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Protein – Yay, Sugar – Nay

As part of the Upsiide 2019 Food Trends study, we examined dietary trends. Our goal was to find out which dietary trends are popular in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and how their popularity varies across genders and generations.

What did we find?

High protein, low sugar popular in North America

In both the United States and Canada, there seems to be a connection between high protein diets and low carb/low sugar diets. Over 50% of US and Canada respondents like “High protein”, and over 40% like “Low carb” and “Low/zero sugar”; compared with 43% and 36% in the UK, respectively.

Previous research indicates that Americans are increasingly blaming carbs, especially sugar, for weight gain. Studies about the negative health effects of diets high in carbohydrates as well as viral articles and videos about the downsides of sugar have been popularizing the idea that minimizing carbs and sugar is better for weight loss than minimizing fat intake. The rising popularity of protein can be attributed to the increased recognition of its role in a healthy diet.

Dietary trends fall into five territories

Dietary trends appear to be clustered in several distinct groups, or “territories”. Respondents who like a trend from one territory, are more likely to like other trends from the same territory. For example, respondents who like “Calorie control” are also more likely to like “Reducing/eliminating snacking”.

The five dietary territories are:

•      Portion/calorie control

•      High protein

•      Detox

•      Plant-based and fad diets (keto, low FODMAP, Whole 30, etc.)

•      Eating for pleasure without focusing on nutritional details

Reducing meat consumption is becoming more mainstream

The “Vegetarian” dietary trend is popular among 35% of US respondents, 37% of Canada respondents and 39% of UK respondents. In each country, this score is close to the average of all the dietary trends tested. “Vegan” scores 26% in all three countries. The meat-free trend is driven by Millennials. According to prior research, two-fifths of Canadians are eating vegetarian options more often than they used to; and 31 percent of Americans practice meat-free days. Health benefits, animal welfare issues and the environmental costs of meat production are factors driving this trend, especially among Millennials.

Interested in viewing the full results and analysis?

Download the Report

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