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* Top 10 Food Trends


* Hunger in the Collegiate Population


* Preconception Nutrition Significance



The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has released the top food trends for 2018 gathered from a multitude of industry resources to come up with the following trends:


1. Instant Nutrition



Quick and easy ways to ensure a healthier lifestyle are in high demand, and highly fortified nutritionals, functional snacks, and naturally nutrient-dense munchies (eg, nuts) are getting the nod.


Two-thirds of adults (65%) looked for foods and beverages that had added vitamins/minerals last year. Sixty-three percent tried to add more fiber, and 60% sought more protein


2. Fit Consumers



There is a new demographic of active and fit consumers who incorporate exercise into their daily routine, and they are driving the $42 billion sports nutrition sector mainstream. In 2017, 45% of US adults described themselves as active. Perhaps ironically, those 65 years or older are most likely to do so, with 55% making that claim versus 38% of those aged 18 to 34 years.


3. Role Reversals



After decades on the "most wanted list" of nutritional villains, full-fat foods, including butter, are back in dietary vogue; fat-rich weight loss diets (eg, Keto and Paleo) are contributing to this trend.


4. Naturalization



The clean label and natural food movements have mainstreamed; 53% of consumers say the exclusion of undesirable ingredients is more important than the inclusion of beneficial ones. Half of all grocery shopping trips now include a clean-label food and/or drink.


5. Diet Watchers



Half of Americans are watching their diet: 65% of those 65 years or older versus 38% of those aged 18 to 34 years. One-third of adults older than 45 years tried to lose weight last year compared with 20% of those 35 years or younger. Sixty-nine percent, or 157 million US adults, are overweight; one-third, or 82 million, are obese. Just watching calories, practiced by 42%, remains the top diet/eating style. Twenty-eight percent of consumers tried to lose weight by dieting in 2017.


6. Taking Root



Consumers continue to experiment with plant-based meals, eating regimens, and meat/dairy alternatives. Thirty-nine percent of Americans are trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet


7. Conditionally Speaking



One in 5 grocery shoppers is trying to manage a health condition that affects his/her food choices. An on-pack endorsement by a health organization is important to more than half of consumers (55%). Three-quarters of adults look for foods that are good for their heart; 64% seek products to help lower their cholesterol, 37% of US adults have coronary vascular disease, and 34% have high blood pressure.


8. Uniquely Processed



More so than ever before, shoppers are making purchase decisions based on how the food was made and the extent, type, and effects of processing. Two-thirds of consumers overall look for claims that convey minimal processing.


9. Seeking Bioactives



Whereas 1 in 5 adults admits he/she does not think he/she gets enough of his/her basic vitamins/minerals, even more consumers-30% of Millennials and 24% of adults overall-feel they do not get enough special nutrients. After vitamins/minerals, specialty supplements are the most used dietary supplement, taken by 38% of adults, followed by herbals/botanicals, sports nutrition supplements, and weight management supplements.


10. Kids' Health



The market for products for babies, toddlers, and kids looks promising as Millennials continue to drive a new baby boom. The number of children aged 1 to 3 years is projected to grow 6.7% from 2015 to 2020; approximately 4 million babies are being born in the United States every year


Source: IFT



New findings have revealed the importance of considering obesity, alcohol intake, and nutrition during the preconceptional period, as these factors can have a serious impact on the overall well-being of a child later in life. The research, outlined in a series of 3 articles published in The Lancet, utilized existing evidence in addition to carrying out 2 analyses of women aged between 18 and 42 years in the United Kingdom and Australia. The study explored the definition of the "preconception period," as this usually refers to the 3 months leading up to conception. However, the team of researchers argued that this does not take into account the months or years it could take for individuals to reach ideal levels of health in preparation for conception.


Emerging evidence shows that preconception health of both the mother- and possibly the father-to-be- affects-especially their diet and weight-affects fertilization, embryo development, and even their child's risk of future cardiometabolic disease.


Although many people are aware of the dangers of smoking or drinking alcohol when trying to conceive, fewer people know about how their nutrition can affect their future offspring. Past studies also discovered that both parents' well-being affects their child's later health.


In the new analyses conducted during the study, the researchers assessed the nutrition of 509 women aged between 18 and 42 years, thus approximately of a reproductive age, as recorded by the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey.


Their findings concluded that 96% of the women have iron and folate dietary intakes that are less than ideal when preparing for pregnancy. With this in mind, the researchers believe that more must be done to increase awareness around preconception health, supporting the notion that schools should teach adolescents about what it takes to prepare for parenthood.


Source: Stephenson et al. Before the beginning: nutrition and lifestyle in the preconception period and its importance for future health. The Lancet, published online ahead of print April 16, 2018, doi:



An infrared thermal image of 2 mouse littermates following CRISPR-mediated genome editing of leptin signaling reveals surprises. Leptin, a fat hormone identified more than 20 years ago, acts in the brain to maintain body weight and blood glucose balance, preventing the development of both obesity and diabetes. Despite years of study, clinical treatment of metabolic diseases with leptin is still limited because of incomplete understanding of leptin's signaling in the brain. Neuroscientists at Tufts University School of Medicine exploited CRISPR technology and performed a series of experiments to map the neural circuitry of leptin in mice. Surprisingly, they found that genetic disruption of leptin receptors in the hypothalamic AgRP neurons-a group of neurons widely regarded as inessential for leptin's direct effects based on earlier research-caused severe obesity and diabetes in those mice (top) compared with their control littermates (bottom). This discovery suggests that AgRP neurons are in fact the primary target of leptin to regulate body weight and blood glucose in the brain. The research also revealed distinct complex mechanisms underlying leptin's regulation of AgRP neurons, by promoting presynaptic [gamma]-aminobutyric acid release and by opening postsynaptic ATP-sensitive potassium channels. The research, published in the journal Nature on April 18, 2018, online in advance of print, will support future work to develop therapies for obesity and diabetes.


Source: Xu et al. Genetic identification of leptin neural circuits in energy and glucose homeostases. Nature. 2018;556(7702):505-509.



Falls are the leading cause of injury-related morbidity and mortality among older adults in the United States. In 2014, 28.7% of community-dwelling adults 65 years or older reported falling, resulting in 29 million falls (37.5% of which needed medical treatment or restricted activity for a day or longer) and an estimated 33 000 deaths in 2015. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed the evidence on the effectiveness and harms of primary care-relevant interventions to prevent falls and fall-related morbidity and mortality in community-dwelling older adults 65 years or older who were not known to have osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency. They found adequate evidence that exercise interventions have a moderate benefit in preventing falls in older adults at increased risk of falls and that multifactorial interventions have a small benefit. They also found adequate evidence that vitamin D supplementation has no benefit in preventing falls in older adults, and other multifactorial interventions benefits are no greater than small. The USPSTF recommends that clinicians selectively offer multifactorial interventions to prevent falls in community-dwelling adults 65 years or older who are at increased risk of falls. Existing evidence indicates that the overall net benefit of routinely offering multifactorial interventions to prevent falls is small. When determining whether this service is appropriate for an individual, patients and clinicians should consider the balance of benefits and harms based on the circumstances of prior falls, presence of comorbid medical conditions, and the patient's values and preferences. (C recommendation). The USPSTF recommends against vitamin D supplementation to prevent falls in community-dwelling adults 65 years or older. These recommendations apply to community-dwelling adults who are not known to have osteoporosis or vitamin D deficiency. (Editor's note: this does not mean that vitamin D may not be useful for other aspects of bone health.)


Source: Comparisons of interventions for preventing falls in older adults. US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA, published online ahead of print April 17, 2018, doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.3097.