5 Interesting Things Happening In Nutrition Right Now

Originally, I tried to squeeze my top 10 FNCE highlights into one post, but I quickly realized that each point deserved it’s own spotlight, and a rambling list just wasn’t going to cut the mustard. So, here I am writing part two of my FNCE recap. I’d like to say that I’ve saved the best for last, but truthfully, it’s hard to untangle so many fun, interesting and enriching moments. 

Hass avocado margarita. 

6. Avocados are the best, and the serving size just got BIGGER!

I’ve been on the avocado-advocacy train for a while now, but my love for avos blossomed at the Hass Avocado event at FNCE! We enjoyed avocado margaritas, sliders, and crostini, and learned how to make ultra-trendy avocado roses with the lovely Carlene Thomas. Good news avocado lovers: The FDA just increased serving size of avocados from ⅕ of a medium avocado to ⅓ because of their healthful properties. Avocados provide almost 20 nutrients and are a rich source of healthy fats, fiber, folate, vitamin K, potassium, and carotenoids.


7. Plant-based may help shrink your waist.

Plant-based eating is one of the trendiest topics in nutrition thanks to a slew of new research on the benefits of going 'plant-strong'. Eating an increasingly plant-based diet has been shown to reduce body mass index, and type II diabetes risk. [1,2]. These perks persist without restricting intake. This means that people on plant-based diet naturally eat fewer Calories. Plant-based eating also appears to be protective against some forms of cancer , although the results are less clear cut [3].


8. There’s no one-size-fits-all for carbohydrate recommendations.

Carbohydrate intake is one of the most polarizing topics in nutrition. Some people swear by low-carb, while others can’t live without pasta, starchy veggies, fruit, and the occasional dessert (that’s me). Emerging evidence suggests that ketogenic diet (<50g carbs/d) may be helpful for weight loss, type II diabetes risk, polycystic ovarian syndrome, triglycerides and other inflammatory markers when compared to a low-fat diet. This data however is still preliminary, and unclear if everyone enjoys these benefits, or just those who are carb sensitive.

Carbohydrate remains an important fuel for exercise under 3 hours. Whole grain carbs are also a rich source of fiber, and assist with satiety and digestive health for many. Carb needs most likely vary from person to person, influenced by factors such as genetics, weight, age, activity level, sleep, stress levels and more! 


9. Nutrition by your genes coming soon.

Nutrigenomics-- the interaction between nutrition, and genes-- has been on my radar since I first heard about it in 2012, and I have been craving more ever since! Some cool progress is being made in this field, and Aussie dietitians are on to it.

At FNCE, I learned how nutrigenomics expert and fellow Accredited Practising Dietitian, Flavia Fayet-Moore, is integrating nutrigenomics into her practice. Specifically, she discussed specific genotypes that impact vitamin D, caffeine, vitamin B12, iron and protein metabolism, and how to adjust diet accordingly. Fascinating stuff! Nutrition by your genes is one of my favorite topics, and something you can expect to see more of on this blog!


10. Probiotics, pea protein, ice-cream alternatives, and fiber-filled everything coming to a supermarket near you.

I spent half a day booth-hopping, sampling, and learning about new food products. Probiotics, and probiotic-containing products like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are hotter than ever (see why here). Probiotics are being added to juices, protein powders, ice-cream and a variety of other weird and wonderful foods. The most unique probiotic product I tried was a beet-pickle juice shot. It reminded me a lot of apple-cider vinegar.

I also tried a million and one bars containing pea protein, and 10g+ fiber. With so much fiber in a small bar, some of these made my tummy grumpy. You can definitely have too much of a good thing! 

Other notable mentions include: frozen dessert with added fiber and probiotics, crispy chickpea/ bean snacks, water infused with tea flavorings, and reimagined whole grain products.

Ayala Herbal Water.

That completes my FNCE recap. Every minute of every day was accounted for, but I am already looking forward to FNCE 2017 in Chicago! This week I’m in Sydney spending time with the fam, and getting some much needed R & R. Have a great week! 

[1] Vegetarian Diets and Weight Reduction: a Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Huang RY, Huang CC, Hu FB, Chavarro JE. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 Jan;31(1):109-16. doi: 10.1007/s11606-015-3390-7. Review.

[2] Type of vegetarian diet, body weight, and prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Tonstad S, Butler T, Yan R, Fraser GE. Diabetes Care. 2009 May;32(5):791-6. doi: 10.2337/dc08-1886. Epub 2009 Apr 7.

[3] Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Dinu M, Abbate R, Gensini GF, Casini A, Sofi F. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Feb 6:0. [Epub ahead of print]