Special Report

16 Ways American Diet Has Changed Over the Last Year

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The Keto diet

The ketogenic diet, a high-fat and very low-carb diet, was developed long before 2019 but became really popular last year, said Liat Nadler, clinical nutritionist at Just Eat Well in Portland, Oregon. As is the case with every diet, the keto diet has its pros and cons. The diet’s health benefits, such as contributing to low blood sugar levels in diabetics, faster weight loss, and low cholesterol levels, have so far only been proven to be temporary. Due to the highly restrictive nature of the diet, it is recommended dieters do it with a professional to make sure they’re getting all nutrients, Nadler noted. “It’s not really sustainable in the long-term.”

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Locally-grown foods

Whether it’s for health or environmental reasons, people demand fresh, local food. “There is a farmer’s market somewhere [in Santa Barbara] every day,” said Laurie Counihan-Childs, a holistic health practitioner with a focus in nutrition. Farmers’ markets bring fresh and local food to shoppers, reducing the amount of waste and pollution created by long distance food delivery. More than 8,200 farmers’ markets are currently listed on the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, an increase of 76% since 2008.

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Intermittent fasting

Time-restricted eating has really been growing in popularity in 2019. The diet involves fasting for 16 hours a day and eating within an eight-hour window. Another version of the diet is having five feast days and two days with restricted calorie intake. Strategy and structure are two benefits of this kind of diet, Nadler explained. You have an eating schedule, which is especially beneficial for people who tend to snack all day, she noted. “But some people binge when it’s time to eat because they have been starving for many hours,” Nadler said. “For many, intermittent fasting increases LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. I’ve seen it many times in my practice,” she added.

Celery juice

The latest vegetable to enter the juicing craze is celery. It has been popularized by Anthony William, who is not a doctor or any licensed health care professional, in his Medical Medium blog. The idea is to drink 16 oz. a day of celery juice because, William claims, it can heal or at least alleviate chronic illness or symptoms. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim, but that doesn’t stop people from buying celery and juicing it. There is some indication celery sales have increased recently.

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Demand for plant-based meat substitutes has grown considerably in recent years, and 2019 was no exception. Those who follow a vegan diet often do it for health, animal rights, and climate change reasons. In 2019, retail sales of plant-based foods have increased by 11% in the U.S. alone compared to 2018, making it a $4.5 billion industry, according to a report by the Plant-Based Food Association. Plant-based burgers are becoming available in supermarkets, and Blue Apron has recently introduced Beyond Meat into its home meal kits.

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