Everyday Good Health: The Nutrient Rich Way
Director, Drummond Food Science Advisory, New Zealand
Much of the global burden of disease is directly related to dietary quality and quantity. Whilst inadequate nutrition (protein, energy and micronutrients) is estimated to be responsible for more than 10% of the global disease burden, the other extreme of over-nutrition, or excess dietary consumption, is driving global epidemics of obesity and associated comorbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndome and some types of cancer. There is general consensus that for much of the world, access to low-cost, highly-processed, energy-dense, but nutrient–poor food is a key driver in the escalating rates of obesity. Food availability, safety, accessability and education are drivers of food choice. Population nutrition policies are focused on encouraging positive changes in food consumption patterns, however a critical element in those objectives is understanding the nutrient value of foods. Improved health outcomes are associated with nutrient rich, lower energy, quality diets.
Nutrient rich foods are those that have a positive balance of beneficial nutrients and nutrients that are recommended to limit. In order to understand how to rate foods, nutrient profiling methods have been developed to provide information about the overall nutritional attributes of foods for consumers. Nutrient profiling methods are a more holistic approach to communicating the nutritional richness of foods as they take into account multiple nutrients, as opposed to focusing on single components. Fundamental to this concept is the energy value of foods. Foods that are energy dense and low in beneficial nutrients score poorly in nutrient profiling systems, whereas foods that deliver a range of beneficial nutrients score well. There are some significant challenges in designing validated ranking systems to address all food groups and typical portion or serve sizes, in order to deliver a simple to understand, yet accurate, rating.
Consistently, low energy-dense fruit and vegetables outperform other food groups in nutrient profiling systems. Within each food group there is range of nutrient profiling scores, enabling further choice for the selection of more healthy options. Whilst nutrient profiling systems typically consider only selected macro- and micro- nutrients for which there are known recommended dietary intakes, natural foods such as fruits and vegetables also contain a range of highly beneficial naturally occurring phytonutrients. Consumer research has shown the health–promoting benefits of natural foods are preferred to the added benefits of formulated functional foods. The positive promotion of diets high in nutrient-rich, low energy-dense fruit and vegetables is one aspect to improving health outcomes driven by dietary factors.
This presentation will consider the role of fruit, in particular kiwifruit, in the diet and how the nutrient-rich, and phytonutrient-rich properties can contribute to the improvement of health outcomes.
View Presentation on Everyday Good Health: The Nutrient Rich Way by Lynley Drummond from Kiwifruit Symposium