December 21/New York/PRNewswire -- In a survey by Pollock Communications, responses from more than 200 RDs in their network were tallied to identify the top 2012 nutrition trends for consumers and food companies. The survey revealed five nutrition trends that will make news and affect your choices in the coming year:

1. Go Green & Add Some Spice! Unprocessed, natural foods will be the biggest consumer nutrition trend in 2012:  Most RDs (72%) predict that consumers will continue to demand more local, organic, sustainable, fresh, minimally processed foods. With consumers returning to the table and cooking at home, they will become more aware of where their food is coming from and what it contains. RDs also agree (46%) that simplifying the ingredient list, (39%) sodium reduction and (37%) eliminating high fructose corn syrup, will play key roles in dietary modifications in the coming year. In addition, consumers will look to spice things up with exotic and ethnically diverse flavors and cuisines.

2. Diet Trifecta: Vitamins, Minerals & Fiber!  Eat more antioxidants and phytonutrients... and get more fiber:  Of the 204 responses, almost all RDs (96%) emphasize more antioxidants and phytonutrients in the diet, and many (59%) say consumers need more vitamins and minerals. While most agree that consumers are already consuming enough protein, carbohydrates and fats, RDs say Americans are lacking sufficient amounts of fiber from whole grains and fruits and vegetables.

3. 'Tis the Season! Seasonal and local fruits and vegetables rise to the top:  Almost all RDs (94%) agree that in the coming year there will be a bigger push for Americans to consume more fruits and vegetables. Eating seasonal and local plant based foods that are organically grown will be a big trend in the coming year, as well.

4. How Low Can You Go?; Go low with trans and saturated fat, sugar and sodium:  The majority of RDs (78%) name trans fats as the most harmful nutrient in the diet, followed by added sugars (68%), saturated fat (58%) and sodium (52%). In 2012, we will see a greater emphasis on reducing these harmful dietary hazards.

5. Make Your Plate Look Like MyPlate! Use USDA's MyPlate as your guide:  Many (69%) RDs are using MyPlate to counsel patients, and it will continue to play a role in diet recommendations through 2012. MyPlate recommends half the plate consist of vegetables and fruit, with the other half made up mostly of whole grains and a small portion of lean protein.

"As RDs, we are at the forefront of nutrition issues, consumers' perceptions and diet and lifestyle behaviors," says Julie Upton, MS, RD. "It's our goal to help provide our expertise to debunk the common myths and misperceptions and provide our insights with consumers and food and beverage manufacturers."

When it comes to diet and nutrition, RDs know best. Louise Pollock, founder and president of Pollock Communications, adds, "As key influencers in food and nutrition, RDs shape consumer food shopping decisions, affect health policy, impact nutrition trends in the media and promote evidence-based recommendations. At Pollock, we always seek their expertise when advising our food clients."

 From the December 22, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.