Optimal nutrition and the ever-changing dietary landscape
2 DECEMBER 2016 | HAMBURG
The field of nutrition has evolved rapidly over the past century. Nutrition scientists and policy makers in the developed world have shifted the focus of their efforts from dealing with diseases of overt nutrient deficiency to a new paradigm aimed at coping with conditions of excess—calories, sedentary lifestyles and stress. Advances in nutrition science, technology and manufacturing have largely eradicated nutrient deficiency diseases, while simultaneously facing the growing challenges of obesity, non-communicable diseases and aging. Nutrition research has gone through a necessary evolution, starting with a reductionist approach, driven by an ambition to understand the mechanisms responsible for the effects of individual nutrients at the cellular and molecular levels. This approach has appropriately expanded in recent years to become more holistic with the aim of understanding the role of nutrition in the broader context of dietary patterns. Ultimately, this approach will culminate in a full understanding of the dietary landscape—a web of interactions between nutritional, dietary, social, behavioral and environmental factors—and how it impacts health maintenance and promotion.