The top 3 nutrition trends for 2021 all have something in common: To win this year, you’ve got to get personal.
2020 taught all of us a lot about ourselves. With the whole world turned upside down for so many of us, we had to reexamine what was important. We spent quality time with our values, our fears, and most of all, our health. It was a year where we were at times forced to learn, to evaluate what we needed personally. This came with reprioritizing and letting go of what didn’t really matter.
In 2021, our demands will be personal.
The top 3 nutrition and health trends of 2021 are all woven together by a common theme. The thread that binds them all is you. You’ll notice that each top trend begins with the word “personalized”. Let that serve as a reminder that you, the nutrition practitioner, are the pattern maker. You tailor all of your care to the needs of your clients.
Personalized nutrition is not a new concept, but it has become essential.
It has been on trends lists for a decade or more, and trust me, I know. I helped put it there when I first started teaching and prescribing personalized nutrition twenty years ago.
“Have it Your Way” began with Burger King in the 1970s, and was co-opted by Subway’s #searchforbetter campaign in 2016. But the notion of personalized food and nutrition is much more than a slogan.
In 2021, the demand for personalized nutrition will eclipse all others.
The Top Diets of 2021 won’t be:
- Intermittent fasting
Instead, the winners will be practitioner’s customized versions of these diets that are specific to their clients:
Plants with personalization powers will take center stage.
Ingredients such as adaptogens, mushrooms, and cannabinoids will rise to the top of their markets and help our individual bodies find better balance.
Clients want something that helps their bodies adapt for better focus, better energy, and less daily anxiety rather than a pill or potion that directs internal traffic the same way, every day, in every body.
Our BNP guides help practitioners, clients, and prospects develop personalized better nutrition choices for these powerful plants, while sorting out which products are better and which to avoid.
Sales of one-size-fits-all multivitamins will drop.
First of all, too many multivitamins don’t include minerals (or enough minerals). That’s so 1990s! Second, they fail to give enough of a nutrient or don’t have the right form of another. And third, if 60 is the new 40, why would any 60 year old take a supplement that is for 55+?!
Supplements based on age and gender will fall in favor of blends or individual ingredients that practitioners and their clients can adjust to meet their needs better.[Learn more HERE about incorporating personalized supplement sales into your business to turn big profits. Help your clients achieve better nutrition through personalized recommendations and grow you business at the same time!]
2021 will ditch trendy influencers (finally!).
A craving for personalization ironically ushered in the era of influencer marketing. This is now leading to a rejection of the influencer in favor of the self. Even more ironic, don’t you think?
So many of our clients want so desperately to know what could work for them, that they invest in what worked for someone else who they thought or, in most cases, hoped they could emulate.
But after many failed investments, they’ve figured out these curtain exposures. Many influencers don’t actually do what they say & show. They got results following personalized regimes. So let’s reject the influencer and follow suit. In 2021, we want to help clients figure out their own body’s needs.
Finally, clients will pass on programs, magazines, and books that offer mass recommendations. Instead, they’ll favor those that help them develop and refine personalized nutrition plans.
More on that in trend #3, keep reading!
We’ve also been on this trend for at least a decade. Researchers began to question our reliance on double-blind placebo studies – the larger the better – compared to single subject clinical trials. These trials consider an individual patient as the sole unit of observation in studies investigating the efficacy or side-effect profiles of different interventions (a.k.a. N of 1).
We are at an all time high with consumer distrust of science. This is especially true in regards to health science, following decades of pained experience with nutrition science’s whiplash rules that historically offer 180 degree recommendation flops.
Even outside of the realm of nutrition, we see conflicting medical advice lead to mistrust. Recent examples abound, and many are, of course, COVID-related. “Wearing a mask won’t help” butts up against “Wearing a mask is the most effective prevention tool”. At the end of the day, the average person is left confused and no better off.
We’ve needed someone or something to blame for the deaths of loved ones who didn’t smoke but got lung cancer, who exercised and died of a heart attack, who ate “right” yet became afflicted with such physical pain that all acts of daily living were challenging. From the outside looking in, it’s not a stretch to see why so many people with no real understanding of science or medicine don’t trust it.
The single most important thing we’ve learned about health in 2020 is that personalization is a must.
For too long, our medicine hasn’t felt that way. Our bodies are measured against lab values based on research done on different genders, weights, or heights. These values don’t factor in the type or location of our body mass. Medications are prescribed as prevention or quick treatment without accounting for genetics.
In 2021, we – practitioners and patients – will loudly say “NO MORE” (all caps!) to mass medicine.
It will be some time before the practice of medicine and insurance reimbursement catch up. This will continue to add stress and deepen frustration on all sides.
However, as practitioners, the change can start with us.
We will see continued investment in precision medicine research, protocols, tools (ahem, The Better Nutrition Program total nutrition assessment tools), programs, and even in the marketing of foods and supplements (1).[Understand how to use our evaluations to personalize and build your business HERE.]
Personalized vs. Precision Medicine – what’s the difference?
The U.S. National Library of Medicine tells us that “there is a lot of overlap between the terms ‘precision medicine’ and ‘personalized medicine.’ According to the National Research Council, ‘personalized medicine’ is an older term with a meaning similar to ‘precision medicine.’ However, there was concern that the word ‘personalized’ could be misinterpreted to imply that treatments and preventions are being developed uniquely for each individual; in precision medicine, the focus is on identifying which approaches will be effective for which patients based on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The Council therefore preferred the term ‘precision medicine’ to ‘personalized medicine.’ However, some people still use the two terms interchangeably (2).”
We will see more N of 1 clinical trials and hear more practitioners discuss their “anecdotal” evidence as research they can apply to personalizing recommendations (3).
The practitioner (you) will partner with patients to become the hero in the era of Personalized Medicine. Evidence and practice-based personalization will develop better protocols.
And now, for our final Top 3 nutrition and health trend of 2021.
Whether it’s the recommendations you develop for clients, or the recommendations you receive for your business, in 2021, if it’s not personalized, it’s not better.
As we’ve covered, 2021 isn’t kicking off the idea of personalization. It’s bringing it to the forefront and turning it into a MUST: a must to stand out, a must to compete, and a must for better outcomes.
Google and WebMD get billions of searches a day.
But what people are really searching for is
Their pursuit of personalized solutions has not gone unnoticed. It will continue to be where their money goes in 2021.
From Weight Watchers and Noom, to Apple Watches and Oura Rings, to supplements and meal plans designed “personally” for you based on lab results and quizzes, winning solutions are doing their best to massively scale personalization.
The problem? It doesn’t work.
While these will continue to see growth, their growth has limits as we move from the initial phase of “data collection” to personalized solutions that help us make better use of the data.
Counting macros got us further than counting calories. But, that’s still not better. Personalization now enables health success by understanding our body’s needs and how our body is using nutrients.
Evaluations will help us get to the root cause.
GI Maps and DUTCH tests will complement total nutrition assessment tools like The Better Nutrition Program’s Magnesium and Calcium evaluations. Eye scans will test the development of leakiness or glycation in our eye membranes and, when paired with The Better Nutrition Program’s Eye Evaluation (developed with functional neuro-opthamologist, Dr. Rani Banik), help practitioners make deliciously doable recommendations to prevent and address eye issues.
“Ashley and her team are well established as the leading authority in nutrition and integrative health. I could not have asked for a better partner in developing this eye health assessment tool!
Dr. Rani Banik
Integrative Ophthalmologist & Founder of Envision Health NYC
We will see a rejection of “because you are or have X, you need Y.” Instead, clients will favor “based on your current total nutrition, health, lifestyle, and history, your plan starts with A and B, then we will C what’s better.”
This will help us grow as practitioners.
For example, we will learn that not all vegans need B12. Many people, regardless of their protein choices, might need a methylated sublingual form for cognitive and heart health. We will not prescribe calcium supplementation for all “small white women”. Instead, we’ll look at individual intakes to determine needs for calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K.
We’ll make recommendations based on access, preference, and digestive health.
Oh, and while we know that likely everyone needs more vitamin D, we will move away from recommendations based on age or access to sunlight and veer toward ones based on gut health, fat intake, and genetics.
Each of these offerings is more personalized than where we were, however they don’t offer true personalization that a practitioner-patient collaboration can deliver. Labs, quizzes, and trackable data such as hours slept or macros consumed only tell us parts of a person’s total design.
It is the practitioner- patient collaboration that sews together individual versions of “better”.
Because of this, we will see practitioner-patient collaborations focused on getting to the root cause. Personalized treatment protocols will eclipse those where a practitioner prescribes from some data set alone.
So there we have it.
2021 will be so much more personal, now more than ever before.
Are you ready for it? If you are a healthcare provider, is your business built to optimize personalization? Let’s go more in-depth on this together!
I’m hosting a FREE Personalized Nutrition Business Masterclass on Thursday, January 28th at 2:00pm EST. CLICK HERE to reserve your spot. I’d be thrilled to see you there!
Before the masterclass, I invite you to learn more about our evaluations. The success stories I’ve been able to help my colleagues write for themselves make me extremely proud, and they all start with personalized mentorship and BNP evaluations.
“Having [BNP] Evaluations will help any healthcare practitioner… Using the tools, they can conduct the most thorough nutrition assessment at that very first client appointment to then provide personalized, total, better recommendations – and results.”Becca McConville, RD, LD, CSSD, CEDRD
BNP Evaluations are a great way to build trust while interacting with your clients, and enable you to personalize all of your recommendations. The best part? All of our evaluations are included in The Shop of ToolsTM, which takes personalization to the next level with everything you need already done for you to save time and money.
Finally, if you can’t tell, mentoring practitioners through this process is my all-out passion in life. Book a complimentary mentorship session with me to discuss ways your business can stay on trend and ahead of the competition to make 2021 the year you dominate your field. I know you can do it!
(1) What is the difference between precision medicine and personalized medicine? What about pharmacogenomics? Medline Plus Website. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/precisionmedicine/definition/. Accessed Jan 2021.
(2) What is the difference between precision medicine and personalized medicine? What about pharmacogenomics? Medline Plus Website. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/precisionmedicine/precisionvspersonalized/. Accessed Jan 2021.
(3) Offord, Catherine. N-of-1 Trials Take on Challenges in Health Care. What about pharmacogenomics? The Scientist Website. https://www.the-scientist.com/features/n-of-1-trials-take-on-challenges-in-health-car-66071. Published July 2019. Accessed Jan 2021.