Top Nutrition Trends for 2012

veggiesWant to know what to expect in the world of nutrition next year?  What’s in versus what’s out?

A survey of registered dietitians conducted by Pollock Communications, reveals the top five diet trends for the new year.

RDs continue to caution Americans about their intake of harmful nutrients including trans and saturated fats, sodium and added sugars.  RDs believe that trans fats pose the greatest health threats followed by excessive amounts of added sugars. Some 58% of RDs said saturated fat was the most health-damaging nutrient and just more than half believed that too much sodium was the worst health culprit.

When it comes to the most popular marketing and consumer nutrition trends, some 64% of the respondents said that coconut-containing products, like coconut water, coconut sugars, coconut oils, are the most over-hyped products that are unlikely to deliver. Other fads highlighted by the RDs included low-carbohydrate diets and dietary supplements.

1. Get Your Phytonutrients and Fiber!

Of the 204 responses, 96% of RDs emphasizes more antioxidants and phytonutrients in the diet, and 59% say consumers need more vitamins and minerals.  While most agree that consumers are already consuming enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, RDs say Americans are lacking sufficient amounts of fiber from whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

fresh_fruits_veggies2. Local is best.

Almost all RDs  (94%) agree that in the coming year there will be a bigger push for Americans to consume more fruits and vegetables.  Eating seasonal and locally-grown foods will continue to be important.  Not only is it smart nutritionally, it’s environmentally-sound.

3. Go low with trans and saturated fat, sugar and sodium!

The majority of RDs (78%) name trans fats as the most harmful nutrient in the diet, followed by added sugars (68%), saturated fat (58%) and sodium (52%).  In 2012, we will see a greater emphasis on reducing these harmful dietary hazards.

4. Make MyPlate Your Plate.

More than two-thirds of RDs are using MyPlate to counsel patients and it will continue to play a role in diet recommendations through 2012. MyPlate recommends half the plate consist of vegetables and fruit, with the other half made up mostly of whole grains and a small portion of lean protein.

5. Natural, less processed foods in demand.

Most RDs (72%) predict that consumers will continue to demand more local, organic, sustainable, fresh, minimally processed foods. With consumers returning to the table and cooking at home, they will become more aware of where their food is coming from and what it contains.  RDs also agree (46%) that simplifying the ingredient list, (39%) sodium reduction and (37%) eliminating high fructose corn syrup, will play key roles in dietary modifications in the coming year.  In addition, consumers will look to spice things up with exotic and ethnically diverse flavors and cuisines.


  1. Lisa says

    Do you think more dietitians are going to start recommending some sort of vegetarian/vegan diet? I seem to be hearing more and more hype about adopting a plant-based diet.

  2. Devyani says

    Although vegetarian diet could be self sufficient and complete, we should not forget that our ancestors were hunters. In spite of all the evolution that has taken place, our body remains geared for eating meat.

    I would say the combination diet is the way to go. In my opinion Vegan is strictly out of my “diet dictionary”.
    P.S I am vegetarian.

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