Rethinking Your Nutrition

By Tim Rigby (copyright IFM Media)

For some of our readers who focus predominantly on training (at the expense of nutrition), this special annual issue often serves as a sort of “did you know?” encyclopedia.  There’s clearly a lot more to nutrition than even intermediate and advanced level fitness athletes know (or keep up-to-date with), and so every page of this issue provides an abundance of important takeaways. In order to keep up with the current times, let’s take a look at some of the interesting emerging trends in nutrition…  of which you probably didn’t know.

Sustainability.  Food and drink consumers are much more discerning these days, and it’s not just because of the composition of the things they consume.  The principle of sustainability refers to manufacturing food products to satisfy the demands of the current population, without causing environment damage that would compromise the ability of future generations to provide for their needs.  Whereas in previous times, such a concept was largely ignored, it’s now influencing consumer decisions when choosing brands.  One current estimate is that 62 percent of consumers want accountable sustainability from their food and drink producers.

Digestive Wellness.  This continually evolving trend is based on the phenomenon that with each new generation, there’s evidence of an increase in gastrointestinal dysfunction.  To that end, food manufacturers now give greater consideration to the side effects of consuming their products.  One example is the emerging trend of plant-based alternatives to dairy.  Another is the development and addition of probiotics to many more foods than just yogurt.  Foods that can help with reducing bloating and gas also fall within this trend, in addition to more serious gastrointestinal complications.  Food producers are well aware of such consumer needs, so it’s likely this trend will continue to expand.

Naturally Functional.  This continuing trend has very positive implications when it comes to health, for it involves the role of nutrition as a natural augmentation to one’s state of health.  To help get a better appreciation of this concept, one need only think of the terms “food as medicine”, “superfoods”, and “proactive health”.  The foundation for these lies in there being additional health benefits to foods that reach beyond the immediate functions of fulfilling satiety and delivering calories.  A clear example of this is oranges, which are of course known for containing a lot of vitamin C, but their health benefits don’t stop here, since they also contain quercetin and fibre.  To those who actually eat the rind of the orange, there are even more benefits.  Hundreds of other foods also act in this way, though nutrition science is really only scratching the surface regarding how great-tasting foods can do wondrous things for our bodies.

The Meat Renaissance.  We’ve reached a period in society where it’s important to consider that the evolution of mankind was overwhelmingly predicated on consuming animal meat.  Unto itself, meat is not unhealthy.  It’s the way we’ve over processed it with sodium and other preservatives, plus freezing and re-freezing it over and over, that has severely detracted from the health benefits of meat.  The emerging plant-based trend has a lot of merit as “meatless” foods are growingly more popular, however, it cannot be denied that meats such as lean steak, beef, turkey and chicken all have high contents of protein, zinc, iron and vitamin B12.  Furthermore, the form of amino acids from meat protein is also significantly superior to plant-based protein in terms of bioavailability and absorption.  Provided the meat is lean, unprocessed and natural, it can lay argument to being the most powerful and healthy food we consume.

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