Personalized Nutrition Is Trying to Reach The Masses

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Personalized nutrition is one of the newest ideas catching the eyes of consumers and the big food companies. In theory, it seems like the next big thing to overtake the healthy eating marketplace. However, there are a few hurdles that innovators are battling for this concept to reach the mainstream. Consumer knowledge about their personalized nutrition needs, food manufacturing, and distribution are going to need to change to make this a reality.

Habit: The Startup Company Leading Personalized Nutrition

Habit, a San Francisco-based company, is offering personalized nutrition through genetic testing. The big food company, Campbell’s Soup, has been following closely and recently invested in the startup.

Habit is structuring itself as a personalized nutrition meal delivery startup. They take information gathered from an at-home test kit to create specific meals to meet customers’ needs. At the moment, Habit’s business model is a little expensive for the average consumer. It costs $249 to receive the personalized test kit, results, and advice from nutrition coaches. On top of the $249, each meal will cost you $8.99 for breakfast and $13.50 for lunch and dinner meals. Without a significant technological change to food development and distribution, personalized nutrition appears to be a luxury in the short term.

3-D Food Printing Could Be The Solution

As mentioned earlier, consumer knowledge on food development and distribution would need to change in a significant way for personalized nutrition to reach the masses. 3-D food printing could be the groundbreaking technology to make it possible. If 3-D printers could become as regular as microwaves, they could completely change the way consumers prepare food at home.

Big food companies like PepsiCo are already testing 3D printing to create prototypes of different shaped and colored chips. Other firms like Barilla have used 3-D food printing to make pasta that is shaped like a rose. The number of obstacles facing the industry are still there, but the future looks bright for personalized nutrition.

Inspired by

Eat Less for a Long and Healthy Life

In the United States, about 16% of people between the age 50 and 64 suffer from chronic illnesses. The number of occurrence of chronic disease rises with each decade of increment of age. Aging is an inevitable part of the human process. But there are ways on how to delay aging so that –both physical and physiological–do not manifest at all.

Calorie Restriction

Researchers are now studying ways of how we can enhance not only the quality of our lives but also our lifespan. According to Julie Mattison from the National Institute on Ageing (NIA), the most effective way to live longer and healthier is to eat less. Also dubbed as calorie restriction, eating less goes further than just cutting back on fatty foods but it also involves making radical reductions in terms of portion size in the long run.

In many studies on animals, researchers revealed that flies, worms, rats, and monkies subjected to 30% reduction of food intake are able to live longer and more actively. While it has been proven within the lower animal taxa that eating less can contribute to longer lives, this can be applicable to humans as well.

Aside from scientific research, the benefits of the effects of calorie restriction have been recorded in historical texts. For instance, the great Greek physician Hippocrates claimed that many diseases were associated with gluttony.

What Happens When You Eat Less?

So how does eating less help one live longer? To understand what is going on, you need to look at what is going on inside the body.  In a study published in 2015, blood was extracted from people who underwent calorie restriction. The blood analysis revealed that the amount of good cholesterol inside the blood increased and the tumor necrosis factors (TNFs) reduced by 25%. The tumor necrosis factors are molecules that are associated with the tumor formation. The more you have them in your blood, the more likely you will develop cancer in the future.

Aside from TNF and cholesterol, calorie restriction also increases insulin sensitivity by 40% thus it can also stabilize the blood sugar levels back to normal.  But more than anything else, the most obvious benefit of eating less is massive weight loss. This is a very important advantage especially for people who have body mass index (BMI) above 30.

How to Eat Less Despite the Temptations

While it is easy to control the calorie intake of laboratory animals, the same thing cannot be said for humans. So how can we eat less despite the presence of too many temptations around us? It is important for us to have access to low-calorie meals whether we are eating at a restaurant or buying prepared meals in convenience stores. It is also crucial to develop discipline when it comes to eating foods because no amount of low-calorie food delivery can match your discipline.

Inspired by

America: Make Breakfast Great Again

A standard American breakfast includes sugary cereals, fruit juices, and toast. In fact, the first cereal plants started commercial manufacturing during the 1950s. Cereals were made from equal parts of sugar and corn flour. The sweet taste of cereals and the positive marketing of these sugary foods made them one of the most famous breakfast staples on any American table. In fact, 90% of Americans have cereals in their cupboard.

The thing is that Americans have enjoyed eating cereals for many decades, and it is only recently that this industry has been placed under the spotlight as America wants to figure out why there is an increasing rate of obesity in the country. Can it be attributed to cereals? Probably so…

Sugary Cereal is Killing Breakfast in America

Cereals may be marketed as whole grains, but they are far from that. A single cereal contains modified food starch, similar to corn syrup. When you say whole grain, it is defined as natural food and not something that is processed to give it a long or indefinite shelf life. It also contains sugar, salt, and additives like tripotassium phosphate–a type of preservative. Marketing it as whole grain is a form of corporate dishonesty. Having said this, cereals are lacking many forms of nutritional value.

Cereals are devoid of any fiber and contain simple sugar. The sugar enters immediately into the bloodstream once you eat cereal. This promotes the body to release a hormone called insulin that delivers the pure sugar to the cells. However, the sugar is then stored as fat and, but at some point, too much sugar will strain the entire system. This results in metabolic diseases like diabetes.

But even if cereals do not have a lot of free sugar in them, they can still wreak havoc on the entire body as they are made from refined grains, which are converted into simple sugar. This requires the same insulin response that overburdens the endocrine system through time.


We Have Been Eating Cereals for A Long Time, Why Are We Now Concerned?

Sugar and refined carbohydrates are now dubbed as toxic the same way as cigarettes were categorized. According to journalists, Michael Moss and Gary Taubes, there has been mounting evidence that shows that sugar and carbohydrates are the biggest culprits in the ballooning waistline of many Americans.

But if cereals have been around for more than a few decades, then why is America experiencing rapid obesity only now? According to Harry Balzer, a market analyst at NPD Group, cereals were not an everyday affair. A few decades back, it was eaten only on Sundays when women went to church early and did not have time to make breakfast. Today, it seems that people don’t have enough time to prepare their meals, so they rely heavily on cereals and other processed junk labeled as breakfast foods.

Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day, but America needs to start looking for ways to create more convenient and healthy options. Without this push from consumers and brands, the obesity problem in America will continue to rise.

Inspired by

Frozen Fruits And Vegetables More Nutritious Than Fresh Ones

There is this old belief that eating fresh fruits and vegetables is better for the body than eating them frozen or cooked. However, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Georgia revealed that frozen fruits and vegetables are as healthy as fresh ones.

The Hurdles Of The Frozen Produce Industry

This is good news as more and more people are buying foods that are frozen due to convenience. Food companies, to increase the shelf-life of their products, opt for different types of preservation techniques including flash freezing. This technique quickly freezes food so that they retain their flavor and freshness longer.

Although flash freezing allows food manufacturers to provide different types of frozen foods to customers, the idea of consuming frozen foods has a bad rap. Many consumers believe that eating frozen foods are less healthy because they are more “processed.” In fact, a report released by the survey company, Packaged Facts, revealed that while 75% of American household consume frozen fruits and vegetables, the sales have remained identical to the 2012 sales.

While the industry of frozen produce has not shown much growth over the last few years, there has been a surge in sales of fresh fruits and vegetables. The report shows that this industry has earned over $62 billion within the last four years indicating that it has a yearly growth of 3.8%.

Frozen vs. Fresh: Fruits and Vegetables

To dispel the belief that fresh fruits and vegetables are way better than frozen foods, the researchers from the University of Georgia worked with the Frozen Food Foundation. The study analyzed the nutritional value of frozen foods and compared it with those of fresh produce.  They inspected food like frozen blueberries, corn, strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, and green peas.

So what did the study find out? Researchers revealed that frozen foods contain the same, if not greater, amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate than most fresh fruits and vegetables. Researchers found the results staggering and believe that frozen fruits and vegetables are better at nutrient retention than their fresh counterparts.

One of the reasons why frozen fruits and vegetables are healthier is that they are matured properly before freezing. When fruits and vegetables are harvested, they start to lose nutrients. But since frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen shortly after being harvested, they are allowed to fully ripen and retain high amounts of vitamins and minerals that are locked within their frozen cells.

Contrary to popular belief, freezing fruits and vegetables does not destroy the natural nutrients found in food. So the next time you go shopping for fruits and vegetables, make sure that you think about frozen ones too.

Inspired by

Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate vs. USDA’s MyPlate

A few years after the USDA created the new MyPlate, Harvard nutrition experts decided to set up their own Healthy Eating Plate. The changes were made to address the deficiencies in the USDA’s MyPlate, most likely caused by intensive food industry lobbying. The central message of the Healthy Eating Plate is to focus on diet quality vs. broad guidelines like the MyPlate.

For example:

  • The different types of carbohydrates in your diet are more important than a number of carbohydrates. Sources of carbs like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans are healthier than others.
  • Harvard’s plate advises people to avoid all sugary beverages which is one of the leading causes of lifestyle diseases like diabetes.
  • The Healthy Eating Plate promotes healthy oils and does not place a limit of calories from fat. Harvard is promoting the consumption of healthy fats which goes against the low-fat message advocated by the USDA for decades.


Inspired by

6 Nutrition Mistakes Even Healthy People Make

Our bodies benefit from eating healthy food. That’s why making the right food choices is crucial for the overall function of the body. But did you know that many people are not aware that they are eating the wrong kinds of foods to stay healthy? Even healthy people make nutrition mistakes. So if you are trying to be healthy by eating healthy, then below are six common nutrition mistakes even healthy people make.

Mistake #1: Using Whole Flaxseed

Flaxseed is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid, fiber, and antioxidants. Most healthy people consume whole flaxseed instead of ground ones. This is a nutrition mistake because whole flaxseed cannot be adequately digested by the stomach so consuming it means that you are missing out on the incredible benefits found inside the seed. So instead of eating whole flaxseed, use ground up flax flours.

Mistake #2: Drinking “Healthy” Smoothies

Drinking smoothies are healthy for the body, but many health buffs believe that it is a low-calorie drink. What they don’t know is that smoothies are calorie bombs especially if you use superfood ingredients that are dense in calories. To decrease calories in your smoothies, use more vegetables than fruits or serve smaller portions.

Mistake #3: Taking Supplements With Coffee

Caffeine from coffee reduces the ability of the body to absorb essential vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin B, D, and A. But coffee is not the only drink that you need to wary of as tea and cola also contain caffeine. You need to take in your supplements an hour before you drink your morning coffee.

Mistake #4: Using Canned Beans all the Time

While canned beans are readily available, they contain a lot of sodium. In fact, canned beans contain two-thirds of the sodium that is needed daily by the body. So when you are out shopping for beans, look for cans that are labeled low-sodium and no-salt-added. You also need to rinse your beans to remove 40% of the sodium.

Mistake #5: Cutting out on Fruit to Cut Back on Sugar

Fruits are sweet, but they are not the primary source of sugar. In a standard American diet, sweetened beverages are the largest source of sugar. In fact, you can benefit from eating more fruits as they contain not only vitamins and minerals but also the fiber that can help cleanse your colon. So if you have to cut back on sugar, make sure that you look at your current diet and see the hidden source of added sugars that you are consuming.

Mistake #6: Believing That Low-Fat and Sugar-Free Labels are Good

Many people believe that foods with labels “low-fat” and “sugar-free” are good for the body. What they do not know is that they contain more preservatives and other refined ingredients to make them low-fat or sugar-free.  Instead, eat foods that are close to their natural state as possible.

Inspired by

Vegetables Can Improve The Nutrition Content Of Kid’s Juices

Fruit juices are perceived as healthy beverages, but the media has reported that many smoothies and kid’s juices contain higher amounts of sugar than carbonated drinks like soda. Sugar is now well researched as the culprit to different metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes. The fruit juice market has been hit hard by the negative aspects of sugar with a decline in sales over the past few years.  Juice producers have a new opportunity to bring back the healthy image that they present to their customers by adding more vegetables to their juices in turn lowering the sugar and calorie content.

The Trend Of Juicing Vegetables

In recent years, many consumers have developed an interest for vegetable juices for health reasons. With public campaigns encouraging people to consume more vegetables daily and more celebrity chefs preparing vegetable recipes, consumption of vegetables have been glamorized.

The vegetable trend has led to the rise of different diet movements like flexitarians (semi-vegetarians), vegetarians, and vegans. It has also opened many opportunities for restaurants and the food industry to provide products that meet these new needs of consumers. We are starting to see products like vegetable spiralizers, cold-pressed juicers, and ready-made vegetable juices on market shelves.

Brands Have Joined In The Vegetable Bandwagon

Multiple brands have acceded to the bandwagon of incorporating vegetables into their fruit juices. One such company is a Japanese corporation, Kagome. The Japanese consumer demands healthy options and new flavors in their fruit juices and what better way to provide it to the customers than putting vegetables into their fruit juices.

Another company that has incorporated vegetables in its juice products is Coldpress Ltd. The fruit juices are not heat-pasteurized to retain the taste and nutrients of the finished product. Sugar is no longer added to their juices as they rely on the natural sweetness of the fruits for the sugar content.

Newer Trends In Fruit Juices

Aside from fruit juices, some trends are being adopted by beverage brands. As vegetables have been incorporated to add more health value to fruit juices, other trends have also sprung to improve the nutritional profile of fruit juices. Below are the new trends that have taken the fruit juice industry by storm.

  • More Superfoods in Juices: The fruit juice industry predicts that there will be a rise in super-fruit juices into 2020. For example, some companies have already added superfood chia seeds to their fruit juice products since 2015. Other superfoods that have been incorporated in fruit juices include Aloe Vera, coconut water, and maple water.
  • Fresher Fruit Juices: While bottled fruit juices have already been sterilized to increase their shelf-life, more fruit juice producers are developing more refreshing fruit juices to provide more nutritional value to their customers. Using cold-pressed juicing is a method that allows juice companies to create fresher and more nutritious juices. Moreover, juice bars have also become popular to provide juices from kitchen to mouth
  • Natural Vitamins in Juices: Companies like NutriFusion are helping beverage and drink brands add real vitamins from whole fruits and vegetables to their products. Since most juices are going through pasteurization, their nutrients are lost in the process. NutriFusion products are stable in heat and allow juice companies to quickly add back plant-based nutrition that is typically lost in processing.

Inspired by

Kid’s Menus Should Not be a Marketing Gimmick

Are you raising picky eaters? Then you will be surprised with the recent trend of restaurants offering healthier kid’s menus. Gone are the days when your only fast food option was chicken nuggets, burgers, and fries.

Over the past few years, various restaurants started providing dishes that contain ingredients that your kids might not currently eat. For instance, the restaurant chain, Laughing Planet Café, is offering healthy options for their young diners that are made from tempeh (a soy product), quinoa, and kale. On the other hand, some restaurants also give children the freedom to choose healthy items to match their foods like brown rice, roasted yam, or tofu.


Healthy Trend Leads Transformation of Kid’s Menus

What is influencing this trend? Franz Spielvogel, CEO of Laughing Planet, noted that they are embracing such bold moves because modern parents are becoming more educated and health-conscious. Moreover, diners now have more access to different flavors and children grow up in households that eat a variety of cuisines.

Another reason why restaurants across the United States are changing their kid’s menus is that most adults think that kid’s menus are not given too much thought. Most of the dishes included in the menu appeal to the kids taste-wise, but their nutritional value was never taken into account. Kid’s menus should be more than a marketing gimmick. Although this may be the case, traditional burgers will never go away; but restaurants are making moves to incorporate healthier ingredients in their burgers to provide more variety and nutrition to children.

This trend has pushed other food companies to revamp their products to become healthier for children. For instance, Panera Bread Co. will offer its kids menu minus the sweeteners, artificial flavors, and colors. Diners can expect to see black bean soup and Greek salad on its new kid’s menu.

How to Make Healthy Foods More Appealing to Kids

Aside from creating new and healthier products for children, companies are also looking into how the foods will be presented to children. MAD Greens, a food chain that has branches in Utah, Texas, Colorado and Arizona, devised a way to make their food boxes more appealing even if it contains edamame, pasta, and citrus chicken–not your child’s usual favorites.

Giving children more control to foods they eat is also the key to letting them develop healthy eating habits even while dining out. According to Molly Siegler, culinary editor at Whole Foods Market, if children are allowed to participate in choosing which vegetables they want in their soup, then they are likely to eat the finished product. Letting children have control on the kinds of foods that they consume is necessary as long as they have their parents guiding them in the right direction.

Restaurants today are embracing the fact that they are accountable when it comes to feeding young diners with not only delicious but also nutritious foods. This revolution is reshaping the food industry, and it might help provide the solution to the obesity problem among children.

Inspired by