The Better-For-You Movement - How You Can Embrace It
By: Melissa Mitri, MS,RD
We all want to live better, more healthier lives, and our diet choices are a major player in this. While consumer interest in nutrition has been increasing for some time, it has grown way beyond the nutritional value of food.
Known as the better-for-you movement, many people are taking a more holistic approach to their food choices - prioritizing the quality of the product, its ingredients, how it’s made, and where it’s sourced from.
What is the better-for-you movement and how did it come about, how has it changed the way food products are made, and how can you incorporate better-for-you choices into your diet?
Keep reading to learn more and why you should jump on the better-for-you bandwagon.
What is the Better-For-You Movement?
The better-for-you movement has been developing over the last 8-10 years but has begun to boom since 2019. In alignment with this movement, the definition of a “healthy food” is morphing beyond basic nutrition.
The concept is simple - in addition to interest in the nutritional value of food, there is a heightened focus on the quality of ingredients, where they are sourced, and transparency on food labels.
With this, there has been a big push for more products lower in sugar.
Consumers like you, rightfully so, want more out of their food. You want to know where your food comes from and what is in (and not in) a food product before you decide to purchase it.
There are 3 core trends associated with the better-for-you movement:
- Increased consumer consciousness of food choices with a holistic view
- Focus on the quality of ingredients
- Demand for transparency on food labels
For example, you may value food products sourced with local ingredients, those that contain less added sugar, or are made with only natural ingredients.
Consumer consciousness of food choices
You are more conscious of your food choices and want to know what’s in your food products.
You may be concerned about the level of processing in food, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and colors, and are looking at the product as a whole when making purchasing decisions.
This is perhaps one of the biggest components of the better-for-you movement - taking a holistic approach to nutrition versus a past focus on single nutrients in a food.
All of these factors come into play when deciding what to purchase, and people are looking beyond just fiber or fat content of a food.
Demand for better ingredients
There is also an increased demand for higher quality ingredients in products. In essence - you want to know what’s in your food and where it came from.
Alongside this demand, food manufacturers are trying to keep up and are aiming to source the best quality ingredients. Not everyone will meet the mark here, however- so it’s important to know what to look for.
One important ingredient to pay special attention to is sugar. As more research comes out on the potential harms of added sugar intake, you’re probably looking for ways to reduce your intake.
In addition, sugar has been seen to negatively impact our hormone levels, such as our stress hormone cortisol or insulin, which regulates our blood sugar.
Much of our added sugar intake comes from packaged processed foods. When looking at the nutrition label, look under the “total carbohydrates” where it says “added sugar.” The goal is to choose products that are as low in added sugar as possible.
Transparency on food labels
The ingredients in your food shouldn’t be a secret. Supporters of the better-for-you movement demand more transparency on food labels, and rightfully so.
There is also increased demand for more clean label products - ones that contain all-natural ingredients that you can pronounce. Because who wants mystery ingredients in their food? Not me!
Here at Zero Brands, our products contain no added sugar, are made with natural sweeteners, and we are 100% transparent on our food label and ingredient listings.
The Role of Social Media and Healthier Food Options
If you’re on social media, you’re probably overwhelmed with the magnitude of “healthy” food products and influencers out there. There are certainly healthier food options available, but it’s important to know how to separate fact from fiction in the social media world.
For example, seek out products that are supported by credentialed professionals, rather than celebrities or TikTok influencers. When a product is vetted by experts, it is more likely to be a higher quality product that is made with your health in mind.
As a Registered Dietitian, I only support products with the highest quality ingredients that contain minimal added sugar for health.
How to Incorporate Better-For-You Choices Into Your Diet
If you’re looking to include more better-for-you choices into your diet, it starts with knowing what is and isn’t in your food. Depending on your health goals, certain nutrients may matter more to you, but it’s also crucial to look at the food as a whole.
Read the nutrition label and ingredient list to know what’s in your food. If you’re looking for a place to start, simply choosing foods with little or no added sugar will benefit your health no matter what your goals are.
The best part is you can improve your health while still enjoying your favorite treats. Our Zero Brands ice cream bars are absolutely delicious and are naturally sweetened with monk fruit and steviol glycosides.
This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, prescribe, or treat any illness or condition, nor does it take the place of sound medical advice. You should always seek out your own medical care and determine the best diet and course of treatment for your unique health needs.