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Dec 12

10 Surprising Nutritional Trends by Kirsten Whittaker

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The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has just released results of a new nationwide public opinion survey that lookt at nutritional trends in the US, called Nutrition and You: Trends 2008 that lends hope to the idea that Americans might be getting the message about eating, and living, a more healthy lifestyle.

The survey, conducted by Mintel International for ADA, involved 783 U.S. adults and results were presented at the ADA’s annual meeting, held this year in Chicago.

The main findings include:

– We’re eating more whole grains, veggies and fruits overall.

– We’re eating less trans fat, beef, pork and dairy.

– We’ve got a better attitude toward diet and exercise.

Those who took part in the survey listed five foods or nutrients that they’ve increased during the last five years.

The survey found that:

– 56% are eating more whole grains

– 50% are eating more vegetables

– 48% are eating more fruit

– 48% are eating more low-fat foods

– 38% have added omega-3 fatty acids

Better yet, according to the survey, we’re cutting out some foods that might taste great in the moment, but are truly bad for our bodies. These include:

– Trans fat: 56% say they’ve cut back

– Beef: 41% say they’re eating less

– Pork: 33% report eating less

– Dairy: 23% say they’ve cut back

– Low-sugar foods: 20% say they’ve cut back

Experts caution against eliminating any single type of food from a healthy, balanced diet.

Dairy, for example, contains important nutrients like vitamin D, that though easy enough to get (10 – 30 minutes of sunshine is all it takes), a surprising number of American’s are turning up in doctor’s offices with deficiencies of this vital nutrient.

Low fat choices like skim milk, low fat cheeses and yogurt are all healthy dairy foods that you won’t want to eliminate from your diet.

Lean meats, especially meats like pork tenderloins, can provide vital nutrients without the bad fats you’re trying to avoid.

When it comes to meats, look for cuts with all visible fat removed, and limit your portion sizes to 3 to 4 ounces.

The public opinion survey, conducted over the phone, also pointed out a more positive attitude toward being healthy and what has to be done to get there that’s slowly but surely taking hold.

Participants were offered three options when it came to rating their healthy lifestyle choices, here’s how things broke down…

I’m already doing it: 43% (up from 38% in 2002)

I know I should: 38% (up from 30% in 2002)

Don’t bother me: 19% (down from 32% in 2002)

Progress to be sure… but leaving a good number of participants who could be doing more to stay healthy.

Of course those of us who don’t eat well or exercise have lots of reasons.

These were reflected in the ADA survey and include:

– 79% say they’re satisfied with the way they eat.

– 73% say they don’t want to give up the foods they like.

– 54% say it takes too much time to keep track of their diet.

– 52% say they need more practical tips for healthy eating.

– 41% say they don’t know or understand diet and nutrition guidelines.

The positive results of this latest ADA survey is certainly good news, notes ADA spokeswoman Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD, the presenter of he survey results at the ADA’s annual meeting. “It was encouraging to see those findings,” Gazzaniga-Moloo says.

So, this encouraging view of the nutritional trends goes to show that the message is getting through and the more we all talk about our health and wellbeing, the more people change their ways for the better.

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