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It's almost the end of 2012 and as I do every year, I'm thinking back to the last 12 months and going over the highs and lows of the year in nutrition. Here are some of my observations:
* Despite all the wise information around, people continue to look for the perfect diet, the easiest tool for weight loss or to stay young and healthy. This year the Paleo diet, raw-food diets, fasts and cleanses remained popular among many people. While each plan, in part, has some merits, it's troubling that people still aren't wanting to accept the message of moderation or just healthy eating as a path to well-being. And all these regimes tend to be somewhat short lived and stay popular until the next fad comes along.
* Gluten-free diets still are very popular and people are using them for everything from digestive problems to weight loss. This diet is essential for people with Celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten but for other people, it is unnecessary and may not help in the battle of the bulge. The popularity of this diet has spawned a rash of gluten-free products on the grocery shelves and in restaurants and while it's been helpful for people who must avoid gluten, many of the products are high in fat or sugar, low in fibre and not helpful when it comes to dropping pounds.
And, despite all of this, both adults and kids seem to be getting heavier.
Some of the good things in 2012:
* There is ongoing progress in the development of healthier food options. Take a walk through the supermarket and you'll find a variety of new products with less sodium. Kudos to the food manufacturers who are taking some of these health messages seriously and working to create options for you. You'll also find new products fortified with vitamin D, plant sterols, omega-3's and more. But, before you spend your money, make sure you know what you need and how much and if the product gives you what you need.
* Many restaurants are also taking your health more seriously and offering choices for people watching their weight, modifying their salt or fat intake, or even cutting out gluten. Most fast-food places have their nutrition information available behind the counter and/or online and the debate about posting nutrition facts on all restaurant menus continues. It's still up to you to make the best choices but you have more options.
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