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Diet and Fitness Trends

What the future holds for our eating and exercising habits.

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According to Phil Black, a former Navy Seal instructor who is now a personal trainer and San Diego fitness entrepreneur, another emerging trend is functional fitness -- programs that help us move through daily life with greater ease.

"People don't care so much about becoming a pro athlete as much as they care about whether they can pick up their child without hurting their back, or do things around the house without getting injured or sore," says Black, inventor of the Fit Deck, a type of flash cards for everyday workouts. "We're looking towards workouts that increase flexibility and core strength and help you live a healthier life overall."

5 More Health Trends to Watch

Here are five other trends experts say they expect to grow.

1. Exotic Tastes

Some food experts say we'll be looking to exotic spices and side dishes to perk up our diets.

"Americans have become more open-minded about different tastes and flavors from the world," says Greg Drescher, senior director of strategic initiatives at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y.

This will not only mean tastier meals at home, but healthier restaurant eating, too, Drescher predicts.

"When restaurants first rolled out health initiatives, sales collapsed for items marked 'heart healthy,'" says Drescher, who coordinates the annual CIA Worlds of Healthy Flavors conference held in conjunction with the Harvard School of Public Health.

"But thanks to the convergence of America's growing immigrant population, interest in culinary adventure, changing palates, and the availability of diverse ingredients, the food industry can meet health challenges with full-flavored cuisines."

Drescher says he expects to see both home and restaurant cooks using more ingredients like:

  • Pomegranates, pistachios, and peaches
  • Exotic grains such as quinoa, millet, and bulgur
  • Bread alternatives like rice paper, tortillas, and pita bread
  • Spices with a Middle Eastern twist, like cardamom and zatar

2. Location, Location, Location!

If a location is known for thin and glamorous people, then eating what they eat will make us thin and glamorous too, right? We're not so sure, but some experts believe we can expect to see lots more books about diets based on places.

"Forward-thinking diet experts know that readers will have positive associations with places," says Cathy Lewis, whose media firm has been tracking location diet trends for the past year.

"That's why we connect The Miami Mediterranean Diet with buff, sun-kissed rollerbladers and the Nantucket Diet with svelte, well-bred sailboarders."

Lewis notes that the publishing industry has been through the diet gurus and is now turning to authors who create brands not based on themselves, but their locations.

It started with The South Beach Diet and French Women Don't Get Fat, and has continued with The Sonoma Diet and Japanese Women Don't Get Fat or Old. Lewis said other locale-based diets are sure to follow as Americans continue to search for a thinner, healthier culture to copy.

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