Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

Webinar: “Diet-genome Interactions: Bringing us a Step Closer Towards Personalised Nutrition”

17th October 2022


Diet has a crucial role in cardio-metabolic health, but metabolic responses to diet are highly individualised. One route to tackle the continued rise in obesity and associated health consequences is personalised nutrition. However, for this to be effective, it is important to characterise molecular pathways that mediate individual dietary responses.

Overall, DIMENSION aims to investigate the influence of dietary intakes on epigenetic regulation of gene function, and effects on human cardio-metabolic health. In this webinar, the latest research on effects of diets on our genomes and gene regulation were discussed as well as personalised nutrition-based strategies to promote cardio-metabolic health.

We live in the age of imprecise public health nutrition advice (so-called one-size-fits-all), which is nonetheless valuable. However, there is strong evidence for postprandial molecular and sex-specific responses to test meal challenges, dominated by genes involved in adipogenesis and inflammation.

Postprandial genomic trajectories and postprandial glucose, insulin, and lipid concentrations have together revealed genetic mediators of inter-individual variations in response to diets. In other words, we are correct in thinking that not everyone responds to same food in the same way. The problem is the variation between studies, which makes understanding implications of these difference difficult. Food-metabotype relationships, or metabolic phenotypes (i.e., characteristics responses to meals), can be identified loosely, but there is an urgent need to replicate studies if we are going to base public health advice on these outcomes. DIMENSION aims to bring new knowledge on acute and chronic methylation changes (epigenetics) and integrate this knowledge with personalised and precision nutrition and human health research.

The webinar was organized by ILSI Europe as a part of webinar series on personalised nutrition.


Sarah Berry – King’s College London (UK)


DIMENSION project overview and postprandial genomic trajectories, Jordana Bell – King’s College London (UK)

Habitual diet and epigenetic modifications microbiome & data, Jakob Linseisen – University of Augsburg and Ludwig-Maximililans University of Munich (DE)

Personalised nutrition: a game-changing journey towards health, Jose Ordovas – Tufts University (US) and IMDEA-Food (ES)


Webinar: “Nutrition and cognitive development in children”

4th October 2022

The food we eat influences functioning of the brain and, perhaps more importantly, development of the child’s brain. However, there is also a key link between brain development and the gut microbiome.

Microbes in our guts produce specific metabolites, some of which can be detected in our breath (e.g., methane, H2, short chain fatty acids and alkanes). The guts of infants are nearly sterile at birth, but they become a unique community of trillions of microbes by adulthood. An increasing body of evidence shows that these bacteria have an impact on development of the brain, affecting behaviour and cognitive function. The most important outcomes identified by NUTRISHIELD include:

  • Key role of gut microbiome in brain development and behaviour
  • Early gut colonisation is affected by the child’s environment
  • Gut bacteria can potentially be changed/manipulated and might positively affect brain development and function.
  • Relationships between the gut microbiome and health are complicated and not always as expected
  • Healthy, well-balanced diets are correlated with better cognition in children and reduced risk of less cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults
  • Pro-inflammatory foods (e.g., meats, non-oily fish, sugar-sweetened beverages) can negatively affect the gut microbiome whilst anti-inflammatory foods (e.g., oily fish, olive oil, green leafy vegetables) have a positive impact
  • Probiotics are the subject of current research and understanding of any benefits still at an early stage
  • Breath analysis is a useful non-invasive approach for assessing individuals’ metabolic status including gut microbiome responses to dietary intervention.

The webinar was organized by Alpes Lasers SA as a part of the EU-funded project NUTRISHIELD (Fact-based personalized nutrition for the young, Grant Agreement No. 818110).


Prof. Carolina de Weerth (Radboud University Medical Center, NL)

Prof. Esther Aarts (Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, NL)

Dr Simona Cristescu (Life Science Trace Detection Laboratory, Radboud University, NL)


News 2022

Mirjana Gurinovic (RS), member of the European Commission (EC) high level expert group (HLEG)

Strengthening food systems science policy interfaces

The European Commission (EC) has established a high-level expert group (HLEG) to assess needs and options for strengthening the science policy interface (SPI) for improved food systems governance.

Consisting of 19 international experts from different disciplines and continents, the HLEG mandate was to assess needs, options, impacts, and possible approaches for an international platform for food systems science (IPFSS) that can work in close cooperation with DG Research & Innovation and other Directorates.

The final report Everyone at the Table: Transforming food systems by connecting science, policy and society | European Commission was published in June 2022.

HLEG concluded that food system transformation must be better supported through more ambitious interlinked science-policy-society interfaces, and recommended the following: multilateral institutions i) must strengthen and adapt existing SPIs with additional resources and broader mandates to engage across sectors and scales; ii) cooperate with EU MS to fund a series of dedicated taskforces to fill knowledge and data gaps; and iii) collectively invest in a global coordination hub to build capacity and convene regional assessments as well as forecast and model trends.

Final report direct link:

Policy brief (EN) direct link:


NUTRIMAD 2018 Congress (IV World Congress of Public Health Nutrition and XII Congress of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition)

24th - 27th October 2018, Madrid (ES) 

The XII Congress of the Spanish Society for Community Nutrition (NUTRIMAD) was this year held jointly with the IV World Congress of Public Health and Nutrition in Madrid (ES). EuroFIR member, Universidad CEU San Pablo, organised this worldwide congress, which included topics such as education for better nutrition, social aspects of food, the Mediterranean diet, physical exercise, emotional balance and food, community nutrition for an ageing society, food sustainability, healthy gastronomy, hydration, and community living and eating.

The congress was attended by almost 500 people representing physicians, nurses, dietitians, journalists, researchers, chefs, educators, the food industry and government. Prof. Dr Gregorio Varela-Moreiras, Professor of Nutrition at the CEU San Pablo University and co-president of NUTRIMAD 2018 declared, “we wanted to create a high-quality scientific program highlighting the national and international research activity that will also serve to lay the foundations for future research”. The Congress concluded with the Declaration of Madrid on nutrition for the XXI century, a consensus document that offers nutritional guidelines to promote healthy habits among the population as a whole that should serve as an inspiration for the whole society. Prof. Dr Carmen Pérez-Rodrigo, President of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC) and co-president of NUTRIMAD 2018, commented, “this Declaration aims to create a strong compromise to achieve a better quality of life, a happier society and a positive, active and healthy aging in the present and future generations”.

Symposium: Food Composition in the Mediterranean, harmonisation & networking

Saturday 27th October, Madrid (ES), by Maria Kapsokefalou (AUA, GR)

EuroFIR co-organised this symposium, which was chaired by EuroFIR Director, Maria Kapsokefalou (AUA, GR). Speakers included another EuroFIR Director (Helena Soares Costa, INSA, PT), Aida Turrini (former EuroFIR Director, CREA, IT) and Angela Morena Martinez (EuroFIR Member, University of Granada, ES), and they presented the history and current state of food composition databases (FCDBs) in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Strengths,weaknesses, and the challenges FCDBs face in each of these countries in meeting demands from research and in policy development were also discussed. One of the recommendations arising from these discussions was the need for expanding the Mediterranean Network (MeNe) to include other EU and non-EU countries in the Mediterranean Region, which would
create synergies in the region to meet the challenges.

EIT Summer school

INnovating the JOY of Eating for Healthy Ageing (INJOY) Summer School

25.06.2018-04.07.2018, University of Barcelona, Spain

Angelika Mantur-Vierendeel participated in a 10-day summer school during June, organised by the University of Barcelona (ES) and EIT Health. The course was designed to help entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs (in-house innovation managers), and researchers develop novel business solutions empowering citizens to adopt eating behaviours that support healthy ageing.

During this intense training, students had an opportunity to participate in scientific sessions, food-innovation workshops, theoretical and practical business sessions, site visits, and listen to ‘influencer’ talks similar to TED. The schedule was designed to combined sessions on nutrition with business development, which allowed participants from different backgrounds (nutrition, research, economics, business development) to better understand one another and how nutrition might be combined with entrepreneurship to generate new ideas.

The scientific sessions helped deepen knowledge about nutrition, but also allowed participants to go back to basics and learn new content from a variety of case studies. There was a good dose of business development theory for those without this kind of background, and plenty of practical classes with case analysis to complement the theory. To enrich the training experience, there were excursions to innovative culinary centres and businesses in Barcelona, where students had a chance to understand how real businesses can support healthy living. Participants also had an exclusive opportunity to visit the Alicia Foundation - a centre devoted to technological innovation in cuisine, the improvement of eating habits, and the evaluation of food heritage. In a culinary workshop, students had to cook different meals using innovative technologies, which allow preparation of foods with altered textures. For example, fish and chips can be blended (homogenised) separately and served traditionally, as fish and chips, but allow those with dysphagia to enjoy food they otherwise are unable to eat because of the risk of choking.

To ensure the knowledge gained could be put to good use in the future, participants also worked in group projects, translating ideas into sustainable business models. This helped develop and reinforce new skills in identifying and growing business ideas and assessing opportunities for sustainable business models to promote healthy living.

By completing this summer school, Angelika has more experience in how SMEs are finding business opportunities on the food, nutrition and health sectors, which – in turn – helps EuroFIR understand better the needs of current and future members and clients.

EIT Food & EIT Health Cross KIC Event: Benefits of biologicals for food & health industries

14th June 2018 (Rotterdam, NL)


Koppert Biological Systems hosted the first cross-KIC event amongst partners from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food and Health Communities. The event was intended to showcase examples where the two EIT communities have been successful independently and to find ways they might work together in other EIT-funded projects, highlighting the links between food and health. Speakers included: Menno Kok (Director of EIT Health Belgium-Netherlands), Angelo Vermeulen (NASA), Imran Afzal (PepsiCo). This event illustrated the interconnection between the sectors and the willingness to engage more on projects where there are strong common interests.

Menno Kok gave an insight on how EIT Health could fund more prevention-related projects in coming years, and revealed there will be joint funding calls between EIT Health and EIT Food, as related to education, business creation, and sustainability. There will also be a joint innovation strategy for cross-KIC projects linking food and health. Importantly, for Quisper, Menno highlighted research in healthcare prevention, specifically patient participation and the impact on individuals once they are aware of their genetic risk and what it means in terms of health and dietary behaviours.

Angelo Vermeulen (NASA) talked about the many food innovations happening in the space sector, from 3D-printed food to space farming. One project, MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative, is looking at closed-loop system relationships amongst food, waste, water, and CO2 and, most relevant for EuroFIR, making sure foods are nutritious and safe for human consumption. Imran Afzal from PepsiCo International (UK), a beneficiary in EIT Food Quisper, spoke about work connecting food with health.

Slides are available here:

Photos are available here