Nutritional medicine is (finally) focusing on food

[Archival: Originally published on my (discontinued) NutritionData.com blog]

As we head into the second day of the Nutrition and Health Conference, I can’t help but reflect what a difference a decade makes.

Ten years ago, conferences like this one were dominated by research and presentations about individual nutrients, like tocotrienols or pycnogenol.  The protocols all involved cocktails of high dose nutritional supplements.  The exhibit hall was filled with supplement manufacturers.

This week, I haven’t heard a single presentation (and seen only a handful of slides) about isolated nutrients. Instead, the focus is on food. The research and protocols all address what foods make up the diet, how they are prepared, processed, combined, and balanced to promote health.  And out in the exhibition hall? Vital Choice Wild Seafood, POM pomegranate juice, Pistachio Health.com, and the Washington Red Raspberry commission.

What’s more, we’re finally looking at the big picture rather than individual “super foods.” The title of a talk I’m headed to right now says it all: “Preventing Cancer with Food: Magic Bullets vs. Dietary Patterns.” (presented by Marjorie McCullough from Emory University.)

Finally, nutritional medicine is about food.

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