat and -protein, extremely low-carb ketogenic regimes, while identifying low-fat, DASH and "Wheat Belly" diets as past their sell-by dates.

"The movement toward clean eating reflects a change in how consumers view food," observed Jenna A. Bell, SVP of Pollock Communications, a New York-based independent, full-service food, health and wellness public relations agency. "Consumers are searching for nutrition information and equating diet with overall well-being."

Noting the rising consumer interest in fermented foods, Bell pointed out that consumers have expanded their definition of wellness to encompass gut health and "are digging deeper for information about the food they eat and in this instance, finding out why yogurt, kefir or kimchi is so good for them."

The Best (and worst) Ways to Eat

Regarding top sources of nutrition misinformation, 78 percent of respondents said that celebrities and social media stars offered the worst advice, and 70 percent singled out Facebook as the main offender, followed by websites and blogs/vlogs

By contrast, when instructing shoppers how to eat, 79 percent of survey respondents use MyPlate as a guide, advising people to make small, gradual changes over time and focus on their overall eating pattern, rather than a single food or nutrient. With 81 percent feeling that technology is making it easier to make better food choices, it wasn’t surprising that 65 percent recommend clients use apps to track/plan food intake and activity.

The surveyed dietitians’ top recommendations for the new year were to limit highly processed foods, up fiber intake, maintain a food journal, and drink noncaloric beverages like unsweetened tea or coffee.

“The annual forecast from the What’s Trending in Nutrition national survey shows how consumers are driving change and leading the evolution of diet and nutrition trends,” said Pollock Communications President and founder Louise Pollock. “As they do each year, the unique perspective of RDNs provides media, retailers and food manufacturers a view into the minds of consumers that can help inform their business.”

A record-breaking 2,050 RDNs took part in this year’s survey.

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