Food Trends for 2017 Part Three
This is my final post in the series Food Trends for 2017. Thank you for your excellent feedback on Part One and Part Two! Let’s wrap up the series with three trends in the nutrition and health sector: activated charcoal, algae and all things coconut.
What the Heck is Activated Charcoal?
This is a trending ingredient that has transitioned from the medical field to the food industry. Activated charcoal is sometimes prescribed by medical professionals to help treat a drug overdose or a poisoning.
When you take activated charcoal, drugs and toxins can bind to it. This helps rid the body of unwanted substances. However, it can interfere with other medications and inhibit the absorption of nutrients. So it needs to be carefully prescribed.
Activated charcoal does not occur naturally in foods. It is the by-product of burning coconut shells, wood, or other plant materials. Activated charcoal is being touted as the latest detox ingredient due to its capacity to bind positively charged ions together, removing them from the body, as we have witnessed the medical field. The foods, however, contain a much lower dosage than what’s prescribed by a doctor. The charcoal adds an interesting dark hue to foods that is unique and unusual. But remember it’s not a silver bullet ingredient and we have no evidence it works in aiding the liver or gastrointestinal tract or even treating hangovers! My advice – proceed with caution.
I first wrote about seaweed in 2013 and again in 2015 in my Huffington Post column. Then I introduced duckweed to you in 2016. The idea of eating sea vegetables is foreign to most of us. Now that we are getting accustomed to eating them, nutrient-rich algae are the hot new plant-based ingredients for 2017. With the rising popularity of vegan diets, the market for algae ingredients is only likely to increase. Plus it allows for people with fish and seafood allergies to consume another source of omega-3 (which promotes heart and immune health).
This man made algae created by a resource-efficient fermentation process fits into the 2017 trend of sustainability as omega-3 from algae allows us to have the benefits of the nutrient without affecting the fish stock. Often described as bacon flavoured seaweed, red algae are trending on the many 2017 superfoods lists. Let me know if you try it!
All Things Coconut
Over the past five years, all things coconut has been on trend and that momentum is not slowing down for 2017. Coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut water, coconut chips, and my favourite coconut ice cream. Many people love the smell and flavour of coconut – me included. But I always caution my clients, friends and family not to throw out all other oils in their kitchen and replace it only with coconut oil. Be mindful the verdict is still not conclusive on how our bodies metabolize the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut. It’s important to recognize the substantiated research and studies behind the healthy benefits of other oils including olive.
Remember that coconut sugar is still a sugar even though it is being touted to offer more vitamins and minerals than white sugar. There is no single miracle food or ingredient, so I say enjoy all things coconut in moderation along with a healthy dietary pattern and lifestyle.
Thank you for joining me for the 2017 Food Trends!
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