Precision Nutrition–the Answer to “What to Eat to Stay Healthy”

August 28, 2020 From an opinion paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Griffin P. Rodgers, MD, and Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD for NIH.

The long-recognized centrality and importance of nutrition for good health naturally lead to the practical question of what to eat to stay healthy.

Many studies have revealed profound differences among individuals in disease risk and biological responses to diet, making it challenging to fully answer this question. This necessitates moving beyond a one-size-fits-all dietary prescription for optimal health and disease prevention.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is leading efforts to advance the field of precision nutrition as the best strategy to catalyze nutrition science and related fields into meaningful, clinically relevant dietary solutions for both individuals and populations that share physiological, behavioral, or sociocultural features. The 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research promotes rigorous science to answer fundamental questions about human nutrition. . . .

Advancing the science of precision nutrition is needed to focus on the role of nutrition across the lifespan and address diet-related conditions through multifaceted interventions that go beyond choosing healthy foods. Read the full article.


Matching Meals to Metabolism 

August 28, 2020 – From Knowable Magazine, July 28, 2020

Q&A with nutrition researcher Steven Zeisel

For many years, researchers and clinicians assumed that nutrition was a one-size-fits-all affair. Everybody needs the same nutrients from their food, they thought, and a vitamin pill or two could help dispense with any deficiencies.

But now scientists are learning that our genes and environment, along with the microbes that dwell in us and other factors, alter our individual abilities to make and process nutrients. These differences mean that two given people can respond to identical diets in different ways, contributing to varied health outcomes and patterns of disease. Read more.


Research UNCovered: Baba Mass

August 28, 2020 – Research UNCovered, a series by endeavors online magazine, delves into the lives of UNC researchers from all disciplines and career levels. 

Baba Mass is a research technician in the Voruganti Lab within the UNC Nutrition Research Institute. He studies how genes and diet impact serum uric acid levels — a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Unhealthy amounts of uric acid can cause kidney and heart problems. Read more.


Camp NRI Update

August 28, 2020 – Summer 2020 might not have gone exactly according to plan, but we loved having the chance to attend Camp NRI with all of you. Camp was in session monthly during June, July, and August. Hosted live on Facebook and Instagram, our camp sessions were designed as a fun and interactive way for young students to get a taste of science and nutrition from the comfort of home. Missed out? Don’t fret – replays are available and linked below:

Keep an eye out for future Camp NRI demonstrations during scheduled school vacations!


Appetite For Life Returns – with a Twist – on September 16

August 28, 2020  We’ve missed you! Covid-19 put a spin on everything this year, causing some AFL cancellations in the spring. But we’re coming back! Our new public programming, Appetite for Life with a Twist, is a series of online live presentations for the fall that address nutrition, immunity, and viruses.

On September 16, join us for Nutrition Risks for Covid-19 by Martin Kohlmeier, MD, PhD. 

As Covid-19 continues to spread throughout the US, a number of scientists favor the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency provides an opening for infections with many respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2, based on observations in the US and elsewhere around the globe. It is well understood that several factors increase the risk that individuals are deficient in vitamin D: old age, obesity, dark skin tone, and common genetic variants. The currently available evidence is already leaning toward the view that prevention of severe vitamin D deficiency slows SARS-CoV-2 transmission. In this premiere of Appetite for Life with a Twist, the NRI’s online series of science-based free, public presentations, Martin Kohlmeier, MD, PhD, will explain how vitamin D works, what happens to bodies when they are deficient in this nutrient, and what it takes to avoid deficiency.

The online program begins at 6 PM.