Report: Americans opting for balanced eating over dieting

ROSEMONT, Ill. According to an NPD Group report issued Monday, the latest fad in dieting may be not to diet at all, but to eat a more healthy diet in the first place.

NPD reported that the percentage of adults on a diet has decreased by 10 percentage points since 1990, while the percentage of Americans eating healthier has increased.

“While dieting for both women and men remain huge markets, they are not growing markets,” stated Harry Balzer, vice president, The NPD Group, and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The desire to lose weight really was a 90’s trend. Today consumers appear to be making healthier food choices.”

NPD’s National Eating Trends data finds that at least once in a two-week period, more than 70 percent of Americans are consuming reduced fat foods, and over half of them are eating reduced calorie, whole grain or fortified foods. In addition to these foods, other “better for you” foods consumed include diet, light, reduced cholesterol, reduced sodium, caffeine free, sugar free, fortified, organic, and low carb varieties. The average American, according to National Eating Trends, has at least two “better for you” products a day.

More consumers are looking to add whole grains, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and probiotics, according to the NPD Dieting Monitor, which examines top-of-mind dieting and nutrition-related issues facing consumers. Awareness of these nutritional food elements continues to grow. For example, in 2005, 36 percent of consumers surveyed said they were trying to get more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets, and the most recent NPD Dieting Monitor shows that number increasing to 46 percent.

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