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Diet and Fitness Trends

What the future holds for our eating and exercising habits.
By
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Our fascination with self-improvement shows no signs of waning, and there's no shortage of new diet and exercise trends aimed at helping us meet our health goals. Watchers of food and fitness trends say the road to better health is paved with new possibilities - along with some old ones that are poised to make a comeback.

According to experts, some of the exercise and diet trends that appear to be past their prime are:

  • Low-carbohydrate diets
  • High-impact aerobic workouts
  • Expensive home gym equipment

Health trends on the way up, they say, include:

  • Whole-health diets
  • Back-to-basics food and exercise plans
  • Exotic dietary influences
  • Functional fitness
  • Mind/body workouts
  • The "buddy system" of working out

As everything old becomes new again, experts predict a return to "gentler" times as a key trend emerging in the world of health and fitness.

"The biggest trend I see is a back-to-the-basics approach -- getting away from highly processed foods and back to whole foods," says nutritionist Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, a national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Similarly, trend forecaster Gerald Celente predicts a turn away from the "strictly weight loss diet book" and a move toward what he calls "whole-health" eating -- diets that not only help us lose weight, but live a healthier lifestyle.

"We will focus our attention on those plans that provide us with 'recipes' for staying healthy in mind, body and spirit," says Celente, publisher of The Trends Journal and director of TrendsResearch.com.

"Functional foods" will be another trend, adds Sass, co-author of Your Diet Is Driving Me Crazy: When Food Conflicts Get in the Way of Your Love Life.

"Food as medicine or functional foods will continue to grow --- foods that heal, foods for prevention, anti-aging foods, foods for specific health issues, foods as nutrition therapy," she says. "Foods will be increasingly marketed this way to consumers."

Fitness Goes Back to Basics, Too

After nearly a decade of chasing high-tech fitness dreams, experts say, there's also a movement toward going back to basics for getting in shape.

"The high-tech stuff was great and everybody loves gadgets, but what ends up happening is it becomes a great place to hang your clothes," says Ken Locker, MA, ATC, a spokesman for the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). "Everybody in America now has a little treadmill in the corner with clothes on it -- and now, there is a trend away from that, a trend back to basics."

By basics, he means using the body, and not much else, to get in shape, says Locker, a certified athletic trainer at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. So remember those calisthenics from fifth grade: push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and sprints? If trend forecasters are right, that could be the workout of the future.

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