Nutrition trends to look for in 2018

Friday, December 29, 2017
nutrition trends to look for in 2018
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When we talk about healthy nations, we think of countries such as Australia, Sweden or Singapore. India doesn’t really make the list; in fact India was ranked 143rd among 188 countries, even below Comoros and Ghana, according to a health study by Lancet. 

In another study conducted by the Bloomberg Global Health Index, that assessed countries on the basis of entities like life expectancy, causes of death, health risks, malnutrition, availability of clean water etc., India didn’t even make it to the top 50.

What does this mean for our country? These figures indicate that when it comes to nutrition, India is still fighting a tough battle. On the one hand, if India tops the list of underweight people, on the other, it also features in the top 5 with regards to obesity, with 16% adult men and 22% adult women in India being overweight. Obesity is a growing concern in India and if these trends continue, by 2025, global obesity prevalence will reach 18% in men and surpass 21% in women.

However, there is a silver lining here. While the above figures do paint a grim picture, one cannot deny that a strong and silent health revolution is slowly sweeping the nation today. Be it food, fitness or lifestyle, there is a change in attitudes and mindset, with people now choosing to make healthier lifestyle changes. This is creating a new ecosystem for innovative healthcare products and services to thrive!

The obvious signs of a fitness wave are evident not just in the form of the mushrooming number of gyms and fitness chains, but also in technological and digital tools that are helping the people of India start their fitness journeys. This past year has been a hot bed of activity for the health and weight loss app industry, with a 9% increase in mobile health and fitness apps, 49 per cent of which came from studio and fitness content apps.

The obvious signs of a fitness wave are evident not just in the form of the mushrooming number of gyms and fitness chains, but also in technological and digital tools that are helping the people of India start their fitness journeys

2017 has seen a massive focus on health and fitness, with consumers prioritizing physical and mental well-being over everything else. This growing health consciousness saw consumers try out various diets such as Ketogenic diet, Atkins diet or the Military diet and more, in order to walk the path of good health. Here are some trends that gained popularity this year:

Demand for plant-based proteins: With research showing that food with too much animal protein can prove detrimental to health, there is a growing awareness of the various types of plant protein sources and their benefits. Plant proteins can be consumed from a variety of sources and are also a powerhouse of other nutrients and a good supplement for vegetarians and vegans. With more Indians looking to switch to high protein diets, this trend is likely to grow in 2018.

Personalized nutrition plans: Indian consumers have realized that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work, as each type of body responds differently to different foods. This is driving brands and nutrition-led apps to create better-tailored products, for more specific sub-categories of individuals. For example, obese individuals with different degrees of insulin resistance have completely different weight maintenance outcomes, depending on their carbohydrate intake.

Good fats: The health conscious consumer of today understands that not all fats are bad. Therefore, we see a lot of healthy fats such as edible coconut oil, cow ghee, olive oil, nut butters etc., finding their way into people’s diets.

Black food: Detox diets saw a new trend this year. Activated charcoal saw a lot of popularity with everything, from ice-cream to pizza crusts being made using this black food ingredient. Activated charcoal reduces gas and keeps a check on cholesterol, besides myriad benefits. This trend has caught the fancy of the Indian consumer and will continue to grow in 2018 as well.

What to Expect in 2018

Indian consumers are experimenting with newer cuisines and we see an evolution of the Indian palette with more people willing to discover different foods with health as the main criteria. The desire to lead healthier, cleaner lives is reflected in the demand for information about the purity and authenticity of ingredients. Consumers today recognize the consequences that certain food choices have on their health and are choosing their foods accordingly, looking at a holistic combination of good food habits and healthy lifestyle habits as a way to balance their hectic schedules. In the coming year, we will see a gradual shift towards ‘natural’ or ‘herbal’ foods with Ayurveda and ancient food techniques taking centre stage, paving the way for new opportunities in the health & wellness industry in India.


The writer is founder of Obino, a fitness and weight-loss coaching app.

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