- Search by keyword
- Search by citation
Page 1 of 37
Association of dietary inflammatory index and the SARS-CoV-2 infection incidence, severity and mortality of COVID-19: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis
Several studies have reported the association between dietary inflammatory index (DII) and the SARS-CoV-2 infection risk, severity or mortality of COVID-19, however, the outcomes remain controversial.
- View Full Text
Breakfast quality and its sociodemographic and psychosocial correlates among Italian children, adolescents, and adults from the Italian Nutrition & HEalth Survey (INHES) study
Breakfast quality, together with regularity of breakfast, has been suggested to be associated with cardiometabolic health advantages. We aimed to evaluate the quality of breakfast and its socioeconomic and psy...
The association between lifelines diet score (LLDS) with depression and quality of life in Iranian adolescent girls
It has been proposed that a greater degree of adherence to a healthy dietary pattern is associated with a lower risk of depression and a poor quality of life (QoL). The Lifelines diet score (LLDS) is a new, ev...
Diet in secondary prevention: the effect of dietary patterns on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and network meta-analysis
Improving dietary habits is a first-line recommendation for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is unclear which dietary pattern most effectively lowers cardiovascular risk factors and what the shor...
Prognostic potential of nutritional risk screening and assessment tools in predicting survival of patients with pancreatic neoplasms: a systematic review
The nutritional evaluation of pancreatic cancer (PC) patients lacks a gold standard or scientific consensus, we aimed to summarize and systematically evaluate the prognostic value of nutritional screening and ...
40 years of adding more fructose to high fructose corn syrup than is safe, through the lens of malabsorption and altered gut health–gateways to chronic disease
Labels do not disclose the excess-free-fructose/unpaired-fructose content in foods/beverages. Objective was to estimate excess-free-fructose intake using USDA loss-adjusted-food-availability (LAFA) data (1970–...
Relationship between trajectories of dietary iron intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: evidence from a prospective cohort study
The association between dietary iron intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) remains inconsistent. In this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between trajectories of dietary iron in...
Dietary pattern and precocious puberty risk in Chinese girls: a case-control study
The role of dietary intake on precocious puberty remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate the association between the amount and frequency of dietary intake and the risk of precocious puberty in Chines...
Tracking progress toward a climate-friendly public food service strategy: assessing nutritional quality and carbon footprint changes in childcare centers
Public food procurement and catering are recognized as important leverage points in promoting sustainable and healthy dietary habits. This study aimed to analyze changes in nutritional quality and carbon footp...
Avocado intake and cardiometabolic risk factors in a representative survey of Australians: a secondary analysis of the 2011–2012 national nutrition and physical activity survey
Avocados are a rich source of nutrients including monounsaturated fats, dietary fibre and phytochemicals. Higher dietary quality is reported in studies of consumers with higher avocado intakes. The present stu...
Components in downstream health promotions to reduce sugar intake among adults: a systematic review
Excessive sugar consumption is well documented as a common risk factor for many Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Thus, an adequate intervention description is important to minimise research waste and improve ...
Improving economic access to healthy diets in first nations communities in high-income, colonised countries: a systematic scoping review
Affordability of healthy food is a key determinant of the diet-related health of First Nations Peoples. This systematic scoping review was commissioned by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women...
Associations between estimation of salt intake and salt-restriction spoons and hypertension status in patients with poorly controlled hypertension: a community-based study from Huzhou City, Eastern China
As the prevalence of hypertension increases in China, it is advised to use salt-restriction spoons (SRS) as a lifestyle modification. This study aimed to examine the associations between estimated salt consump...
Potassium levels and the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among patients with cardiovascular diseases: a meta-analysis of cohort studies
Abnormal blood potassium levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases and mortality in the general population; however, evidence regarding the association between dyskalemia and mor...
Combined versus independent effects of exercise training and intermittent fasting on body composition and cardiometabolic health in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Exercise training (Ex) and intermittent fasting (IF) are effective for improving body composition and cardiometabolic health overweight and obese adults, but whether combining Ex and IF induces additive or syn...
Correction: Associations Between Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Risks of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and Mortality – A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
The original article was published in Nutrition Journal 2023 22 :46
The association between hyperuricemia and insulin resistance surrogates, dietary- and lifestyle insulin resistance indices in an Iranian population: MASHAD cohort study
Previous studies have reported insulin resistance (IR) to be associated with hyperuricemia. In this study, we aimed to assess the possible associations between the empirical dietary index for IR (EDIR), the em...
Trends and disparities in prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases by food security status in the United States
Previous studies have demonstrated the association between food security and cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs), yet none have investigated trends in prevalence of CMDs by food security status in the United State...
Effect of nutrition education integrating the health belief model and theory of planned behavior on dietary diversity of pregnant women in Southeast Ethiopia: a cluster randomized controlled trial
Maternal anemia, miscarriage, low birth weight (LBW), preterm birth (PTB), intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), prenatal and infant mortality, morbidity, and the risk of chronic disease later in life are al...
The effect of diet-induced weight loss on circulating homocysteine levels in people with obesity and type 2 diabetes
Having type 2 diabetes (T2D) in combination with being overweight results in an additional increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. In addition, T2D and obesity are associated with increased levels of to...
Association of early dietary fiber intake and mortality in septic patients with mechanical ventilation based on MIMIC IV 2.1 database: a cohort study
Whether early dietary fiber intake in septic patients is associated with a better clinical prognosis remains unclear, especially the time and the amount. Therefore, we assessed the association between early di...
Comparison of energy expenditure measurements by a new basic respiratory room vs. classical ventilated hood
Nutritional support is often based on predicted resting energy expenditure (REE). In patients, predictions seem invalid. Indirect calorimetry is the gold standard for measuring EE. For assessments over longer ...
Clusters of carbohydrate-rich foods and associations with type 2 diabetes incidence: a prospective cohort study
About one in ten adults are living with diabetes worldwide. Intake of carbohydrates and carbohydrate-rich foods are often identified as modifiable risk factors for incident type 2 diabetes. However, strong cor...
Interaction between CETP Taq1B polymorphism and dietary patterns on lipid profile and severity of coronary arteries stenosis in patients under coronary angiography: a cross-sectional study
Evidence indicates there are still conflicts regarding CETP Taq1B polymorphism and coronary artery disease risk factors. Current findings about whether dietary patterns can change the relationship of the Taq1B...
The effects of curcumin-piperine supplementation on inflammatory, oxidative stress and metabolic indices in patients with ischemic stroke in the rehabilitation phase: a randomized controlled trial
Stroke is a leading cause of death worldwide, which is associated with a heavy economic and social burden. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of supplementation with curcumin-piperine com...
Relationship between dietary carotenoid intake and sleep duration in American adults: a population-based study
To investigate the relationship between dietary carotenoid intake and sleep duration.
Different dietary carbohydrate component intakes and long-term outcomes in patients with NAFLD: results of longitudinal analysis from the UK Biobank
This study aimed to investigate the association between the intake of different dietary carbohydrate components and the long-term outcomes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Association between frequency of breakfast intake before and during pregnancy and developmental delays in children: the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project Birth and Three-Generation Cohort Study
Although an association between maternal nutritional intake and developmental delays in children has been demonstrated, the association of the timing of meal intake and development delays remains unclear. We e...
Development and validation of a novel food exchange system for Chinese pregnant women
The dietary nutritional status of pregnant women is critical for maintaining the health of both mothers and infants. Food exchange systems have been employed in the nutritional guidance of patients in China, a...
Distribution of water turnover by sex and age as estimated by prediction equation in Japanese adolescents and adults: the 2016 National Health and Nutrition Survey, Japan
Although water is essential to the maintenance of health and life, standard values for human water requirements are yet to be determined. This study aimed to evaluate the distribution of water turnover (WT) ac...
Methylmalonic acid, vitamin B12, and mortality risk in patients with preexisting coronary heart disease: a prospective cohort study
The inconsistent relationship between Vitamin B12 (B12), methylmalonic acid (MMA, marker of B12 deficiency) and mortality was poorly understood, especially in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). This s...
Mushroom consumption and hyperuricemia: results from the National Institute for Longevity Sciences-Longitudinal Study of Aging and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2018)
Prior study reported that mushroom consumption was associated with a lower incidence of hyperuricemia, but there is limited evidence on this association. We conducted a collaborative study to investigate the a...
Does the ketogenic diet improve neurological disorders by influencing gut microbiota? A systematic review
The aim of this systematic review is to evaluate the changes in gut microbiota (GM) induced by the Ketogenic Diets (KD) as a potential underlying mechanism in the improvement of neurological diseases.
Higher intakes of fiber, total vegetables, and fruits may attenuate the risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality: findings from a large prospective cohort study
Although studies have reported an inverse association between fruits, vegetables, and fiber consumption and all-cause and cause-specific mortality, the issue remains incompletely defined in the Middle Eastern ...
Association of admission cortisol levels with outcomes and treatment response in patients at nutritional risk
Cortisol is a metabolically active stress hormone that may play a role in the pathogenesis of malnutrition. We studied the association between admission cortisol levels and nutritional parameters, disease seve...
Association between dietary vitamin C and abdominal aortic calcification among the US adults
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality, and vascular calcification has been highly correlated with CVD events. Abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) has been shown to predict subclinical...
Correction: Magnesium intake and all-cause mortality after stroke: a cohort study
The original article was published in Nutrition Journal 2023 22 :54
Study on the correlation between bioelectrical impedance analysis index and protein energy consumption in maintenance dialysis patients
Protein-energy wasting (PEW) has been reported to be pretty common in maintenance dialysis patients. However, the existing PEW diagnostic standard is limited in clinical use due to the complexity of it. Bioele...
Having breakfast has no clinically relevant effect on bioelectrical impedance measurements in healthy adults
Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is commonly used to evaluate body composition as part of nutritional assessment. Current guidelines recommend performing BIA measurements in a fasting state of at least 2...
Magnesium intake and all-cause mortality after stroke: a cohort study
Population-based studies have shown that adequate magnesium intake is associated with a lower risk of stroke and all-cause mortality. Whether adequate magnesium intake is important for reducing all-cause morta...
The Correction to this article has been published in Nutrition Journal 2023 22 :57
Analysis of different plant- and animal-based dietary patterns and their relationship with serum uric acid levels in Chinese adults
Dietary patterns play an important role in regulating serum uric acid levels in the body, but evidence for the association between different kinds of plant-based and animal-based dietary patterns and individua...
Benefits and side effects of protein supplementation and exercise in sarcopenic obesity: A scoping review
Protein supplements have been widely used among those who are struggling with sarcopenic obesity among older adults. However, despite their popularity, there is still a lack of concrete evidence on both the po...
Effect of soluble fiber on blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Pervious epidemiologic evidence indicates that soluble fiber is protective against hypertention: however, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have presented varying results. In the present study, we aimed to c...
Chronotype is associated with eating behaviors, physical activity and overweight in school-aged children
A later chronotype has been found to be associated with unhealthy habits and diseases, such as an unhealthy diet and metabolic syndrome in adults. Little is known about the association between chronotype, eati...
Effects of supplementation with milk protein on glycemic parameters: a GRADE-assessed systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis
It is suggested that supplementation with milk protein (MP) has the potential to ameliorate the glycemic profile; however, the exact impact and certainty of the findings have yet to be evaluated. This systemat...
Association of marine PUFAs intakes with cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular mortality in American adult male patients with dyslipidemia: the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001 to 2016
The relationship between marine polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake and cardiovascular disease and mortality in dyslipidemic patients is unclear. Men with dyslipidemia have a higher risk of cardiovascular...
The effects of conjugated linoleic acid supplementation on glycemic control, adipokines, cytokines, malondialdehyde and liver function enzymes in patients at risk of cardiovascular disease: a GRADE-assessed systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis
The present systematic review and meta-analysis sought to evaluate the effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on glycemic control, adipokines, cytokines, malondialdehyde (MDA) and liver func...
Associations between plant-based dietary patterns and risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality – a systematic review and meta-analysis
Plant-based dietary patterns are gaining more attention due to their potential in reducing the risk of developing major chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, ...
The Correction to this article has been published in Nutrition Journal 2024 23 :6
Hip circumference has independent association with the risk of hyperuricemia in middle-aged but not in older male patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus
Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are risk factors for hyperuricemia. However, which anthropometric indices can better predict incident hyperuricemia in patients with T2DM remains inconsistent. This ...
Association of metabolically unhealthy non-obese and metabolically healthy obese individuals with arterial stiffness and 10-year cardiovascular disease risk: a cross-sectional study in Chinese adults
The relationship between metabolically healthy obese individuals (MHO) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is disputed. This study investigated the association of metabolically unhealthy non-obese(MUNO) indi...
- Editorial Board
- Manuscript editing services
- Instructions for Editors
- Sign up for article alerts and news from this journal
- Follow us on Twitter
Annual Journal Metrics
2022 Citation Impact 5.4 - 2-year Impact Factor 5.3 - 5-year Impact Factor 1.507 - SNIP (Source Normalized Impact per Paper) 1.136 - SJR (SCImago Journal Rank)
2022 Speed 35 days submission to first editorial decision for all manuscripts (Median) 240 days submission to accept (Median)
2022 Usage 2,522,653 downloads 31,178 Altmetric mentions
- More about our metrics
- General enquiries: [email protected]
Nutrition Research News
- Kiwifruit as a Powerful Mood Booster
- How Dietary Restriction Increases Lifespan
- Treating Alcohol Addiction With Diabetes Drug?
- Parents' Resolutions: Patience, Less Phone Time
- Fat Flies Live Longer On a Diet at Any Age
- Hard to 'Eat Healthy' During Holiday Season
- Prenatal Vitamin B-12 for Infant's Brain
- Stress, Emotional Eating: Brain Link
- Fat Cells Help Repair Damaged Nerves
- From First Bite, Taste Helps Pace Eating
- A Closer Look at Cannabis Use and Binge Eating
- Removing Largest Serving Sizes of Wine Decreases Alcohol Consumption, Study Finds
- Early Study Shows Health Benefits of Creative Arts Therapies and Nutrition Education for Postmenopausal Women
- Following a Mediterranean Diet Reduces the Risk of Cognitive Decline in Older People
- Hunger Hormones Impact Decision-Making Brain Area to Drive Behavior
- Study Finds Melatonin Use Soaring Among Youth
- Obesity Linked to Neurodegeneration Through Insulin Resistance
- Children as Young as Four Eat More When Bored
- Women With a Heart Healthy Diet in Midlife Are Less Likely to Report Cognitive Decline Later
- Jet Lag Disorder Associated With Shift Work Can Lead to Brain Changes Increasing Appetite
- How Plant-Derived Nutrients Can Affect the Gut and Brain
- Scientists Says Identifying Some Foods as Addictive Could Shift Attitudes, Stimulate Research
- Being a Vegetarian May Be Partly in Your Genes
- Discrimination Alters Brain-Gut 'crosstalk,' Prompting Poor Food Choices and Increased Health Risks
- Saturated Fat May Interfere With Creating Memories in Aged Brain
- Early Treatment of Child Obesity Is Effective
- Living in a Disadvantaged Neighborhood Affects Food Choices, Weight Gain and the Microstructure of the Brain
- A Quarter of People Are Undoing the Benefits of Healthy Meals by Unhealthy Snacking
- Red Blood Cells Exposed to Oxygen Deficiency Protect Against Myocardial Infarction
- Adding Complex Component of Milk to Infant Formula Confers Long-Term Cognitive Benefits for Bottle-Fed Babies
- A New Breakthrough in Obesity Research May Allow You to Lose Fat While Eating All You Want
- Researchers Identify the Link Between Memory and Appetite in the Human Brain to Explain Obesity
- A Healthy Diet, Reading, and Doing Sports Promote Reasoning Skills in Children
- Adherence to a Mediterranean Lifestyle Associated With Lower Risk of All-Cause and Cancer Mortality
- How Cold Temperatures Trigger the Brain to Boost Appetite
- Font Size Can 'nudge' Customers Toward Healthier Food Choices
- Brain's 'appetite Control Center' Different in People Who Are Overweight or Living With Obesity
- Laboratory Research Finds Gluten Caused Brain Inflammation in Mice
- Out With the Life Coach, in With the Chatbot
- A Mother's Diet Can Protect Her Grandchildren's Brains: Genetic Model Study
- Irregular Sleep Patterns Associated With Harmful Gut Bacteria
- Mediterranean Diet and Physical Activity Could Prevent Hospitalization-Associated Disability in Older People
- Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight, but You Might Gain It Back Quickly
- The Worm That Learned: Diet Found to Affect Learning in Older Nematodes
- Molecular Imaging Identifies Brain Changes in Response to Food Cues; Offers Insight Into Obesity Interventions
- Lean Body Mass, Age Linked With Alcohol Elimination Rates in Women
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Slower Decline in ALS
- Researchers Uncover Why Light-to-Moderate Drinking Is Tied to Better Heart Health
- Colorful Fresh Foods Improve Athletes' Vision
- How Chronic Stress Drives the Brain to Crave Comfort Food
- Junk Food May Impair Our Deep Sleep
- Low-Flavanol Diet Drives Age-Related Memory Loss, Large Study Finds
- How Tasty Is the Food?
- Multivitamin Improves Memory in Older Adults, Study Finds
- You Can Satisfy Your Appetite Just by Looking at Pictures of Food on Your Phone
- The Feeling of Hunger Itself May Slow Aging in Flies
- A Special Omega-3 Fatty Acid Lipid Will Change How We Look at the Developing and Aging Brain
- Study Links Nutrients, Brain Structure, Cognition in Healthy Aging
- Cannabinoids Give Worms the Munchies, Too
- How to Get Your Children to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
- More Structure, Fewer Screens Makes for Healthier Kids in the School Holidays
- Kombucha to Kimchi: Which Fermented Foods Are Best for Your Brain?
- Researchers Leverage Cell Self-Destruction to Treat Brain Tumors
- Exposure Therapy to Feared Foods May Help Kids With Eating Disorders
- New Form of Omega-3 Could Prevent Visual Decline With Alzheimer's Disease
- Beneficial Bacteria in the Infant Gut Uses Nitrogen from Breast Milk to Support Baby's Health
- Dieting: Brain Amplifies Signal of Hunger Synapses
- A Higher Dose of Magnesium Each Day Keeps Dementia at Bay
- Sweets Change Our Brain
- Molecular Basis for Alkaline Taste
- Meta-Analysis Shows Association Between Autism in Children and Cardiometabolic Diseases
- Mediterranean Diet Associated With Decreased Risk of Dementia, Study Finds
- MIND and Mediterranean Diets Associated With Fewer Alzheimer's Plaques and Tangles
- A Good Night's Sleep May Make It Easier to Stick to Exercise and Diet Goals
- Taking Vitamin D Could Help Prevent Dementia
- Leptin Helps Hungry Mice Choose Sex Over Food
- Want Healthy Valentine Chocolates? We Can Print Them
- Fructose Could Drive Alzheimer's Disease
- Sugar Is Processed Differently in the Brains of Obesity-Prone Vs. Obesity-Resistant Rats
- Mocktails or Cocktails? Having a Sense of Purpose in Life Can Keep Binge Drinking at Bay
- Why a High Fat Diet Could Reduce the Brain's Ability to Regulate Food Intake
- Supplementation With Amino Acid Serine Eases Neuropathy in Diabetic Mice
- Loneliness Associated With Unhealthful Diets and Physical Inactivity Among US College Students
- Body Dissatisfaction Can Lead to Eating Disorders at Any Age
- Study Explores Effects of Dietary Choline Deficiency on Neurologic and System-Wide Health
- Vitamin D Benefits and Metabolism May Depend on Body Weight
- Fruit Flies Grow Brainy on a Poor Diet
- How Better Planning, Behavior Regulation May Lead to Eating Less Fat
- Aware or Not Aware: You Are Affected by Food Cues Either Way
- Can Diet Combined With Drugs Reduce Seizures?
- Time-Restricted Eating Reshapes Gene Expression Throughout the Body
- Serotonin 2C Receptor Associated With Obesity and Maladaptive Behavior
- Newly Identified Neuromarker Reveals Clues About Drug and Food Craving
- Subcutaneous Fat Emerges as a Protector of Females' Brains
- A Mediterranean Diet Not Only Boosts Health, but Also Improves Fertility
- Scientists Uncover Possible Neural Link Between Early Life Trauma and Binge-Eating Disorder
- Shaking Less Salt on Your Food at the Table Could Reduce Heart Disease Risk
- Mom's Dietary Fat Rewires Male and Female Brains Differently
- How Women Can Reduce the Risk of Hip Fracture
- Picky Eaters Are Put Off by Food Depending on Plateware Color
- Drinking During Pregnancy Changes Baby's Brain Structure
- New Imaging Technique in Animal Study Gives Insight to Popular Supplement's Potential Role in Cancer Progression [Updated]
- A Better Model for Type 2 Diabetes: The Nile Rat
- No Evidence That Physical Activity Calorie-Equivalent Labelling Changes Food Purchasing
- Motivation Is Affected by Oxidative Stress, Nutrition Can Help
- In Young Adults, Moderate to Heavy Drinking Linked to Higher Risk of Stroke
- Finding the Solution to Obesity
- Study Finds Dieters May Overestimate the Healthiness of Their Eating Habits
- Study Identifies Alcohol Risk Factors for Acute Stroke
- Why Late-Night Eating Leads to Weight Gain, Diabetes
- LATEST NEWS
- Top Science
- Top Physical/Tech
- Top Environment
- Top Society/Education
- Health & Medicine
- Mind & Brain
- Disorders and Syndromes
- ADD and ADHD
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Brain Injury
- Hearing Impairment
- Huntington's Disease
- Mad Cow Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Sleep Disorders
- Education & Learning
- Brain-Computer Interfaces
- Educational Psychology
- Infant and Preschool Learning
- K-12 Education
- Language Acquisition
- Learning Disorders
- Illegal Drugs
- Crystal Meth
- Psychedelic Drugs
- Living Well
- Anger Management
- Child Development
- Consumer Behavior
- Dieting and Weight Control
- Gender Difference
- Nutrition Research
- Racial Issues
- Mental Health
- Eating Disorders
- Smoking Addiction
- Child Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Space & Time
- Matter & Energy
- Computers & Math
- Plants & Animals
- Earth & Climate
- Fossils & Ruins
- Science & Society
- Business & Industry
- Strange & Offbeat
- 275 Million New Genetic Variants Identified
- Astronomy: Radcliffe Wave Is Waving
- Down Syndrome: Record in Ancient DNA
- Smiling Is the Secret to Seeing Happiness
- Women Get Benefits of Exercise With Less Effort
- AI Computing at Light Speed?
- Searching for Clues in the Ocean History Book
- From CO2 to Biodegradable Plastics, Efficiently
- Oldest Fossil Reptile from Alps Is Forgery
- Salt Substitutes for Blood Pressure Control
Healthy living guide 2023/2024.
A Digest on Healthy Eating and Healthy Living “The apple in your hand is the body of the cosmos.” – Thich Nhat Hanh Happy New Year, and welcome to the fourth edition of the Healthy Living Guide! 2023 was an exciting year in the Department of Nutrition, as we celebrated the launch of the Thich … Continue reading “Healthy Living Guide 2023/2024”
WHO releases updated guidelines on defining healthy diets
Harvard experts say most recommendations are well-supported, but guidance on total fat intake omits decades of evidence The World Health Organization (WHO) has released updated guidelines for defining healthy diets, with particular attention to carbohydrates, total fat, and specific types of fat such as saturated and trans fats. The guidelines are an addition to their … Continue reading “WHO releases updated guidelines on defining healthy diets”
Unpacking WHO guidelines on non-sugar sweeteners
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a new guideline on non-sugar sweeteners (NSS)—often referred to as artificial or low-calorie sweeteners—that advises against use of NSS to control body weight or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases. After conducting a research review, they concluded that replacing sugar sweeteners with NSS did not promote weight loss in … Continue reading “Unpacking WHO guidelines on non-sugar sweeteners”
Healthy Living Guide 2022/2023
A Digest on Healthy Eating and Healthy Living Throughout 2022, food and nutrition were often in the spotlight, perhaps most notably with the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The national strategy that emerged from the event (the first of its kind since the original conference in 1969) aims at ending hunger and … Continue reading “Healthy Living Guide 2022/2023”
Navigating infant formula shortages
Infant formula shortages in the U.S. have occurred in the past two years largely due to widespread pandemic-related supply-chain problems. A national shortage of infant formula is undoubtedly alarming for families since infants require formula when human milk is not accessible or not available in adequate amounts. Although breastfeeding is encouraged, it is not always … Continue reading “Navigating infant formula shortages”
Healthy Living Guide 2021/2022
A Digest on Healthy Eating and Healthy Living Over the course of 2021, many of us continued to adapt to a “new normal,” characterized by a return to some pre-pandemic activities mixed with hobbies or habits that have emerged since 2020’s lockdowns. On the topic of food and eating, according to one U.S. consumer survey … Continue reading “Healthy Living Guide 2021/2022”
Healthy Living Guide 2020/2021
A Digest on Healthy Eating and Healthy Living As we transition from 2020 into 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect nearly every aspect of our lives. For many, this health crisis has created a range of unique and individual impacts—including food access issues, income disruptions, and emotional distress. Although we do not have concrete … Continue reading “Healthy Living Guide 2020/2021”
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 released
The 9th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 is out, with the tagline to Make Every Bite Count. Intended for policy makers, healthcare providers, nutrition educators, and Federal nutrition program operators, the new edition has expanded to almost 150 pages, providing nutrition guidelines for even more age groups throughout the life cycle. As … Continue reading “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 released”
Pregunte al Experto: El rol de la dieta y los suplementos nutricionales durante COVID-19
El distanciamiento social y el lavado de manos son los métodos más eficaces y comprobados para reducir el riesgo y la propagación de la enfermedad del coronavirus (COVID-19). Sin embargo, junto con preguntas generales sobre cómo comprar y preparar alimentos de forma segura (discutidos aquí), muchos se preguntan sobre el rol específico de la dieta … Continue reading “Pregunte al Experto: El rol de la dieta y los suplementos nutricionales durante COVID-19”
Ask the Expert: The role of diet and nutritional supplements during COVID-19
Social distancing and regular handwashing are the most effective and proven methods to reduce risk and spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, along with general questions on how to safely shop for and prepare food (addressed here), many are wondering about the more specific role of diet and nutrition during this pandemic. To understand … Continue reading “Ask the Expert: The role of diet and nutritional supplements during COVID-19”
Subscribe to Scientific American!
Nutrition 26 articles archived since 1845
Could Magnesium and TikTok’s ‘Sleepy Girl Mocktail’ Actually Help You Sleep?
TikTok’s “sleepy girl mocktails” remind us how important magnesium is for sleep and health
Your Body Has Its Own Built-In Ozempic
Popular weight-loss and diabetes drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, target metabolic pathways that gut microbes and food molecules already play a key role in regulating
Ozempic and Other Weight-Loss Drugs Are Sparking a Risky New War on Obesity
The world has launched into an era of injectables not just to treat obesity but to manage weight. Is that all good news?
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
Caffeine can help you feel energized. But is there a limit to how much your body can handle?
We Need to Better Understand Malnutrition-Related Diabetes
Food insecurity saps the health of people and economies worldwide. Addressing it would pay dividends
How Do Ultraprocessed Foods Affect Your Health?
Ultraprocessed foods have become a mainstay of modern diets and could be taking a toll on our health
How the Daughter of Sharecroppers Revolutionized Preschoolers' Health
Flemmie Pansy Kittrell, the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in nutrition in 1936, showed the importance of good health and developed a program that became the model for Head Start
Spicy Food Probably Doesn’t Cause Long-Term Harm
While spicy food can cause pain, it isn’t linked to higher mortality rates
Period Food Cravings Are Real. A New Brain Finding Could Explain Why They Happen
A new study suggests that changes in the brain's sensitivity to insulin during phases of the menstrual cycle may be linked to appetite
How to Figure Out if Moderate Drinking Is Too Risky for You
New research shows any alcohol can harm your body, but the increased risk may not be huge
Food Can Be Literally Addictive, New Evidence Suggests
Highly processed foods resemble drugs of misuse in a number of disturbing ways
Your Genes May Influence What You Like to Eat
New research identifies genome areas linked to dietary patterns and our taste for things such as tea, tobacco and grapes
Why You Don’t Just Lose Fat When You’re on a Diet
Here’s why your body sheds fat and muscle when you diet
Too Much ‘Good’ Cholesterol Can Harm the Heart
HDL cholesterol raises disease risk at levels above 80 milligrams per deciliter
We Have Good News for Coffee Lovers
A careful new study reveals coffee is generally safe for your heart and may boost your daily step count.
New System Ranks Evidence for Health Risks of Eating Red Meat, Smoking, and More—But Critics Say It’s Overly Simplistic
Researchers developed a five-star rating system for the risks of smoking, eating unprocessed red meat and other factors. Some scientists say the findings aren’t surprising—and could be used to cast doubt on decades of health advice...
Are Skittles Toxic from Titanium Dioxide?
A recent lawsuit claims a chemical called titanium dioxide, used in Skittles candies, harms people. It’s hard to find strong evidence for that, however
Your Body May Be Able to Repair Its Arthritic Joints with Help from Drugs or Surgery
Knees and other joints regrow some lost cartilage with some outside aid, research suggests
What Humanity Should Eat to Stay Healthy and Save the Planet
What we eat needs to be nutritious and sustainable. Researchers are trying to figure out what that looks like around the world
Support science journalism.
Thanks for reading Scientific American. Knowledge awaits.
Already a subscriber? Sign in.
Thanks for reading Scientific American. Create your free account or Sign in to continue.
See Subscription Options
Continue reading with a Scientific American subscription.
You may cancel at any time.
- View all journals
- Explore content
- About the journal
- Publish with us
- Sign up for alerts
Clinical and imaging features of women with polygenic partial lipodystrophy: a case series
- Wann Jia Loh
- Jadegoud Yaligar
Parental obesity predisposes to exacerbated metabolic and inflammatory disturbances in childhood obesity within the framework of an altered profile of trace elements
- Álvaro González-Domínguez
- Lucía Jurado-Sumariva
- Raúl González-Domínguez
Effects of swimming training in hot and cold temperatures combined with cinnamon supplementation on HbA1C levels, TBC1D1, and TBC1D4 in diabetic rats
- Seyed Morteza Tayebi
- Amir Hossein Nouri
- Iman Jamhiri
Geraniol reverses obesity by improving conversion of WAT to BAT in high fat diet induced obese rats by inhibiting HMGCoA reductase
- Shushmita Chand
- Alok Shiomurti Tripathi
- Rahul Kumar Maurya
A synergistic impact of body mass index and gamma gap on heart failure and mortality rate among older patients with coronary artery disease: a prospective study with 10-year follow-up
- Xiaofei Liu
- Yangrui Zheng
Urolithin C alleviates pancreatic β-cell dysfunction in type 1 diabetes by activating Nrf2 signaling
Investigating the relationship between inhibitory control and dietary adherence among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus based on subjective and objective measures
- Chunni Heng
- Yinling Zhang
Effectiveness of pre-pregnancy lifestyle in preventing gestational diabetes mellitus—a systematic review and meta-analysis of 257,876 pregnancies
- Swetha Sampathkumar
- Durga Parkhi
- Ponnusamy Saravanan
Metabolic associated fatty liver disease and sarcopenia additively increase mortality: a real-world study
- Qianwen Zhao
- Yunlei Deng
Discretizing continuous variables in nutrition and obesity research: a practice that needs to be cut short
- Osvaldo F. Morera
- Mosi I. Dane’el
- Leah D. Whigham
Fenofibrate alleviates insulin resistance by reducing tissue inflammation in obese ovariectomized mice
- Suyeon Jeon
- Michung Yoon
Association Between MIND Diet Adherence and Mortality: Insights from Diabetic and Non-Diabetic Cohorts
- Yanjun Song
- Zhen’ge Chang
5-Aminovaleric acid betaine predicts impaired glucose metabolism and diabetes
- Linus Haberbosch
- Sylwia Kierszniowska
- Lukas Maurer
Ethnicity/race, parent educational attainment, and obesity associated with prediabetes in children
- Reem Ghaddar
- Erin A. Hudson
- Jaimie N. Davis
The mediating role of obesity on the prospective association between urinary sucrose and diabetes incidence in a sub-cohort of the EPIC-Norfolk
- Alexander Lang
- Oliver Kuss
- Sabrina Schlesinger
A web-based low carbohydrate diet intervention significantly improves glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes: results of the T2Diet Study randomised controlled trial
- Jedha Dening
- Mohammadreza Mohebbi
- Sheikh Mohammed Shariful Islam
E4orf1 improves adipose tissue-specific metabolic risk factors and indicators of cognition function in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease
- Md Shahjalal Hossain Khan
- Marleigh Hefner
- Vijay Hegde
Severe COVID-19 associated hyperglycemia is caused by beta cell dysfunction: a prospective cohort study
- Kateřina Koudelková
The heterogeneous associations between gestational weight gain and adverse pregnancy outcomes in gestational diabetes mellitus according to abnormal glucose metabolism
- Yunyan Chen
- Danqing Chen
Vitamin D deficiency contributes to the diabetic kidney disease progression via increase ZEB1/ZEB2 expressions
- Cláudia Silva Souza
- Amanda Lima Deluque
- Terezila Machado Coimbra
- Explore articles by subject
- Guide to authors
- Editorial policies
- Share full article
The Year in Well
10 Lessons We’ve Learned About Eating Well
Water vs. seltzer? Can food affect the brain? We’ve rounded up useful research on diet and nutrition to stay healthy in the new year.
As 2021 came to a close, we looked back on our reporting on diet and nutrition to glean tips we could bring into a new year. Here are 10 findings to remember next time you head to the supermarket or to the kitchen.
1. Look at patterns in your diet, rather than focusing on “good” or “bad” foods.
In October, the American Heart Association released new dietary guidelines to improve the hearts and health of Americans of all ages and life circumstances. Instead of issuing a laundry list of “thou shalt not eats,” the committee focused on how people could make lifelong changes, taking into account each individual’s likes and dislikes as well as ethnic and cultural practices and life circumstances. “For example, rather than urging people to skip pasta because it’s a refined carbohydrate, a more effective message might be to tell people to eat it the traditional Italian way, as a small first-course portion,” Jane Brody explained.
2. What you eat can affect your mental health.
As people grappled with higher levels of stress, depression and anxiety during the pandemic, many turned to their favorite comfort foods: ice cream, pastries, pizza, hamburgers. But studies in an emerging field of research known as nutritional psychiatry, which looks at the relationship between diet and mental wellness, suggest that the sugar-laden and high-fat foods we often crave when we are stressed or depressed, as comforting as they may seem, are the least likely to benefit our mental health. Whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes and fermented foods like yogurt may be a better bet.
“The idea that eating certain foods could promote brain health, much the way it can promote heart health, might seem like common sense,” Anahad O’Connor wrote in his story on the research. “But historically, nutrition research has focused largely on how the foods we eat affect our physical health, rather than our mental health.”
3. Coffee has health benefits.
Coffee is beloved by many, but its health benefits have often been called into question. The latest assessments this year of the health effects of coffee and caffeine, however, were reassuring. Their consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of all kinds of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, depression, suicide, cirrhosis, liver cancer, melanoma and prostate cancer.
4. Our microbiome is largely shaped by what we eat.
Scientists know that the trillions of bacteria and other microbes that live in our guts play an important role in health, influencing our risk of developing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a wide range of other conditions. In 2021, a large international study found that the composition of these microorganisms, collectively known as our microbiomes, is largely shaped by what we eat. Researchers learned that a diet rich in nutrient-dense, whole foods supported the growth of beneficial microbes that promoted good health. Eating a diet full of highly processed foods with added sugars, salt and other additives had the opposite effect, promoting gut microbes that were linked to worse cardiovascular and metabolic health.
5. Highly processed foods may actually be addictive.
Potato chips, ice cream, pizza and more unhealthy foods continue to dominate the American diet, despite being linked to obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other health problems. “They are cheap and convenient, and engineered to taste good. They are aggressively marketed by the food industry,” Mr. O’Connor reported in a story about new research on whether these foods are not just tempting, but addictive. The notion has sparked controversy among researchers, he said. One study found that certain foods were especially likely to elicit “addictive-like” eating behaviors, such as intense cravings, a loss of control, and an inability to cut back despite experiencing harmful consequences and a strong desire to stop eating them. But other experts pointed out that these foods do not cause an altered state of mind, a hallmark of addictive substances.
6. Seltzer isn’t the same as water.
Unsweetened carbonated water is a better choice than soda or fruit juice, Christina Caron reported, but it probably shouldn’t be your main source of water. Seltzer has the potential to be erosive to your teeth, experts told her, and carbonated beverages can contribute to gas and bloating, Ms. Caron wrote.
7. You don’t need eight glasses of water per day.
Unique factors like body size, outdoor temperature and how hard you’re breathing and sweating will determine how much water you need, an expert told Christie Aschwanden for her story on what it really means to “stay hydrated.” “For most young, healthy people, the best way to stay hydrated is simply to drink when you’re thirsty,” she learned. “Those who are older, in their 70s and 80s, may need to pay more attention to getting sufficient fluids because the thirst sensation can decrease with age.”
8. Eating fermented foods may improve your health.
Yogurt, kimchi and kombucha have long been dietary staples in many parts of the world. But this year, as Mr. O’Connor reported, scientists discovered that these fermented foods may alter the makeup of the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit our intestinal tracts, collectively known as the gut microbiome. They may also lead to lower levels of body-wide inflammation, which scientists increasingly link to a range of diseases tied to aging.
9. There is a dietary plan to ward off heartburn.
Acid reflux is among the most frequent health complaints of American adults, and may have become even more common in the wake of pandemic-related stress and weight gain. Jane Brody covered new research that showed that those who adhered to five key lifestyle characteristics — including exercise and following a Mediterranean-style diet, featuring fruits and vegetables, fish, poultry and whole grains — were more likely to ward off discomfort from the most persistent and potentially serious form of reflux.
10. Fruits and vegetables may boost your brain.
A study first published in July found that flavonoids, the chemicals that give plant foods their bright colors, may help curb the frustrating forgetfulness and mild confusion that older people often complain about with advancing age. Further follow-up would be needed to determine whether foods might affect the risk of developing dementia, and there are also broader policy issues at play, making it difficult for everyone to access fresh fruits and vegetables, Nicholas Bakalar reported. But, experts agreed these are foods you should be eating for brain health.
An earlier version of this article misstated the author of “How Much Water Do You Actually Need?” It was written by Christie Aschwanden, not Alice Callahan.
How we handle corrections
A Guide to Better Nutrition
There are many people who want to lose a few pounds for whom weight loss drugs are not the right choice. Is old-fashioned dieting a good option ?
Salmon is good for you, but choosing the right type to eat isn’t so easy. Here are answers to all your questions about this nutritional powerhouse .
Read these books to shift into a healthier way of thinking about food .
Are flaxseeds really all that? They’re a superfood that can boost heart health and lower inflammation, but they can’t do everything.
No single food can prevent cancer on its own. But adding certain foods to your plate could help reduce the risk .
Is it bad to eat late at night? Studies have found that nighttime snacking is linked to heartburn, disrupted sleep, metabolic issues and more .
How much protein do you need , and where should you get it? See how much you really know about this essential nutrient with our quiz .
Sign up for Well’s Mediterranean diet week : Each day, we’ll send guidance and recipes to help make 2024 your most nourishing year yet.
An official website of the United States government
The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.
The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.
- Account settings
- Advanced Search
- Journal List
- v.4(5); 2013 Sep
Nutrition research to affect food and a healthy lifespan 1, 2
Sarah d. ohlhorst.
3 American Society for Nutrition, Bethesda, MD
4 NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, Bethesda, MD, and Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA
5 USDA/Agricultural Research Service Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
David M. Klurfeld
6 Human Nutrition Program, USDA/Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD
7 Center for Human Nutrition, University of California Los Angeles, and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Jonathan R. Mein
8 Monsanto Center for Food and Nutrition Research, Monsanto Vegetable Seed, Kannapolis, NC
9 NIH National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
A. Catharine Ross
10 Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; and
11 Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Proper nutrition offers one of the most effective and least costly ways to decrease the burden of many diseases and their associated risk factors, including obesity. Nutrition research holds the key to increasing our understanding of the causes of obesity and its related comorbidities and thus holds promise to markedly influence global health and economies. After outreach to 75 thought leaders, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) convened a Working Group to identify the nutrition research needs whose advancement will have the greatest projected impact on the future health and well-being of global populations. ASN’s Nutrition Research Needs focus on the following high priority areas: 1 ) variability in individual responses to diet and foods; 2 ) healthy growth, development, and reproduction; 3 ) health maintenance; 4 ) medical management; 5 ) nutrition-related behaviors; and 6 ) food supply/environment. ASN hopes the Nutrition Research Needs will prompt collaboration among scientists across all disciplines to advance this challenging research agenda given the high potential for translation and impact on public health. Furthermore, ASN hopes the findings from the Nutrition Research Needs will stimulate the development and adoption of new and innovative strategies that can be applied toward the prevention and treatment of nutrition-related diseases. The multidisciplinary nature of nutrition research requires stakeholders with differing areas of expertise to collaborate on multifaceted approaches to establish the evidence-based nutrition guidance and policies that will lead to better health for the global population. In addition to the identified research needs, ASN also identified 5 tools that are critical to the advancement of the Nutrition Research Needs: 1 ) omics, 2 ) bioinformatics, 3 ) databases, 4 ) biomarkers, and 5 ) cost-effectiveness analysis.
The attainment of good nutrition depends on and encompasses the entire food supply. Plant and animal foods and their various components are the primary vehicles that provide nourishment to human beings. Nutrition is vital, not only in the growth and development of humans and animals but also in the prevention and treatment of disease. Nutrition is also fundamental to the maintenance of good health and functionality. Basic and applied research on the interrelations between nutrition and noncommunicable diseases, nutrient composition, and nutrition monitoring represents the underpinnings for healthy populations and robust economies. Thus, innovative nutrition research and education provide the basis for solutions to larger health-related issues, allowing individuals to live healthier, more productive lives.
The importance of nutrition, as an integral part of the solution to many societal, environmental, and economic challenges facing the world, has just started to be fully appreciated. The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) has identified the “grand” challenges facing nutrition research and science in the 21st century, termed “Nutrition Research Needs.” Findings from these Nutrition Research Needs will elucidate strategies that can be applied toward the prevention and treatment of both infectious and noncommunicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Nutrition research holds the key to increasing our understanding of the underlying causes of obesity and its related comorbidities and thus holds promise to markedly influence global economies. Knowledge about adequate nutrition also has an important role in reducing or ending global and domestic food insecurity through direct and purposeful agricultural practices. Population growth will undeniably lead to increased global demand for a safe, available, sustainable, and affordable food supply, while continuing to demand nutritional adequacy.
The ASN Nutrition Research Needs project was originally conceptualized by ASN’s Public Policy Committee to identify worldwide nutrition research needs. This effort will be used to educate and communicate to policy makers and other stakeholders the need and value of increased nutrition research funding to meet societal needs. ASN’s Public Policy Committee reached out to nearly 75 thought leaders in September 2011 to develop a draft list of nutrition research needs.
In February 2012, ASN convened a Working Group of nutrition scientists and researchers representing a cross-section of the Society’s membership to determine the nutrition research needs that will have the greatest impact on the health and well-being of global populations. The names of the Working Group members are listed in the Acknowledgments. Starting with the draft list, the Working Group narrowed down and pulled together 6 nutrition research needs for which advancement would have the greatest projected impact on future health and well-being.
The ASN then informed its membership of the 6 priority research needs and sought further member input. A workshop was held during ASN’s 2012 Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, with nearly 250 attendees. The research needs were also shared via ASN’s member newsletter, which reaches the entire membership base of nearly 5000 individuals, to inform and seek input from members who did not attend the annual meeting or the workshop. Member feedback on the Nutrition Research Needs was incorporated during development of the final document.
THE TOP NUTRITION RESEARCH NEEDS
The top 6 nutrition research needs cut across the entire research spectrum from basic science to health policy, from discovery to application. Specific research areas are listed under each research need. These 6 nutrition research needs are highlighted in the hope that they will prompt scientists from all disciplines to collaborate to advance these challenging research needs that have high potential for translation and public health impact. Although the topics presented focus principally on human nutrition research, the Working Group recognized that nutrition research using animal models is an essential foundation for making new discoveries that can be translated to advances in human nutrition. Further, the importance of animal nutrition research is emphasized within these research needs in particular: “Understanding the role of nutrition in health maintenance” and “Understanding the food supply/environment.” The research community will benefit from clearly articulated nutrition research priorities that will lead to science-based information, help to shape policy and enhance future funding for nutrition research, and thereby further promote the field of nutrition science.
1) Understanding variability in individual responses to diet and foods
A top priority for future nutrition research is the need to better understand variability in metabolic responses to diet and food. Enormous variability exists in individual responses to diet and food components that affect overall health. Discoveries underpinning this variability will lead to advances in personalized nutrition interventions and will better inform health and food policies, including Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for nutrient needs and, ideally, future recommendations for known bioactive food components. Research in the following areas is necessary to determine the origins and architecture of variability and to explain similar or dissimilar responses to diet and food components by subpopulations, as influenced by genetic, epigenetic, and ethnic and/or racial differences.
Omics research, such as nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics (e.g., epigenetics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics), will help to determine how specific nutrients interact with genes, proteins, and metabolites to predict an individual’s health. Omics provide information on individualized nutrient requirements, including how nutrients are digested, absorbed, and metabolized, and their functions in the body. Omics will help to determine and reflect an individual’s nutritional status and will aid in the creation of new nutritional and disease biomarkers.
Diverse microbes, such as bacteria and viruses, live in and on the body and contribute to the microbiome, which is estimated to have 10 times as many cells as the body itself ( 1 ). Microbes can vary in type and quantity, making each organism’s microbiome unique—although subpopulations may have similar microbiome characteristics. The microbiota needs to be better defined, and changes due to diet, age, physiologic state, and disease need to be determined. Research is needed to determine the microbiome’s role in varying biological responses to diet and food components and its importance in disease prevention and progression. Conversely, research is also needed to determine how the microbiome is influenced by diet and other environmental factors.
Basic research is needed to provide a better understanding of biological networks, such as an individuals’ genome (DNA/RNA protein profiles), and how these networks affect metabolic responses to diet and food. Environmental interactions, including nutrients and other dietary components, bacteria, viruses, and chemical contaminants, all may affect the responsiveness of biological networks to specific foods and the entire diet.
Tissue specificity and temporality.
Research is needed to describe the mechanisms by which dietary factors affect variability in development and functioning, including which tissues are most influenced by dietary factors and when during the most critical stages in life this influence occurs.
2) Understanding the impact of nutrition on healthy growth, development, and reproduction
Epigenetics and imprinting research examines how exposures to dietary components during critical periods of development may “program” long-term health and well-being. Research is needed to determine how early nutritional events contribute to disease later in life and alter normal developmental progression.
Research is necessary to better understand the role of diet and individual food components on normal growth and development. This includes the role of parent’s preconception diets, the maternal diet during pregnancy, and early nutritional events. Studies indicate that the timing of an infant’s introduction to solid foods may increase the likelihood of becoming obese later in life ( 2 ). These findings are important given that the number of overweight children in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years ( 3 ). Research is now needed to determine the best approaches to influence these factors during early life. The important role of nutrition throughout early life on growth and development, as well as on health and well-being, needs to be continually assessed.
Nutrition and reproductive health.
The impact of nutrition on reproductive health, including before and after conception, requires further research. Nutrition has a direct impact on both maternal and paternal fertility and the ability to conceive and also plays a key role in preventing diseases related to reproductive organs, including prostate and ovarian cancers. Although numerous studies have investigated how fruit and vegetable consumption may affect risk of breast, prostate, and other cancers, there is no clear consensus in the scientific literature. Thus, well-designed controlled intervention studies are needed to determine whether effects are limited to subpopulations, what factors influence a response and what mechanisms may account for changes in health.
3) Understanding the role of nutrition in health maintenance
Health maintenance includes noncommunicable disease prevention and treatment as well as weight management. The role that food components, particularly novel ingredients, contribute to health maintenance requires continuing research. Researchers and the public rely on dietary guidance, including the DRIs, to guide nutrition recommendations and health policy. Research is needed to better define the nutrient needs that best support health maintenance in all populations and their subgroups, from infancy throughout life. Nutrition across life is a fundamental issue that requires investigation so that recommendations will “match” with true biological needs.
Optimal bodily function.
Research is needed to determine the roles that nutrition and fitness, both singularly and together, have in maintaining bodily functions, including cognitive, immune, skeletal, muscular, and other functions. Evolving research areas include prevention of disease-related processes, such as inflammation, and definition of mechanisms that have an important role in health maintenance, such as immunocompetence. Animal models are used to understand the requirements for optimal health in humans and production animals.
Research is also needed to examine the use of a systems approach to achieve energy balance including and integrating environmental, biological, psychosocial, and food system factors. A systems approach is preferable because the standard experimental approach of varying one factor at a time has accomplished little to address the populationwide problem of energy imbalance. A solution-oriented approach that is comprehensive in nature and takes into account the complexities of achieving energy balance must be created. Although far more research is needed to identify systemwide changes that maximize energy balance, intriguing examples exist. “Shape Up Somerville, MA,” effectively reduced weight gain in high-risk children through a multifaceted community-based environmental change campaign ( 4 ). Shape Up Somerville increased the community’s physical activity and healthful eating through physical infrastructure improvements and citywide policy and programming changes.
4) Understanding the role of nutrition in medical management
The rapid translation of nutrition research advances into evidence-based practice and policy is a priority for ensuring optimal patient care and effective disease management. Nutrition researchers have a key role in bridging the gap between disease prevention and disease treatment by fostering clinical research, providing innovative education for caregivers and patients, and delineating best practices for medical nutrition in primary care settings.
To improve the medical management of disease, research is needed to determine how nutritional factors influence both disease initiation and progression, as well as how nutrition affects a patient’s response to therapy. Genetic and epigenetic variations among individuals can result in both positive and negative responses to diets, to specific foods, and to novel food components. The issue of individual variability is of considerable importance in refining medical management, including nutrition support, and requires continuing research.
Expanded research will allow us to better understand and minimize unfavorable impacts of both reduced and elevated nutrient intakes on disease progression and overall health. Disease/mortality response curves are U-shaped for many nutrients (that is, there is an increased risk of adverse outcomes if the nutrient is ingested in either too low or too high amounts). The importance of achieving a proper nutrient balance is seen in the example of chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation contributes to many noncommunicable diseases and can result from high intakes of proinflammatory omega-6 fatty acids in the face of low intakes of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids ( 5 ). Research will help to determine the desired intake for essential and nonessential nutrients alone and when combined with other nutrients in the diet.
Nutrition support for special subgroups.
Nutrition research is needed to establish the required nutritional needs that best support survival, growth, and development in subpopulations, such as in chronically diseased patients, in children, and in aging adults. With the success of medical advances, as have been seen with in vitro fertilization and neonatal care, caring for preterm infants presents a new challenge in early nutritional management. Preterm infants have special nutrition needs that will greatly affect their future growth and development, as well as their eventual health status as adults.
5) Understanding nutrition-related behaviors
Drivers of food choice..
Understanding the link between behavior and food choices can help tackle obesity and other nutrition-related issues that are a public health priority. Individual food choices can be influenced by a number of different drivers including the following:
- Government policy
- Environmental cues
- Cultural differences
- Communication tools, such as social networking and food marketing
Research is needed to identify the impact of these various drivers and understand how they work alone or together to influence nutrition-related behavior. Research will show how these drivers should be altered to have the highest positive influence on individual behavior and therefore public health. For example, the state of Mississippi recorded a 13% decline in obesity among elementary school students from 2005 to 2011 ( 6 ). Multiple changes in the environment occurred, such as the setting of standards for foods sold in school vending machines, setting a requirement for more school exercise time, mandating healthier environments in childcare settings, and establishing programs that encouraged fruit and vegetable consumption. The challenge now is to determine what effect these combined actions will have on obesity-related behaviors in the long run.
Nutrition and brain functioning.
Further explorations of the biochemical and behavioral bases for food choices and intake over time are essential. Brain function as it relates to food desire and choice needs to be clarified through research, and the multiple hormones that affect eating require further study as well. Factors such as meal frequency and size, speed of meal consumption, and how these factors are influenced by social cues require objective data, which can only be provided by research. Understanding how the marketing of healthy behaviors could help consumers achieve dietary guidance goals should be a priority. As part of this approach, innovative and practical methods for accurately measuring and evaluating food purchases and eating occasions must be developed.
Because of the high propensity of obese children remaining obese as adults ( 7 ), additional research is needed to determine how eating and satiety behaviors are imprinted during critical periods of development and to show how food components affect neural biochemistry and brain functioning—and therefore shape behavior. This research will provide us with a better understanding of how and why an individual makes particular food choices. Although scientists recently validated the concept that food availability during pregnancy has permanent effects on gene expression in children ( 8 ), human studies are needed to confirm or refute the hypothesis that fetal programming, resulting from maternal obesity, leads to excess weight in children and into adulthood.
6) Understanding the food supply/environment
Food environment and food choice..
Simply knowing or understanding what constitutes a healthy diet is not enough to change an individual’s diet or lifestyle. Understanding how the food environment affects dietary and lifestyle choices is necessary before effective policies can be instituted that will change a population’s diet in a meaningful way. Examples of key questions that should be addressed include the following:
- Is current dietary guidance an effective way of communicating dietary change?
- Do food assistance programs promote positive dietary patterns or have negative dietary and health consequences?
- What role does food advertising play in food decision-making among different age groups and educational levels?
- How do farm-to-fork food systems, with an increased emphasis on local agricultural production and consumption, influence dietary patterns and behaviors?
- How can farm-to-fork food systems ultimately be used to promote healthy behaviors and improve public health?
- How can we most effectively measure, monitor, and evaluate dietary change?
Food composition and novel foods and food ingredients.
Having an affordable, available, sustainable, safe, and nutritious food supply is also an important underpinning for making significant changes to a population’s diet and lifestyle. Examples of key research areas to address include the following:
- Enhancing our knowledge of the nutrient and phytonutrient content and bioavailability of foods produced, processed, and consumed
- Studying how to better align and foster collaboration between nutrition and agricultural production
- Can shifting agricultural focus from principally agronomic to include quality factors (such as taste, flavor, and nutritional value) have positive effects on fruit and vegetable consumption?
- Can we leverage technologies, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, to develop novel foods and food ingredients that will improve health, both domestically and abroad, and provide credible, tangible functional health benefits?
To tackle these enormous challenges requires the coordinated efforts of public and private partners. The development of public/private partnerships between food and agricultural industries, government, academia, and nongovernmental organizations has the potential to advance nutrition research, enabling meaningful changes to be made to American and global diets (e.g., increased fruit and vegetable consumption to match government recommendations). We need to examine successful examples of public/private partnerships that have resulted in improved nutritional status and food security in specific populations ( 9 ).
CROSS-CUTTING TOOLS TO ADVANCE NUTRITION RESEARCH
Nutrition research is truly a cross-cutting discipline, and the Working Group identified several tools that are also necessary to advance the priority needs in nutrition research. Adequately powered intervention trials continue to be essential for validating research theories arising from experimental and epidemiologic studies. However, the development of new, impactful tools will help us to more effectively quantify dietary intake and food waste and to determine the effectiveness of nutrition standards, such as DRI values and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans . Although not a traditional tool, multidisciplinary partnerships among scientific societies, government, industry, academia, and others are fundamental to advance the nutrition research agenda. ASN and its membership must be proactive not only in efforts to advance nutrition research (including initiating and leading partnerships) but also in developing the tools needed to enhance the field. ASN recognizes the need to facilitate effective communication among academia, industry, government agencies, consumers, and other stakeholders to advance nutrition.
Omics (especially genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) will enable us to determine how specific nutrients interact with genes, proteins, and metabolites to predict the future health of an individual. A field of study that encompasses technological advances as well as omics-based research, it is sometimes referred to as personalized nutrition. Omics hold the keys to major nutrition breakthroughs in noncommunicable disease and obesity prevention. Omics provide information on how well nutrients are digested, absorbed, metabolized, and used by an individual. Moreover, omics will lead to new biomarkers that reveal a person’s nutritional status and health status all at one time.
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that uses computer science and information technology to develop and enhance techniques to make it easier to acquire, store, organize, retrieve, and use biological data. Bioinformatics will enable nutrition researchers to manage, analyze, and understand nutrition data and to make connections between diet and health that were not previously possible. Databases are necessary to gain the full benefits of bioinformatics, because they make nutrition data easily accessible in a machine-readable format.
Accurate, up-to-date food and nutrient databases are essential to track and observe trends related to the nutrition and health of individuals. Databases link food and supplement composition and intake data to health outcomes. Nutrient databases should be expanded to cover more foods and their bioactive components, including nonessential nutrients. Nutrition data must be incorporated into databases related to novel research areas, such as nutrigenomics and the microbiome, to adequately link these areas with nutrition. Data collection must also be improved with enhancements such as photographic food intake documentation, direct upload of food composition and sensory characteristics (if not proprietary) from food manufacturers, and biological sample collection.
Intake, effect, and exposure biomarkers allow us to determine and monitor the health and nutritional status of individuals and subpopulations, including ethnic and racial minorities. Biomarkers that are responsive to diet and nutrition will help assess disease progression and variability in response to treatment, while improving early diagnosis and prevention. Biomarkers must continue to be developed and validated to accurately track food and nutrient intake given our rapidly changing food supply.
5) Cost-effectiveness analysis
Cost-effectiveness analysis is a tool used to calculate and compare the relative costs and benefits of nutrition research interventions. Cost effectiveness analysis helps to determine the most cost-effective option that will have the greatest benefit to public health.
The multidisciplinary nature of nutrition research requires collaboration among research scientists with differing areas of expertise, many different stakeholders, and multifaceted approaches to develop the knowledge base required for establishing the evidence-based nutrition guidance and policies that will lead to better health and well-being of world populations. Proper nutrition offers one of the most effective and least costly ways to decrease the burden of chronic and noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors, including obesity. Although there is skepticism about the ability to complete large, well-controlled dietary interventions at a reasonable cost in the United States, the success of the Lyon Diet Heart study in France ( 10 , 11 ) and the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea (PREDIMED) study in Spain ( 12 ), both of which used variations of the Mediterranean diet, show this approach can be successful, even in the presence of drug treatment of cardiovascular risks in the latter study. Both of these studies showed significant reductions in cardiovascular disease (and cancer in the Lyon study) after relatively modest dietary changes.
Perhaps the greatest barrier to advancing the connections between food and health is the variability in individual responses to diet; it is also the origin of public skepticism to acceptance of dietary advice and the opportunity for entrepreneurship in the private sector. Imagine being able to identify, with certainty, those most likely to benefit from prescriptive nutrition advice through the various omic technologies and then providing these groups of people with customized nutrition advice based on their metabolic risk profiles. This is the new frontier of the nutritional sciences that offers the opportunity to predictably engineer our physiologic networks for health through diet. The confidence this approach would bring to the skeptical consumer would improve adherence to weight management and disease treatment techniques and improve the chances of success for disease prevention. To realize the full positive impact of achieving good nutrition on disease prevention and the health of populations, we must have the will to invest in and support the 6 key areas of nutrition research that have been outlined above.
The Nutrition Research Needs Working Group consisted of Dennis Bier, David M Klurfeld, Zhaoping Li, Jonathan R Mein, John Milner, A Catharine Ross, Robert Russell (Chair), and Patrick Stover. They were supported by ASN staff members Sarah D. Ohlhorst and Emily Konopka.