Have you noticed that more of your friends and family members are prioritizing nutrition? They may read food labels more closely or take greater care in choosing what they eat on a regular basis. While poor nutrition is still a problem for many, a greater portion of the population is prioritizing nutrition – so why is this the case? And will this trend last?
The Value of Better Nutrition
Nutrition influences you in more ways than you might think. It’s not just about losing weight or building muscle. It’s not just about extending your lifespan. It’s also about improving how you feel and how you think on a daily basis.
Imagine a person with an unambiguously unhealthy diet. This person eats way too many calories, they drink sugary sodas all day, and most of their meals are made of heavily processed, packaged ingredients.
Over the span of a few weeks, they transition to eating fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and restricting their caloric intake. How do you think they feel as a result of making this change? They likely feel proud of themselves, but they’ll also feel more energized, more motivated, and happier in general.
In some ways, prioritizing nutrition and eating healthier is an obvious choice because it can have such a dramatic change on your lifestyle and wellbeing. But we’ll need to dive a little deeper if we want to more fully understand this trend.
Why More People Are Prioritizing Nutrition
These are some of the motivating factors driving people to prioritize nutrition in their own lives:
- The obesity epidemic. Developed countries around the world are dealing with an obesity epidemic. We live sedentary lifestyles and eat like garbage, so it’s only natural that we gain weight and suffer the consequences of living with obesity. As people understand more about the health risks associated with obesity, they become motivated to change – before it’s too late. Also, as a result of the obesity epidemic, more governments, organizations, and companies are working hard to reverse our collective momentum.
- Greater nutritional transparency. Partially in response to the obesity epidemic, food manufacturers and distributors are increasing their nutritional transparency. Nutrition labels have been around for many decades now, but restaurants and food brands are doing more to show consumers the precise nutritional content and value of their products. With such readily available information, consumers can make better decisions.
- More food and beverage options. It also helps that there are more food and beverage options in general. When you shop for an ingredient at the supermarket, you’re no longer simply forced to choose between two options; in many cases, you have a wide array of varying selections to choose from. There are “healthy” alternative options for almost anything you can imagine.
- Access to more information. Today’s consumers have access to more information than ever before. If you’ve ever been confused about what carbohydrates really are or how much vitamin C you should be consuming in a day, you’re only a quick online search away from the information you need. Modern buyers understand more about nutrition than they ever did in the past – so it makes sense that they’re going to make more conscientious, positive decisions about their nutritional intake and health.
- Realization of outdated principles. As a result of both scientific progress and information transparency, people have begun to recognize and eliminate outdated principles that historically guided their eating habits. For example, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced nutritional guidelines in the form of a “food pyramid” in 1992. This food pyramid recommended the average adult eat between 6 and 11 servings of carbohydrates like bread and pasta every day. Today, we know this is bad advice – and may have been a contributing factor in creating the obesity epidemic.
- Social influences. We also need to consider the role of social influences. If all your friends and family members are thoughtful about nutrition, you’ll probably be thoughtful about nutrition too. If consumers are collectively focusing more on nutritionally valuable choices, brands are going to introduce more nutritionally valuable products. This creates multiple positive feedback loops that are capable of self-sustaining.
Could This Trend Last?
Is this trend going to continue? The answer is, most likely, yes. With time, we’ll learn more about nutrition and that information will become even more accessible. Consumers will have access to an even wider range of food and beverage options, and we’ll become even more socially influenced to make the right decisions for ourselves.
Still, the future is uncertain, and widespread trends don’t necessarily affect you on an individual level – so the best thing you can do is focus on the influence of nutrition in your own life and make better decisions for yourself.