The Perpetual Problem With The American Diet


My marketing communications firm has been successfully advocating healthy lifestyles for nearly 30 years. Believe it or not, this was my first time at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo.The event took place in Atlanta from October 18 -21.  What I can’t believe myself is how the obesity issue continues to expand. We still have a lot of work to do in three main categories – 1) Portion Control 2) Snacking and 3) Sourcing.

Size matters

Did you realize that plates are 51% larger than they were 50 years ago? They have also become rimless.  I learned these facts from Livliga, a lifestyle brand that uses optical illusions to create subtle parameters on dinnerware, serveware and glassware.  According to Livliga over serving is a cultural problem not a personal one. Livliga uses visual cues like size, rim, shapes, design and color to help people “right-size” their eating in a super-sized world.  “It’s the eyes not the stomach that control what you eat,” said Sheila Dietrich who co-founded the company with her husband Walter after their family lost a combined 130 pounds through portion control. 

Eating healthy at home can help change the way you eat in general. Companies like Livliga help people make the right choices. Livliga in particular has an entire suite of product designs to help you retrain your eyes to reset your metabolism. 

The concept  is thoroughly researched and inspired by industry best-sellers like “Volumetrics,” “Mindless Eating,” “The Slow Diet,” and “The State of Slim.”

MealEnders is trying to help people master portion control by clearing cravings with lozenges that help your mouth and mind fight the urge to over indulge.  They are best taken when you are 80% full.

Tracking took the industry by storm and remains strong.   Everyone knows someone who is wearing a fitness tracker.  

Lose It! is taking trackers to the next level with a premium app that not only counts calorie intake and movement.  When hooked up to a tracker it will personalize your analysis to include nutrient intake, calories burned as well as body fat and measurements so you can reach your goals faster. Giving people the tools to know their body will help them reach their limits and exceed their expectations. 

On the GenoVive DNA Diet, scientists determine the correct balance of macronutrients based on your age, gender, height and weight are also used to determine the calorie level you need to fuel your metabolism.

I expect to see even more unique portion control helpers as the problems persists. 


Snacks account for approx 25% of calories Americans consume. Nutrition companies are embracing this trend by offering healthy foods in the forms of snacks. That’s what “Today” show nutrition expert Joy Bauer launched a snacking subscription service. Nourish Snacks deliver weekly goodies that are low cal and loaded with fiber and protein.  

Snacking is getting versatile too. Green Plate Foods makes what they refer to as “Nubbler" snacks which are healthy, nutrient-rich and can work in your child's lunch box or with a bottle of red wine.

I noticed that California Almonds created an Orla Keily look-alike bag with a matching almond box to carry the perfect number of almonds conveniently in case blood sugar gets low.

Bars are getting healthier too. You can see all the ingredients in the latest KIND bars by looking through the wrapper. No surprises, no hidden ingredients and new more savory flavors that you will LOVE!


What is in what we eat? That is what people are just starting to ask. The industry is helping to regulate how it answers. 

The National Aquaculture Association reports more confusion than ever about farm raised fish. They are doing their part to help educate consumers and answer their questions.

I learned that a sustainable seabass called Barramundi has high culinary value, high sustainability and the most omega 3’s. I expect to see more of it on menus. 

Sorghum, my favorite plant to identify when hiking, is emerging as the "it" authentic American whole grain, gluten-free non-gmo and it's high protein. 

It was good to see supplement companies like Jarrow focusing on new research and better ingredients.  Jarrow reported that its Sleep Optimizer, Greek Yogurtein and MagMind were the most popular at the show.  The MagMind is growing in popularity due to people's need to be able to concentrate and focus, but still feel relaxed and not jittery. In addition, it's one of the only forms of magnesium to cross the blood brain barrier. 

Functional Formulas is trying to give hope and nutrients to the sick. The sad truth is the sickest people are fed the worst foods. Robin Gentry McGee’s Functional Formularies is the first organic whole food formula for feeding tubes and replacement meals.

This event was attended by the top nutritionists, dieticians, and nutrition brands in the country. I’m hoping all these great minds can collaborate to get the American diet back on track. 

# # #

Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm.  Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives.  A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at  You may also visit

Posted November 4th, 2014




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here