Navigate the nutritional labyrinth with our expert advice…

There are some pretty strange nutrition trends out there and so many new theories as to why some weight-loss plans work and some do not.

There is a wide consensus in what’s hot in nutrition right now and it’s back to basics, emphasising the fundamentals of healthy eating with vegetables. fruits, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, water for thirst, and food that’s minimally processed.

This week Gladstone News takes you through the top eating trends of recent years with a little help from personal trainer Whitney-Rae Freyling, to help you navigate the nutrition labyrinth and come out healthy and full of energy.

“Most people are eating too much in general, even if it is ‘healthy’ food they can be over eating every day,” Whitney said. “Then they feel frustrated and wonder why they are not seeing results.”

“Apps like My Fitness Pal help you understand what each food is made up of – you may be suprised how quickly it adds up,” she said.

“You will also find some macro/calorie friendly foods that you can ‘beef’ up your meals with that won’t put you over your recommended requirements for the day.”

Speaking of beef, with vegan mince in the meat unit at your local supermarket, dietitians locally are noticing the spread of ‘flexitarianism’. Although only a small number of people will actually try being vegan (because it is quite hard to follow) there is a trend towards more vegetarians, pescetarians and flexitarians – – the latter probably has the biggest growth potential as it’s the most doable.

The taste of these new-generation meat-free products is apparently, is ‘unreal’. There are animal-free burgers that ooze “blood” and Stanford biochemist-designed mince patties, five years in the making, that smell, taste and look like beef mince – even down to the raw, bloodied meat that browns as it sizzles on the grill.

And then you have “Superfoods” – which really ought to be called super marketing foods (kale, really?) – but we are interested in functional foods that have known, evidence-based benefits

For example, fruit. It’s healthy as, right? Not entirely:

“Although fruit is very nutritious, it’s high fructose content means you should limit yourself to 1-2 pieces of fruit per day for weight loss,” Whitney-Rae said.

“Fruit can easily be over eaten and the carbohydrates all add up! One piece of fruit per day is fantastic and 2 if you are exercising and your goal is to drop bodyfat.”

The benefits of other ‘superfoods’ such as turmeric, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, bone broth and manuka honey have been known for centuries, but as research has revealed their benefits they have become newsworthy again.

It’s not just the physical benefits of functional foods that has captured our attention, scientists anticipate “evidence-based nutritional prescriptions” will be a growing trend in the future to help our “biochemical processes”. A building awareness of the function of food means we can ‘fuel our motors’ more efficiently instead of simply choosing ‘low-fat’ because we think it’s better for us.

“Higher healthy fats are a huge trend at the moment.” Whitney said. “It works great to keep us full and satisfied- they are slow release and mainly anti- inflammatory,” Whitney said. Healthy fats include avocado, coconut oil, egg yolks and nuts.

“If you are lowering your carbohydrates you can bump up your healthy fats to make sure your calories are not too low, and you will still drop body fat while retaining a balanced, nourishing eating plan.”

We’ve experimented with extremes – no fat, no sugar, no food and the biggest trend is that it’s time to bring balance back.

The body positivity movement – trusting ourselves to treat our bodies with respect and care without, necessarily, the need for denial or punishment – is leading this ‘trend’.

There is a call for more joy in our bodies and, thank goodness, more joy in our food. It’s about forgetting calorie counting and, instead, embracing wholefoods – foods as minimally tampered with as possible, and happily for this writer, that includes dairy.

Blessed are the cheesemakers.