In July 2016, the Lorenzini Medical Foundation convened an interdisciplinary panel of international experts in the field of Nutrition. These experts, culled from the areas of Medicine, Economics, Communications, and Policy Making, discussed the critical issues and future perspectives of Nutritional Guidelines. The meeting represented a critical reappraisal of evidence-based nutritional guidelines.
Lead by Dennis M. Bier (Director, Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, USA) and Andrea Peracino (President, Giovanni Lorenzini Foundation, Milan-Houston), the group concluded that a series of significant limitations in nutritional guidelines exists – and that these require a systematic methodological approach, and a broad communications effort across to the lay public – if they are to provide the best available evidence base knowledge in the effort to prevent the onslaught of Chronic Diseases and to promote optimization of Health and Wellbeing.
The experts’ findings highlighted the importance of developing the concept of “Personalized Nutrition,” a combination of individual parameters and microbiome features, integrated by bioinformatics, allowing accurate predictions of the individual post-meal glucose response to identical meals, leading to a personalized dietary guidelines approach. Furthermore, interactions between nutrient quality and calorie amount are key in modulating metabolic and molecular pathways, and are directly linked in the pathogenesis of aging and chronic diseases.
This International meeting was an important milestone for the promotion of high-quality knowledge in the field of prevention of non-communicable diseases.
The Priority of a New Look at Nutrition
All life processes are subject to the influence of biological and nurturing factors as well as their ultimate interactions. Physical and psychological growth and development, as well as their functional outcomes for the individual, are fundamental to the full expression of that individual.
At the same time, environmental determinants play an equally critical role in shaping the body configuration through postnatal synaptic “blooming and pruning” that incorporates ongoing experiences into the development of tissues, organs, and functions. Some of these environmental determinants act by modifying gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms. In essence, an infant is born with the intrinsic capacity to learn, but how and what the infant learns is modulated by the environment.
Nutrition with regard to human development is about supporting all metabolic activities. Nutrition is an environmental factor as it represents access to resources from the environment (i.e. food, air, and water), but in contrast to other environmental resources like medical care, education, or experiences, nutrition can mediate the expression of genetic factors by providing the specific molecules that construct and enable genes to exert their potential or targeted effects on the development of the full system.. The epigenetic effects of nutrients have been well documented. Thus, nutrition plays a critical role at the cross-roads of the biological and nurturing factors that mediate the growth and development of organs, tissues, and functional processes.
The Lorenzini Foundation has a long history of working globally with stakeholders across all sectors in the field of nutrition which is currently experiencing a renaissance with regard to current nutrition guidelines and their efficacy in sustaining international health policies.