In late November last year the team from GLNC headed to Adelaide for the 10th Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition (APCCN). With the theme ‘Nutrition Solutions for a Changing World,’ APCCN brought together nutrition scientists from across the globe to share the latest in nutrition research. Read on for a wrap-up of the key themes from APCCN:
- The future of food: how can we contribute to a more sustainable food system?
Author and science communicator Julian Cribb opened the first Plenary Session with a sobering reminder of the risks involved with the modern day food system. Our population is growing at record rates, yet over-consumption and current practices are straining both our health, and the environment. Cribb noted over the next few decades, there is a need to grow more food to sustain the growing population, but produced from less land, using less water. But it’s not all bad news: Cribb’s presentation shared the endless opportunities and areas for innovation in sustainable food systems – a shift to a more plant-based diet, cultured meat and the use of food printers, and ‘Agritecture,’ the art of growing more food in urban environments, which can be observed in major cities with sustainably built high-rises covered in greenery.
- The microbiome: a trend that’s here to stay, but there’s so much more to learn!
Gut health made waves in 2017 for its links with health and possible disease prevention, and a number of research presentations at APCCN focused on how the microbiome can be altered through eating probiotic or prebiotic foods. Associate Professor Melinda Coughlan from Monash University shared interesting research around the potential for resistant starch to protect against Chronic Kidney Disease in mice, by suppressing or reversing inflammation from dietary AGEs, and decreasing changes in gut bacteria. But despite the hype, there was a consensus that nutrition science is still in the early stages of understanding how diet can affect gut health, so stay tuned!
- Food innovations and new product development: high-amylose wheat
Dr Anthony Bird from CSIRO presented research on a newly developed strain of wheat which is high in amylose and looks set to become a useful functional food ingredient. With ten times the amount of resistant starch than ordinary wheat, the newly developed high-amylose wheat can be milled into flour and used in food products as normal. This means people could benefit from the digestive and chronic disease protection resistant starch offers, without drastically changing or increasing the foods they eat.
- Whole grain: where we’re falling short
GLNC General Manager Dr Sara Grafenauer also presented research findings from GLNC, alongside the University of Wollongong: ‘The whole grain gap: comparing intakes to recommendations.’ The study found that from a nationally representative sample of Australians, only 30% met the 48g Daily Target Intake of whole grains, so are missing out on the known health benefits. Find out more about the whole grain DTI here.