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The Top stories in Nutrition Research in 2017


DSM Nutritional Products, Kaiseraugst, Switzerland


2017 was a year of rapid change is the arena of nutritional science. Following a vegan diet increased in popularity, but counter-intuitively, there was a decline in the “clean-eating trend” seen in previous years. Consumption of the green “super-veggie” kale was popular, but similar nutritional benefits were shown to be achieved from eating more common staple vegetables and fruits.

Our understanding of the factors behind the obesity explosion improved but increased in complexity. Happily for fans of a mug of chili hot chocolate, it was reported during the year that the components of chili peppers and dark chocolate appear to have health benefits.


Over the past few years, kale has achieved “super-veggie” status mainly on the basis of its content of health-promoting nutrients. It is indeed full of antioxidants, iron and eye-friendly carotenoids. As a result, many health-conscious consumers couldn’t resist adding this relatively unknown brassica to smoothies, pizza, or simply sautéing it as a feel-good side dish. However, it seems that kale’s crown as the queen of healthy green vegetables may be shifting. The US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared different green leafy vegetables for their nutrient content and found that kale was not in the top five (1,2). In fact, the top superfoods in 2017 were more mundane, featuring foods our grandmothers would have thought of as healthy, such as legumes, apples, cabbage and blueberries (3).

In 2017, we saw a decline in the clean eating trend (4) which promoted the importance of fresh and unprocessed food. To replace it, it seems more and more of us are interested in vegetarian and vegan products. In 2017, marketing data in the USA showed an increase of 8 percent in one year in the plant-foods category (5 ...

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