Hot and Cold

Obesity, Nutrition, and Health in 2018: What’s Hot, What’s Not

Let’s face it. We might be better off ignoring 80 percent of the reporting on obesity, nutrition, and health. Especially in nutrition, what’s hot one year turns cold the next. And the hot headlines often don’t match the facts.

With that said here’s a brief, subjective rundown of some hot and cold subjects for the coming year.

1. Health Outcomes Hot / Weight Loss Not

Weight loss miracles are not so hot anymore. It’s not that people don’t wish for dropping a few pounds or maybe even quite a few. But skepticism about weight loss miracles is at an all time high. As we’ve explained before, diets are simply not appealing to people as they once did. The appeal of healthy has grown.

WeightWatchers has transformed itself from a diet brand into a healthy lifestyle brand. New indications for better heart health and survival outcomes are driving impressive growth of Jardiance (empagliflozin) and Victoza (liraglutide) for type 2 diabetes. Dramatic weight loss was not enough to propel widespread acceptance of bariatric surgery. But data on health outcomes are driving an increasingly favorable view of these procedures.

And finally, this might be the year that we have data on major health outcomes for an obesity drug treatment. The CAMELLIA-TIMI 61 study of Belviq (lorcaserin) will be complete in 2018. Without a doubt, a positive outcome would bring major changes in obesity care.

2. Healthy Fats Hot / Added Sugar Not

Though nutrition nerds will continue to debate exactly what is and is not a healthy fat, one thing is sure. Healthy fats will remain on the hot list for 2018. Added sugars will be sitting deeper and deeper in time out. The updated Nutrition Facts panel calls out added sugar. So food manufacturers are scurrying to flush added sugars out of their products. For consumer appeal, fats are taking their place.

3. Low FODMAP Hot / Gluten-Free Not

For some time now, people would race to buy just about anything labeled gluten-free. Such claims are hardly dead, but they’re not as irrationally hot as they once were. Instead, many people who thought they had issues with gluten are now thinking that FODMAPs might be the problem. Low FODMAP diets, regardless of a thin evidence base, are looking like a hot ticket this year.

4. Soups and Bowls Hot / Juicing and Detox Not

Juicers and other accoutrements for detox and cleansing diets are starting to gather dust.  Frankly, we’re happy to see the infatuation with juicing and smoothies fade. But the detox and cleansing fad was worse. People who shilled for that one should take a hard look in the mirror.

On the other hand, it’s hard to find anything to hate about the rise of soups and bowls. Just one caveat, though. Watch the portion sizes and calorie counts. These foods have enough nutrition that you don’t need a whopping serving.

5. Self-Care Hot / Deprivation Not

Did we mention our dislike for diets and diet books? Equating healthy nutrition with deprivation is a bad idea, so we’re glad that the market for these ideas is not as hot as it once was. On the other hand, we see potential in the growing embrace of self-care. Since millennials are latching onto it, this trend may have sturdy legs. If more attention to healthy sleep is part of it, we’re in favor.

Enough. Your inbox will soon be filling up with health trends. Our best advice is to take them all with a grain of salt. Enjoy a healthy and prosperous year in 2018.

Hot and Cold, photograph © Mt. Hood Territory / flickr

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January 1, 2018