People have monitored their eating habits and restricted foods in attempts to reshape their bodies for centuries. By taking a look at the past and present, we can get an idea of what the future of dieting holds in store.
Popular Past Weight Loss Trends
Many dieting trends of the previous century were based on personal experience instead of science or, at best, they included quasi-science. Some, such as having a cigarette instead of a snack, were clever marketing. Over time, more restrictive eating patterns began to emerge. Here is a quick recap of some of the past diet fads from the past century, according to US News:
Popular in the 1930s, the Hollywood (A.k.a. Grapefruit) Diet added a grapefruit to each meal. There were few other restrictions on what or when adherents could eat. The diet was based on a belief that grapefruits contained a specific enzyme that would promote weight loss.
Smoking was promoted as an alternative to snacking starting in the roaring 20s. Many people took it up, whether for weight loss or other reasons. Many people trying to quit smoking can attest to an increased desire for snacks instead of cigarettes. Years later, smoking was found to contribute to a host of health problems, and it is now discouraged by mainstream medical practitioners.
The Cabbage Soup Diet has persisted since the 1950s. It entails eating a soup made of cabbage and other low-calorie vegetables — and very little else. This can be considered one of the forerunners of modern diets where whole food groups are restricted.
The Atkins Diet was first established in the early 1970s; however, it didn’t really gain popularity until the mid-1990s. It is a low-carbohydrate diet that is implemented in stages. You will have the least carbs when you begin and gradually work up to a maintenance level that allows you to stay at your desired weight.
Where Dieting Stands Today
Unfortunately, many people do not learn from the mistakes of the past. Take the Ketogenic (a.k.a. Keto) Diet as an example. This ultra-restrictive program encourages you to eat high-fat and protein foods while eschewing almost all carbohydrates. Originally developed to help control a specific type of seizure, there is little science to back it up as a healthy eating plan for most otherwise healthy people.
On the bright side, others do learn. These individuals are beginning to listen to the advice of medical experts. As a result, many companies are starting to incorporate sound nutritional research into their products. This includes:
- Addressing food allergies and sensitivities that may contribute to bloating and discomfort
- Adding vitamins to foods address nutritional deficiencies, possibly due to poor dietary choices
- Advancing ideas and developing products to support healthy digestive systems
- Adjusting views on carbohydrates to understand better how different ones affect the body
New Directions for Future Nutritional Guidance
So, you may wonder where this leaves the future of dieting and nutritional guidance. While there is no way to know for sure how people will react, there are some indications.
For example, the United States Department of Agriculture produces dietary guidelines every five years. The most recent edition, published in 2020, is the first to address different needs at each life stage. This is a big step forward in recognizing the bodies — and their nutritional needs — change over time.
The emergence of diet apps and tracking devices is also worth noting. These grant average individuals the ability to keep tabs on what they eat, the length and intensity of exercise, and how their bodies react to each in real-time. As these evolve, they may prove to be the necessary tools for helping each individual meet their nutritional and activity needs.
No one knows exactly how the future of dieting, weight loss, and nutritional guidance will unfold. However, many emerging trends point to a science-focused approach that incorporates technology and research into new approaches to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.