Diets that could be anchored in the '80s





Susan Bowerman, Herbalife Nutrition's Director of Education and Nutrition Training, discusses how weight control diets and dietary preferences have evolved over the past four decades

According to WHO, more than 650 million adults suffer from overweight and obesity, a public health problem with rising expectations by 2025. However, despite its current relevance, concern over the weight is a concern that has been dragging since the 1980s, when the population of the rich countries began to spend and consume more food, rapidly spreading throughout the rest of the world.


Coinciding with this boom, a tendency to try to control the weight began in parallel, with diets that have evolved over the years to this day, when there is a consensus around the need for balanced nutrition and an active and healthy lifestyle always.

For Susan Bowerman, from Herbalife Nutrition, diets have evolved since the 1980s, starting with the famous soups of cabbage, going through the depuratives, to the current of the decade.

What happened in the 1980s, “fascinating” diets
The 1980s was based on the trend of low-fat and high-carbohydrate diets. The intention was to reduce the fats of any source, even those healthy, and to consume many carbohydrates (including a lot of sugar), something that today would be considered as an unthinkable diet for many.

Fashion diets were:

  • The diet of cabbage soup, which consisted basically of water and cabbage. It is not surprising that people lose weight, but also, they lost many vitamins, minerals and proteins.
  • The Beverly Hills diet consisted of a combination of food that helped to avoid the consumption of carbohydrates and protein at the same time. This generated weight loss, but not for the diet itself but because proteins and carbohydrates could not be consumed at the same time, so the portions were naturally smaller.

It was the beginning of the nutrition centres, which promoted and offered prepared meals, although the real key to their success was the support and advice they offered, something that is still working.

It was a time when new product categories emerged, such as food supplements and companies such as Herbalife Nutrition, focused on weight control and maintenance programs from substitute smoothies of some meals.

The 1990s: All the above and a bag of “light” potatoes
Without disappearing interest in low-fat and high-carbohydrate diets, new “no-fat” foods emerged, such as cookies and snacks, thinking that their consumption did not generate weight gain. The problem is that these “no fat” products were not “no calories,” and the population understood that consuming them, contributed to gaining weight. It was a few years when diets began to take a more balanced course.

The most popular diets in this decade were:

  • The diet of the area, which recommended that each meal include 40% of calories from carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat, creating a big difference with the low fat diets of the 1980s.
  • The diet based on the type of blood, which proposed various recommendations according to the type of person's blood. While it is true that this diet has already been discredited, it directed the attention, or perhaps laid the foundations, for a trend focused on “personalized nutrition”, something that is still in the bog.

At this time it began to interest and studies around the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, which part of consuming foods of vegetable origin, healthy fats from nuts and olive oil, and reduce the consumption of refined carbohydrates to a minimum, including sugar. In the 1990s, there was also an interest in fiber, and vegetarianism began to become a growing trend. The substitute for calorie-free fat, Olestra, became a very popular ingredient in fried foods; however, it quickly forgot as the body did not absorb it properly and caused digestive problems.


This was what began to “surrender” since 2000
The new era came with a major change in food, focused on increased protein consumption and lower carbohydrate consumption. Over time, the food industry created new low carbohydrate options to match this trend. But, as with the low-fat fashion of the 1980s, many consumers abused these low-carbohydrate foods – but not low in calories – and had difficulty reaching their weight loss goals. Korean Beauty

The three most popular diets were:

  • The Atkins diet, a very low carbohydrate diet, Atkins was very popular in the 1960s, and modified over and over.
  • The depurative diet, the favorite of celebrities, consisted of eating lemon juice, pepper, some honey and water, and it was the diet of the new millennium's cabbage soup.
  • The Special K diet, which proposed replacing two daily meals with milk and cereals and, therefore, controlling portions and calories.

It was a time when the fashion of raw food also arose, but it did not thrive, as it was mainly aimed at vegans. Some free-sale fat blockers were available to the public and trans fats were satanized, when it became known how dangerous they were for cardiovascular health. “Supe Size Me”, the documentary that showed the dangers of large fast foods, led McDonald’s to make some changes in their menus. Foods like green tea began to gain importance, and organic food stores appeared in each corner.

The 2010s was very “intensa”
In those years, the keto diet and the paleo diet became very important, along with the trend of intermittent fasting.

The four most relevant diets of that time are:

  • The diet of baby food, consisting of controlling portions; adults consumed baby food instead of regular food, but it was something that not many could keep for a long time. It also made it impossible to eat at some restaurant.
  • Gluten-free diets, a very popular weight loss strategy, as they naturally eliminated foods that contain wheat, such as bread, pasta and cereals. But once the industry discovered how to remove gluten – and maintain calories – the weight loss was slowed again.
  • The Paleo diet, designed to imitate the feeding of the ancestors, who hunted and collected, based on that it is consistent with genetic composition. This food pattern includes lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and suppress dairy, cereals and legumes.
  • Intermittent fasting has several variants, but currently the most popular one is in which all the food of the day is consumed within an eight-hour period, while in the remaining 16-hours fasting. Although this can be a natural way to cut calories, as for some people this can mean removing a meal, it can affect nutrient intake if careful decisions are not taken.

During the past decade, alternatives to real meat and alternative vegetable beverages to milk appeared.

New decade, same trends
In this decade, everything has evolved, but there is a common pattern of trends.

  • Weight control.

We remain concerned about weight control and companies like Herbalife Nutrition are aligned to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.

  • Food in small portions and support systems.

A proven concept since the 1980s. People have opted for food substitutes or rations solutions for many years, but often without any guide. This demonstrates the importance and need to train the population about balanced nutrition and healthy habits, something offered by the Herbalife Nutrition independent distributor network.

  • Custom nutrition.

People respond differently to different diets, but only from the customization of nutrition will achieve goals and motivation. In Herbalife Nutrition there are customizable products and nutrition plans that help get results.

  • Diets based on sustainable plants and ingredients.

Now more than ever, people are aware of the importance of a balanced diet. In fact, the Mediterranean Diet, which had its first peak in the 1990s, was named the Best Integral Diet of 2020 by the US News and World Report. Taking into account the impact on climate and environment, plant-based and sustainable ingredients in their value chain will continue to acquire popularity while people realize how their food choices create an impact on themselves and the environment.

Diets that could be anchored in the

Diets that could be anchored in the '80s

Susan Bowerman, Herbalife Nutrition's Director of Education and Nutrition Training, discusses how weight control diets and dietary preferences have evolved ove





Diets that could be anchored in the
Diets that could be anchored in the

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