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Health Predictions for 2009

Experts predict medical trends in the new year.
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Dieting: Goodbye Fad Diets, Hello 'Positive Eating' in 2009?

"The desire for fast, easy weight loss will always be a lure [but] with all the economy changes there is a growing trend to value -- and that value in the food arena is the aspect of how to get more from my food choices," says Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, LD, FADA, the director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and a past president of the American Dietetic Association.

"I do believe the nutrient-rich or positive diet message is growing," she says. Positive eating refers to adding vegetables, nuts, berries and other healthy foods to your diet as opposed to cutting carbs or taking other draconian measures to lose weight.

In 2009, consumers will also be choosing more locally-grown foods, she predicts. "Feeling in control of our world is leading people to choose more local foods."

"While we have a long way to go it seems more restaurants are looking at portions," Diekman says. Now public health advocates and dietitians can aim their bow and arrow at sodium. "Sodium is the next big nutrient focus. Consumers don't know how much they need, but they are interested in knowing how much is in what they eat."

There's more: expect to see more tasty foods for those with food allergies on store shelves in 2009. "More and more manufacturers are figuring out how to keep taste and drop the allergen," she says.

Diabetes: Will Smart Insulin Pumps Change Lives?

"There will be some big studies and new guidelines coming out in 2009 that may change how we treat diabetes," says John Buse, MD, PhD, chief of the endocrinology division and director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Buse is also the American Diabetes Association's president for medicine and science.

Buse also predicts that we may see some more glucose-lowering drugs come to market in 2009. Specifically, liraglutide, a new drug in the same class as Byetta (also known as exenatide) that only requires one injection each day, may be approved by the FDA as early as next summer. Once-weekly exenatide LAR is further down the pike.

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