The keto, paleo and other high protein / low carb diets are hitting a lot of success right now because they work to help lose weight -- and because the recent release of the sugar's industry's biased research against high fat, so "low fat" is beginning to lose fashion in the diet and nutrition industry. New diets are always being introduced to the market, and often follow similar trends. Social media and mass media are both supporting the high protein / low carb trends, so these diets will continue to proliferate for the foreseeable future.
Non-GMO is a whole different issue. That represents a backlash against lab-produced genetically modified seeds produced primarily by Monsanto and a move to go "more natural" by many consumers. Many mass retailers and grocery stores are going more organic and natural and seeking Verified non-GMO, which has a higher hurdle to be able to use that specific logo. Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods will likely accelerate the growth of such healthier foods as well.
You can also see similar trends by Nestle selling their candy division and acquiring supplement manufacturers, Coca Cola and Pepsi moving into more "healthy drinks" and becoming less reliant on their high sugar sodas. The food world is trending towards "healthy" and "natural" even though those definitions are poorly defined by retailers and consumers.
Hi Mark, thank you for your well thought out and helpful information. I can agree to how the market is moving toward more "healthy" alternatives despite no standard definition.
The non GMO movement is definitely a controversial one as the science and research can be spotty.
When it comes to these trendy diets, I do understand that they allow people to lose weight. I sometimes wonder how sustainable long term these diets can be. Some of them remove certain foods and nutrients from the diet that most dietitians agree are important- low fat dairy and whole grains for example. People may lose weight, but at what cost?
People tend to beleive what they hear and see. There are lots of wild claims being made. People need to look at the source and make sure it is reliable. Then you have to decide what is reliable. People need to find a source they trust and are confident in and use that source plus their own research to judge these claims. The real question is will people bother doing it.? I allow my 30,000 plus followers to ask me questions whenever they want and hopefully more experts will do they same. For now as I said before, we can use social media to help debunk false claims.
So many are looking for the "magic" bullet so to speak, especially when it comes to weight loss. Hence, the latest, wildest topic and trend always seems to draw strong media attention and spreads like wild fire in social media. However, science still prevails and those of us in the field (like Keith Kantor said), we need to continue debunking all of the false claims.
Great question and let me voice my opinion without touching on any of the aforementioned diets, products and nutritional labeling as its relatively generic to the true question at heart:
...Why is it that people believe so strongly about these topics when they are so wild?
I'm sure this drive is also influenced by our psychological makeup, our needs & wants as competitive humans but that'll be topic for a qualified psychologist, sociologist or the kind. I like to tackle the jest of it, what I firmly believe are the underlying forces involved here...
From the market (manufacturer down to the product retailer) standpoint: Sales, Sales & Sales! The bottom line, free enterprise, trade competition, ect. using every resource from creative imagination, R&D, surveys, statistics, polling and whatever it takes to create the concept & design to be masterfully engineered into a product that'll be marketed, merchandised sold by every available means and tools noninclusive of endorsements, star power, eye catching package design, product labeling, nutritional data, certifications and more up to and including-Product Branding whether it proprietary, patented, or reputation through salesmanship that pitch beneficial values, quantified and qualified components, linked product support, product backing and guarantees and even claims to get the consumers attention, trust and confidence in purchasing that product. Its the marketplace competing for the consumer dollar for sales & profits.
From the consumer standpoint
(note on today's consumer: as we live in an information driven time thats technologically oriented and user friendly, we have multitudes of platforms in daily living that connect our lifestyles with others and the world around us socially through the ease of sharing, linking to, following, reviewing & liking, ect. whatever of our personal preferences we choose. All of us have made today's consumer more informed, better equipped to readily engage product, maker and customers)
With a greater visibility on products, the consumers has a greater sense of products they may desire. Available also are endless blogs, forums , reviews on the trending products. So what does all of this resourcing wealth enable us? It enables us to feel empowered to make the best decision in our personal interest. As many look for the best, they may begin to look for that cutting edge, unique product that will give one a personal performance advantage. While many of the products have exaggerated claims, but nonetheless, many claim are founded in truth and it easy to read too much into the claim. Its has long been the consumer looking tor the shortcut, best route, winning edge, fastest result, the least expensive, the biggest yield. So today's consumer craze over the hottest trending specialty products with colorful branding aspects are merely a sign of the modern day shopping times. The trending headliners are
about health, nutritional foods, popular fads, ect. and products simply cater to the trend.
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses! It is comforting to know that others see the problems that these diets can create in people's belief concepts. My question would be is debunking these myths enough? Should we think of ways to stop these wild and possibly detrimental diets from becoming popular?
The best way to stop these wild and possibly detrimental diets from becoming popular is to continue to drive home the premise that "diets don't work." If we emphasize that eating healthy, whole foods at every meal and that people need to get in the habit of including vegetables at every meal, they will quickly notice a difference in how they look and feel. In other words, let the healthy, whole foods do the convincing.
(first a disclaimer, I do not partake in any diets or specific nutritional food regimes- I am neither opposed to them nor in agreement with....what I do oppose is to attack or support something without entirely knowing the depth of the subject and all points of view considered and then making an educated, well-founding judgement statement- then again we're all entitled to an off the hip opinion.)
Remember not to take these diet trends at face value and by that I mean, these are diets meaning a lifestyle of nutrition versus diet as in losing weight. Stay with me, while many of these diet trends may be off the wall & useless, many yet are highly specialized diet when utilized property for the intended usage of, by the audience of, will have the intended result of...
Just like highly specialized tools or products that may seem unnecessary or redundant to the layman, only the specialist needing such a product can appreciate its use.
Lets take the Paleo 'Diet' under observation for example and again this is only to just have all points considered because you have gym nuts out there who go to the gym every day and then you have the guy who could care less about going to the gym and thinks it a waste of time. So the Paleo Diet, for example, is applicable to the customer intended. Without going into the details, this diet is a lifestyle meaning that this is not for everyone and if someone who has no clue of the purpose of the diet, what the diet entails, the expected result and a insight of both knowledge and passion of the diet will be disillusioned by the whole 'Paleo craze'. Granted many of those on this diet don't have a clue either, it is something you do like drink double tall espresso whips at Starbucks or go to the gym at 6 pm when its pack to the wall because its what 'you' do.
Again, just as an example, not applicable to all 'diets' and trends but lets deconstruct the Paleo Diet.
Joe Public: What a waste of time this Paleo Diet, it did me no good...
Paleo disciple: I did need this as I have a saturated fat/unsaturated fat problem/imbalance and I find consuming food organic (not organic like the trend but natural, chemical free organic but as in original, core foods-not created) to the earth like plants, seeds, meats, ect. help me balance out my fats issue because many diets either cut one out or put one in.
Joe Public: What a poor nutritional diet, this Paleo Diet, it deprives you of needed cereals and grains that are healthy-look at me, I have excellent physical readings.
Paleo disciple: Well I have certain digestive disorders and many of the grains especially the cereals and some beans are taxing on my digestive system prompting other health concerns. I do eat seeds and nuts but without added oils and am finding that I keep my nutritional values in place by eating a variety of wholesome vegetables as well as fish & some meats.
Joe Public: I enjoy pizzas, pastas, and some old fashioned comfort foods but it is all in moderation. Why can't the Paleo Diet people understand this. They are extreme nuts.
Paleo disciple: I do too but I didn't eat in moderation like you and if I did I am finding out that with my simpler, basic diet yet plentiful, that my body digestive system, circulatory system and body cellular health is improving as I am not complicating my health or confusing myself with the correct menu mix-what to cook everyday- from the tens of thousands of food products. My Paleo Diets drives its own course-the menu selection in itself is in harmonic balance with other food items of my diet. I find I am not bouncing from watching cholesterol to watching calories to watching fats to curbing sugar; but right now its whats working for me (maybe not you).
ECT AND ECT,,,,
There is volumes of literature on this subject matter very in depth and like any resource, when properly used for the intended purposes by the people that know how to apply this diet to their lifestyle because it what they either need or desire. But it is not for the average person who joins then quits, loses interest, gives up or moves on. Lastly, this is only an example and while many of these diets are unsound, many more are rewarding when applied with proper knowledge.
Arousing the audience's awareness to be healthy through lifestyle modification, to include healthy eating habits are driving factors in adapting diets to suit the need of that person. In dentistry, for example. we discourage sugar consumption especially among the younger age group. It does not only address the prevention for dental caries but also a possible contributory factor for some diseases.
The awareness of probiotics led to the consumption of yoghurt on a regular basis
Influence from friends and the media. Some people would like to be "in", while other might be desperate to try any other means especially to lose weight while enjoying the food they like (. ex. in keto diet the foods are not bland and hey have the fats making it more "delicious" for some.. A diet with , fat restricted is hard to stick with.