At an American Heart Association (AHA; Dallas) conference on trans fat last October, health experts worried about the law of unintended consequences. Although most food manufacturers are trying to eliminate trans fat from their products, some are simply replacing it with saturated fat, which is just as harmful. To encourage the use of healthier fats and oils, AHA embarked upon a new public relations campaign in April to urge food manufacturers, restaurants, and consumers to switch to healthier vegetable oils.
With Americans’ growing penchant for packing on pounds, it’s no surprise that obesity-related diabetes is on the rise too: Nearly 21 million men, women, and children suffer from diabetes today, and their numbers are expected to swell to more than 48 million by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; Atlanta).
At the World Health Organization’s (WHO; Geneva) upcoming European Ministerial Conference on Counteracting Obesity, which will be held in November in Istanbul, Turkey, many of the world’s leading health experts will convene to develop new plans for dealing with the obesity epidemic. With any luck, functional foods will be one of the strategies that helps makes a difference.
Chances are increasingly slim that the country will escape the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity if present trends continue. More than 20 million Americans already have diabetes, and more than 60 million Americans are obese. The two conditions have become so intertwined that experts recently coined a term to describe their relationship: diabesity.
How will the new products fare in the market? That depends on how the science behind them stacks up. Here’s a look at the latest crop of ingredients to keep an eye on in 2006.
Two years ago, nutrition bar manufacturers launched a record number of low-carbohydrate products. The low-carb era was glorious—but brief—imploding shortly after it began. Now, some nutrition bar companies are pinning their hopes on a different concept: the glycemic index.
With obesity and overweight problems reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, the good news is that more and more consumers are choosing foods that promote wellness. They want to feel good, vibrant, and invigorated throughout their lives. At the same time, they don’t want to give up flavor and texture, which raises the challenge of developing food products that fit into an active, health-oriented life style.
The dietary supplement industry is on an upward curve, spurred by more university research and scientific partnerships linking together U.S. and international developers, suppliers, and research centers. One result of this positive trajectory is that raw-material suppliers are now refining and introducing compounds backed by science that address the issues that matter most to consumers: cardiovascular health, antioxidant and immune support, healthy glucose levels, smooth digestion, weight control, energy and stress reduction, and detoxification.
Inspired by the popular but controversial Atkins and South Beach low-carb eating regimens, consumers have turned to low-carb products in record numbers.