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Balancing nutrition for the improvement of public health

Background

Energy-dense foods that are affordable but can be nutrient-poor have been blamed for the global obesity epidemic. Dietary energy density can be lowered by reducing the consumption of added sugars, alcohol and fat or by increasing the consumption of vegetables and fruits. However, public health campaigns focusing on those themes have not produced the expected results. Efforts need to re-focus on increasing dietary nutrient density, defined as the ratio of nutrients to calories. It is also timely to optimise the energy and nutrient density of processed and ultra-processed foods and ready to eat foods eaten away from home that account for a growing share of the food supply. Restoring dietary nutrient and energy balance can help reduce the burden of obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Developing new recommendations can facilitate industry to reformulate products based on the nutrient density concept and total energy intake, which can have a profound impact on diet quality and on global public health.

Objectives

The Nutrient Density Task Force investigates the role of nutrient density score as a marker of diet quality and examines its impact on non-communicable diseases (NCD). It also analyses the limitations of energy density scores, and provides recommendations to improve public health.

Expected Impact

  • This activity will positively impact all tripartite stakeholders by providing industry with pragmatic nutrient profiling guidelines and pertaining tools, official bodies with the assessment of the global health impact of nutrient density, and academic experts with research gaps to be addressed.
  • The Task Force will explore and pave the way for the harmonisation of nutrient profiling approaches, enabling the food industry to manufacture high quality foods to address public health problems such as obesity and related NCDs.
  • Ultimately, the Task Force will provide pragmatic recommendations on how to efficiently apply the nutrient density concept for public health benefit by contributing to the development of a sustainable diet.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Matthieu Flourakis at mflourakis@ilsieurope.be.

Task Force Members

 

Expert Groups

Nutrient Density  New

Objectives
This activity critically analyses the present knowledge on the nutrient density concept, using a global approach and bringing together tripartite stakeholders from different disciplines (behavioural nutrition, economics of food choice, environmental implications, etc.) to provide recommendations on how to use efficiently the nutrient profiling approach and apply the nutrient density concept to diets.

Activity
The expert group is currently working on a gap analysis of the nutrient density concept and its application, and its possible implications for public health.

Expected Output
The output will be a peer-reviewed publication which aims to move the nutrient density concept forward, by developing and promoting a functional toolkit with the ultimate objective to improve human health.

Expert Group Members

Nutrient Density New