Current Dietary Trends That Every Restauranteur Needs to Know

Current Dietary Trends That Every Restauranteur Needs to Know

How we eat determines how we dine, there’s no way around it. The current dietary trends on the horizon are the Restauranteur’s golden ticket to menu success. When new diet trends hit society and everyone is making their New Year’s Resolutions, it’s food industry wisdom to lean in and see what the consumers are buzzing about. If you’ve been in the industry for a quarter of a second, you know that the first quarter of the year is all about weight loss, healthy eating, and the reduction of processed foods for nearly every American who pledges to live healthier this year.

Current dietary trends not only shape your menu, but the observance (or lack thereof) can make or break it.

What you may not be considering is that some of these popular diets have more staying power than you may have predicted. So if you’re curious about what diet trends will last past the first quarter and what American consumers are turning to in an attempt to move past weight loss diets or a basic low-fat diet plan and into a lifestyle that helps them battle chronic disease, it’s time to use that industry wisdom and lean-in for a listen. We’ve got the buzz on current dietary trends with staying power, and you’re gonna wanna hear this.

Keto Diet

The controversial diet trend that won’t quit. The song that doesn’t end. Name it what you will but this eating plan has been hailed as the savior of the all popular diets currently on the market in the United States. The Keto Diet is centered around a very high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate ratio. According to the National Institutes of Health, the ratio is approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. This is music to every bacon-lover’s ears!

We couldn’t resist. It’s bacon. But this is one of the current dietary trends that has no intention of making an exit any time soon. Did we mention bacon?


A very important component to note about this particular diet plan is the “net carb” count.

Carbohydrate count minus dietary fiber = net carbs.

If a food item contains 20g of carbohydrates but 15g of dietary fiber, the net carbohydrate count would actually be     5 g. This is the amount of carbohydrates that actually matter. If a person on the keto diet has approximately 40 g of carbohydrates to eat per day based upon their macro ratios, they would have 35 left. When calculating an item as “keto” this can make or break it’s ability to be in the category. There is a small contraindication to this diet for those who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.


Zero animal products. Peta-friendly. And a chart-topper in the battle against chronic diseases. Whether your particular customer base is riding the plant-based wave or just are believers in preserving the cuddly friend population, the Vegan diet is here to stay.

Avocado toast. One of the most popular Vegan menu offerings out there. 100% animal protein free and delicious. 

What is important to note is that there are ingredients that contain animal products that may be surprising to some. Gelatin, for example, is an animal-sourced product. Peta has a great comprehensive list (no surprise there). This is helpful when it comes to oils and other smaller components of an ingredient or casing that may moonlight as animal-free but actually isn’t


One of the most common current dietary trends is the Vegetarian lifestyle. Widely accepted in the restaurant/food industry are the eating habits of the lacto-ovo vegetarian. This functions more on the plant-based side of the flexitarian lifestyle (we’ll get to that later). This lifestyle observer consumes vegetables, grains, dairy products (lacto), and eggs (ovo).

The excerpt below our furry friend from Mayo Clinic gives a great breakdown of this multi-faceted eating plan and clearly depicts what food groups are allowed for each category.

There might be many Vegetarian types, but they all agree, this dude is off the eating plan.

Types of vegetarian diets

When people think about a vegetarian diet, they typically think about a diet that doesn’t include meat, poultry or fish.

But vegetarian diets vary in what foods they include and exclude:

Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included.

Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs.

Pescatarian diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish.

Vegan diets exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products — and foods that contain these products.


Primarily a plant-based diet but includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry and fish on occasion or in small quantities. The eating habits of a Flexitarian are, well, flexible. This eating plan doesn’t necessarily exclude any food groups but it does promote a reduction in the consumption of animal protein in exchange for plant proteins and the inclusion of more healthy foods like fruits and veggies. This particular eating plan is less of a restrictive diet and more centered around healthy eating and the inclusion of whole foods like whole grains and other nutrient dense options.

Paleo Diet

A grain-free, popular diet which is high in grass-fed lean animal proteins. Dairy products are excluded from this diet completely, as well as legumes, nightshades, coffee, alcohol and refined sugars. Here’s a great article from Harvard listing the foods that are allowed and not allowed in this lifestyle program.

Diabetic or Blood Sugar Friendly

A person who has been diagnosed with Diabetes are more likely to be more conscious of their eating habits than the average customer. Diabetics need to consume foods that do not cause spikes in blood sugar. They refer to a guide that is called the Glycemic index. This guide allocates a number system to every food based upon their impact on blood sugar. Diabetics are taught to eat foods that are LOW on the glycemic index. The Glycemic Index Foundation created a GI symbol for diabetic consumers to look for on packaging to understand that the product contains an acceptable score on the glycemic index.


Not to be confused with a wheat-allergy. A person following a Gluten-free diet may be doing so for a number of reasons. Gluten, the protein found in wheat, has been proven to cause an inflammatory response upon consumption. When a person who deals with chronic disease, chronic pain, auto-immune or digestive disease consumes gluten, their symptoms are often increased, causing discomfort. As a result, those who fit within those health categories are often encouraged to follow a gluten-free diet. This eating plan is wheat-free. Wheat products in popular restaurant dishes are often replaced with starches that have rice, corn or potato as their core ingredient in place of wheat, thus making them gluten-free.

Need help categorizing your menu for the various dietary preferences of your diners? MenuCalc is the leading nutrition calculator, menu organization tool and most-trusted recipe database in the industry. Contact us for more information.

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