How are 2019’s food and beverage trends like oat milk, MCTs, and probiotic cereal influencing women’s health and nutrition? Learn which nutrition trends women are embracing and why—plus the latest nutrient and calorie recommendations for women at every age.
Top Women’s Health and Nutrition Needs
The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans report has identified serious nutrient gaps in the typical American diet, with the top nutrients of concern being dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and for females of menstruating age, iron.1 These last three nutrients are especially significant for women.
Nutritious Diet vs. Nutritional Supplements
According to the Dietary Guidelines, low intakes of these nutrients are primarily due to eating patterns that are low in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy. Fortunately, healthy eating is on-trend, but many Americans still have a long way to go to achieve optimal nutrition.
Fortified foods and nutritional supplements can play an important role in meeting these nutrient shortfalls—especially those containing calcium, vitamin D, and iron for women.
Macronutrients for Women
Women should aim for about 46 grams of protein and 130 grams of carbohydrates per day, while limiting their fat intake to 20-35% of the day’s calories.
Fiber needs range from 22.4-28 grams daily, depending on age. As a nutrient of concern, fiber (which is plentiful in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits) is important in reducing the risk of heart disease. Women of every age should strive to keep their added sugars and saturated fat intakes below 10% of their daily calories.
Women’s Estimated Daily Macronutrient Needs by Age2
|Age||Protein (g)||Carbs (g)||Dietary Fiber (g)||Added Sugars
Micronutrients for Women
Sufficient calcium and vitamin D intakes are important in preventing osteoporosis. Women’s daily calcium requirements are 1,000 mg through age 50 and 1,200 mg thereafter, while their vitamin D needs are 600 IU through age 70 and 800 IU thereafter.
In addition, women should ensure sufficient iron intakes to reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia. Iron requirements are high for women (at 18 mg) through age 50 and then drop to 8 mg. Potassium is another nutrient of concern, as most Americans are not meeting the recommended intake.
Women’s Estimated Daily Mineral Needs by Age for 6 Key Minerals3
Women’s Estimated Daily Vitamin Needs by Age for 6 Key Vitamins4
Women’s Varying Calorie Needs
A top priority in women’s health and nutrition is achieving a healthy weight, as more than half of American women are overweight or obese. Women’s calorie needs are based on age and activity level, with younger women and active women requiring more calories.
Women’s Estimated Daily Calorie Needs by Age and Activity Level5
Popular Nutrition Trends for Women
Plant-based and vegan lifestyles have become more popular than ever. While a shift toward more legumes, whole grains, and vegetables is essential to increasing dietary intakes of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, anyone eliminating all animal products should be sure to supplement with vitamin B12, as it’s not found in plants. Dairy alternatives (like oat milk and coconut yogurt) that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D can also help support a healthy vegan lifestyle.
Digestive health for women is also trending this year. Shelf-stable probiotic foods (including breakfast cereals and nutrition bars), foods containing prebiotic fibers, and naturally-fermented kombucha have expanded the options beyond yogurt.
Women’s interest in weight loss is helping to drive the trend in low and no added sugar products, such as reduced sugar ice creams and flavored waters. The keto diet—based on the elimination of non-fiber carbs and the addition of MCTs to promote ketosis—is another trending weight loss plan. Since the keto diet restricts certain food groups such as fruits and grains, anyone using this diet over the long term should consider nutritional supplements.
Make It a Healthy Food Future
Under the new nutrition label regulations, vitamin D and added sugars will become mandatory label nutrients (like calcium and iron), allowing women to easily compare these nutrients across products to make the healthiest choice. Smart formulation and fortification strategies can help manufacturers create the food and beverage products that women want and need.
Learn more about fortifying your products to support women’s health and nutrition!
1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, 8th Ed. (2015). Ch. 2 Shifts Needed To Align With Healthy Eating Patterns. Retrieved from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/a-closer-look-at-current-intakes-and-recommended-shifts/#underconsumed-nutrients
2-4. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, 8th Ed. (2015). Appendix 7. Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations. Retrieved from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-7/
5. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, 8th Ed. (2015). Appendix 2. Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level. Retrieved from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-2/