Top 10 Dietary and Nutritional Health Trends for 2020


Learn about the top 10 dietary and nutritional health trends that are making waves in 2020, from dark chocolate covered chickpeas, protein fortified coffee, plant-based “meats,” and all the important things people want to know about the origins of their food.

Even though we’re cooped up in our homes, biding our time, getting a little stir-crazy and becoming more addicted to Netflix with every passing moment, 2020 is moving along and things are happening outside of our minimized worlds.

If one of your new year resolutions was to promote a healthier diet, the biggest health food trends of 2020 can help you achieve your goals and make staying home a little more exciting.

Dieticians and nutritionists met at the end of 2019 and discussed the top dietary and nutritional health trends which we will be covering here. What a better time than now to focus on our health and wellbeing while trying something new?

Here’s the rundown: promoting sustainability and plant-based eating are continuing to become extremely popular so there’s reason to believe that neither is going away anytime soon.

Naturally functional foods, “food as medicine” and “superfoods,” focus on health benefits that are inherent in food. As we learn more about nutrition science we understand that foods are much more than their individual components. For instance, a kale leaf is much more than antioxidants and vitamin C. There are so many other components in kale that interact positively with our body and affect our health.

Also trending in 2020 is a focus on healthy fats, which means adding more unsaturated fats to your diet while trying to avoid saturated fats. Made popular by the ketogenic diet, it includes large amounts of healthy fats and very little to no carbs to kickstart the body into a fat burning machine.

Other top 2020 dietary and nutrition trends are intuitive eating, portable health foods, veggie-packed products, prebiotics, protein-packed coffee, healthy chocolate, hemp-based products like CBD and much more.

Read on to learn more about 2020’s hottest food trends in detail.


1. Sustainability

A path toward a more sustainable future is a topic of discussion in a variety of areas that affect our everyday lives. One of the most important of course is food. What does the path toward a more sustainable future of food look like and who’s driving it? How do we meet the needs of the current population without negatively impacting or depleting the outcome for future generations? 

These are the questions that need answers and the difficulty is finding a balance between different and often competing needs with limited resources and economic hardships. Read more about “The Path Towards Sustainable Food Systems” here. Focusing on local food sources, waste throughout the supply chain and being mindful of the packaging brands use are some items that companies and consumers are paying attention to


2. Plant-based diet

“Healthy” is a consumer expectation of plant-based products, and now more than ever there’s a lot to choose from. Veggie chips and crackers made from beets and sweet potatoes, sauces loaded with kale and other vegetables, cauliflower “rice”, barbecue sauces and ketchups sweetened with vegetables instead of added sugars, veggie-based ingredients that replace traditional bases for pastas and pizzas, pumpkin seed butter, “superfood” powders. The list goes on and on, and it’s becoming a whole lot easier to include vegetables in your diet when you’re practically surrounded by them in every aisle of the supermarket.


3. Fat is good

Well, some of it is. There’s been quite a turn-around to the former perception of “fat is bad” and the “low-fat” trends of old. It’s common nowadays for people to add coconut oil or butter in their coffee to be able to process caffeine more efficiently, leading to more lasting energy without the buzz. The keto diet is all the buzz these days, which requires a lot of healthy fat which goes far beyond olive oil. 

Avocados, nuts, and fatty fish all have numerous health benefits and are high in good cholesterol. Be sure to try to opt for unsaturated fats as much as you can, while avoiding saturated fats.


4. Naturally functional foods

Naturally functional foods are less of a trend and more of a zeitgeist. A method of thought that approaches food as medicine and proactive health, naturally functional foods essentially underpins the health food movement. Items such as bone broth, mushrooms and matcha tea are examples of foods that fit this category. The truth is health is proactive, and it takes time, effort and evidence-based knowledge to effectively nourish yourself.


5. Digestive health

Even ancient Greeks were wise enough to understand that a healthy gut has a direct impact on emotional and mental health. Although digestive wellness has been a high-priority trend for years, it’s been continuously evolving. Now, prebiotics are taking the lead. They are understood to have a functional role in digestive wellness support (along with probiotics),and supports an increased metabolism. Pre and probiotics are present nowadays in sparkling tonics, powdered formats, and even cookies.


6. Hemp-based products

There’s been a lot of buzz around natural medicine for a long time and for good reason. There’s stuff out there that grows and it’s good for you. Science. Aside from the dominant history of disinformation about hemp, the world is finally coming around to the science behind the health benefits of hemp-derived products, like CBD, which is the chemical compound found in marijuana which contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces a “high.” Although there’s not enough scientific evidence out there to suggest that CBD suppresses anxiety, there seems to be good evidence that it has a calming effect on the nervous system.


7. Protein-packed coffee and other protein packed food

Protein is finding its way into many foods uncharacteristic for containing protein, The strangest I’ve come across is coffee and “breakfast hummus.” Interesting to say the least. There are tons of other protein loaded foods where carbs once reigned, mostly in pastas made from lentils, chickpeas, black beans or edamame. I can personally testify that chickpea pasta is actually pretty decent and it’s a great way to promote plant-forward eating.


8. Healthy chocolate

There’s tons of competition in the healthy snack category and creativity starting to hit new heights. Dark chocolate covered “blank” is probably one of the most popular. Dark chocolate covered crispy quinoa, pumpkin seeds and even chickpeas. It’s all coming at us so fast.


9. “Meat”

This is a big one, and major breakthroughs have been made recently in production and distribution of plant-based meats, like Beyond Meat and Impossible Food. Will it change the way we consume real meat? Not yet, at least. Studies show that animal meat consumption is hovering around steady or growing slightly over the past decade. Science is also making advances in the area of lab-grown meat, which could have a huge impact on issues of sustainability.


10. Authenticity, provenance and the story of our food

I just cannot write about authenticity and provenance without the Colin the Chicken sketch from the Portlandia pilot. I’ll spare you the references, just watch it.

People are doing a lot more than reading food labels. They want to know everything about where their food comes from and the story behind ingredients is becoming more and more important. Is it local? Does it have its origins in another country? What’s the carbon footprint? What’s the impact on sustainability? All relevant questions that are becoming more important as we become more and more involved in what we put on our plates, and the journey is heading back to the farm and field where it all starts.


Want to learn more about how Protein Research can solve your needs for high quality nutraceuticals, functional foods and dietary supplements? Contact us and get a quote today.




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