Food trends are pretty much a dime a dozen... of cronuts, of course. Yes, I know that cronuts aren't really a thing anymore, but that just proves my point! Our fascination jumps from things like cronuts to fairy bread to unicorn, well, anything — and that's just to name a few — as quickly as the speed of light. So, imagine my surprise when I noticed something a little different on a list of food trends expected to shape 2018 that ran in Forbes on Thursday: biohacking. Are you doing an impression of the shrugging emoji right now? Totally fair. You will, however, want to learn more about what biohacking is, especially now you know that it's likely slated to make a big splash in the coming year.
When I noticed that BioHacking was listed alongside something called NeuroNutrition as number four on this list of 2018 food trends from Forbes, I had really no clue what to expect. My only previous knowledge of it comes from an old episode of Shark Tank, in which two entrepreneurs tried (and failed) to convince the sharks that their revolutionary brand of precisely portioned, nutrient-packed chewable coffee, NootoBox, was bound to be the next big thing. While I wasn't particularly impressed by the sales pitch, I was pretty intrigued by their self-identification as biohackers, so I was excited to learn more about it.
If you're a fan of more general "life hacks," then this idea should sound pretty familiar to you. According to Dr. Axe, BioHacking is basically the practice of systematically hacking your body's biology in order to help you zero in on better ways to fuel and take care of it. Common practices for biohackers include elimination diets, meditation, and grounding (a fancy word for going barefoot and absorbing the energy from the earth). While something like an elimination diet doesn't sound body positive or fun, it's important to note that they aren't intended for weight loss. The idea here is to test out different kinds measures to see how your body reacts. If you feel like your bodyhacking has been successful, you can figure out how to implement those changes to improve your overall wellness.
While there is some skepticism in the BioHacking community around the way some creators in Silicon Valley have embraced the concept and started using it to develop new health-related technologies, it's those technologies that have made serious biohackers a community to watch. Per Forbes, BioHacking can be channeled to "create a science for more individualized nutrition and products." Along with NeuroNutrition — which focuses on how food affects the brain — the practice has the potential to unlock new food technologies that will hopefully begin to turn the tide on many of the health epidemics people are currently struggling with.
More specifically and thanks to BioHacking, Forbes predicts that we'll start to see omega-3s "explode" as an ingredient in a wide range of food and beverages. These omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, depression, arthritis, and more. Your body can't make omega-3s on its own, so it was up to biohackers to take the widespread information about how healthy they are and figure out how to work them into more edible products.
With BioHacking on the rise, we may also see an expansion of restaurants focused on this kind of approach. Forbes cites London's Squirrel Restaurant as one example: The on-staff nutritionists help customers there select menu items that are best engineered for their individual needs.
While some parts of this are far from new — we've been seeing claims about how various foods can improve our health, longevity, and brain function for years — what does seem to be up and coming is the intentionality around biohacking as a practice. With the upstart community of biohackers comes a new focus on the actual hacking as the basis for product development. If Forbes prediction is true, I'll be anxious to keep my eye on these food trends in 2018!