Remember fat? Remember obesity? Remember trans-fatty acids? These one-time Grand Marshalls are all still lined up right behind today's leader.
Is the issue of low-carbs just a fad or is all of today's hoopla the beginning of a trend? The jury is still out, but I see some long-term effects in the making.
Thank you Dr. Atkins, the father of low-carbohydrate dieting, and Dr. Agatston, of South Beach Diet fame, for promoting low-carbs to their leadership position in the dieting parade. But the issue of low-carbs didn't really get traction until several "obesity" lawsuits arrived on the scene during the past couple of years.
Now, low-carbohydrate foods or reduced-carbohydrate foods are the darlings of the media and of food manufacturers and of foodservice operators. Hundreds of naturally low-carb foods are being repositioned and hyped. Hundreds more foods are being reformulated and launched as reduced-carbohydrate products. Foodservice operators are serving up low-carbohydrate menu options and complete menus.
There are; however, a couple things that should be remembered:
- The Food and Drug Administration has not decided what constitutes a "low-carb" food. However, the agency is taking a look at claims on labels and guidelines are expected later this year. Some claimants could end up with egg on their face.
- If foods reformulated to be reduced- or low-carbohydrate have a track record like foods reformulated to be reduced- or low- or non-fat, there will be a lot of costly and colossal failures.
Is low-carbohydrate dieting a fad or trend? Will low-carbs be the Grand Marshall for months, years or decades? You be the judge.
What ever nutritional-diet issue garners the Grand Marshall's job, I think we need to be prepared for the bigger picture. Nutritionists, government agencies, food police, media and consumers talked about fat for a long, long time before we saw much of a response from the food business. In comparison, the discussion about low-carbohydrate dieting was on the table about a nanosecond before reformulated products started rolling off the assembly line and menu boards got a face lift.
Part of this near-instant response was food businesses looking for an excuse to create new products in an effort to increase sales in an otherwise stagnant business.
But a bigger part of the response was the recognition that consumers are getting more sophisticated about the foods that they eat. Albeit slowly, but less slowly than a few years ago.
Food fads will come and go, but good nutrition is here to stay. Dairy foods are an important part of a nutritious diet and now we have a weight loss story to tell. Don't get too tantalized by the current Grand Marshall (whomever that might be), but keep your eye on every issue in the nutrition parade.