NEW YORK — A survey of registered dietitians released by Pollock Communications Wednesday identified a "diet trifecta" of vitamins, minerals and fibers as the No. 2 nutrition trend that will play out in 2012.
As many as 96% of RDs surveyed emphasized more antioxidants and phytonutrients in the diet as part of their recommendations to consumers. And many (59%) said consumers need more vitamins and minerals. While most agreed that consumers are already consuming enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, RDs said Americans are lacking sufficient amounts of fiber from whole grains and fruits and vegetables.
"As RDs, we are at the forefront of nutrition issues, consumers' perceptions, and diet and lifestyle behaviors," stated RD Julie Upton. "It's our goal to help provide our expertise to debunk the common myths and misperceptions and provide our insights with consumers and food and beverage manufacturers."
The Pollock survey fielded responses from more than 200 registered dietitians. The other trends were:
Unprocessed, natural foods will be the biggest consumer nutrition trend in 2012. Most RDs (72%) predicted 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 agreed that simplifying the ingredient list (46%), sodium reduction (39%) and eliminating high-fructose corn syrup (37%) 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;
Almost all RDs (94%) agreed that in the coming year there will be a bigger push for Americans to consume more fruits and vegetables. Eating seasonal and local plant-based foods that are organically grown will be a big trend in the coming year, as well;
The majority of RDs (78%) named trans fats as the most harmful nutrient in the diet, followed by added sugars (68%), saturated fat (58%) and sodium (52%); and
Many (69%) RDs are using MyPlate to counsel patients, and it will continue to play a role in diet recommendations through 2012. MyPlate recommends that half of the plate consist of vegetables and fruit, with the other half made up mostly of whole grains and a small portion of lean protein.