CEDAR, Reading

Tue, 2016-11-22

Forum Meets at University of Reading  

 

A plea for a more evidence-based approach to the formulation of food policy and dietary guidelines - this was the message from the Dairy Science Forum, following its visit to the Centre for Dairy Research Centre at the University of Reading. The challenges posed by global food security, together with increasing prevalence of metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure) and the re-emergence of specific nutrient deficiencies, are too important to be guided by selective, incomplete, or skewed interpretation of scientific data. Opposing views, simultaneously emanating from different UK Government sources, on the role of dairy and dairy products in sustainable nutrition is a recent case in point. An increasing body of independent research, peer-reviewed research is becoming available nationally and internationally, which should be factored into national dietary guidelines. Appropriate metrics to describe true nutritional value, recognition that people consume diets made up of a number of food groups which act together, acknowledgement that requirements change according to age group and that there can be long-term dietary effects on health, are essential factors to increase accuracy and transparency in the advice given. The communication challenge is to provide objective information to the public which is neither dumbed down to the extent of being potentially misleading, or too complex to be useable for the average consumer.