Lifestyle Diets and the Pharmacy Connection — part one

May 17, 2018By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Step into Natural

by Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager, for the Step into Natural blog series

When most people hear the word “diet” they think of fad eating programs that help with weight loss. There have been many over the years, from the baby food diet to the grapefruit diet. These are short-term solutions that do not sustain any meaningful weight loss over time.

Lifestyle diets are anything but short term. While weight loss can be one of the motivations for people to choose a lifestyle diet, the majority of followers believe that humans are designed to eat the foods the diet proposes.

While lifestyle diets vary immensely, they are all revolting against the standard American diet (SAD) which is "rich in red meat, dairy products, processed and artificially sweetened foods, and salt, with minimal intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, and whole grains,” according to Wikipedia.

In this post, I will cover three examples of the lifestyle diets that are popular in 2018. My second post on lifestyle diets will cover four types. Throughout the year, I will take a deeper dive into these diets and expand upon their implications for independent pharmacy.Food choices

Low FODMAP: An eating style first developed in Australia for IBS sufferers. According to Monash University, FODMAPs are “a collection of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut, which can trigger symptoms in people with IBS.” FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.  FODMAPs are found naturally in many foods and food additives and can also be found in medications, so your patients may be looking for low-FODMAP options.

Gluten Free: The Mayo Clinic describes the gluten-free diet as “a diet that excludes the protein gluten which is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and…triticale.” A gluten-free diet is used for managing symptoms of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The gluten-free diet has found its way into popular culture with many using it as a fad diet; however, for those with a medical condition, it is essential. Your customers may seek not only medications that are gluten free, but also personal care products because accidental ingestion of the gluten protein can occur.

Plant Based: Also known as vegan, plant-based diets remove all products that come from animals including meat, dairy, eggs, and even honey. Vegans also avoid animal by-products in their medications, make-up, and personal care items and actively seek products that do not engage in animal testing. describes veganism’s anchoring aim as eliminating “the use and harm of living beings.” Those who choose this style of eating for health reasons only may prefer the term “plant-based” over “vegan,” and are less likely to be strict about non-food products.

Watch for the second part of this post, covering paleo, allergen avoidance, ketogenic, and fasting diets. Sign up to receive updates and information from  HRG so you won't miss my future posts with more details on these lifestyle diets and their consumer profiles, influencers, and effects on pharmacy in future posts.