Focus of Nutrition Research in Early Century


Focus of Nutrition Research in Early Century

The early pioneers in nutrition as illustrated focused on chemical investigation in the air, studies on respiration, the importance of food as fuel to children and adults’ good health, classification of 11 foods, identification of protein in foods and discovery of glycogen (animal starch).

Focus of Nutrition Research in the First Half of 20th Century

This era witnessed researches in human nutrition that focused on the role of essential nutrients, especially vitamins in human deficiency diseases. It was after the Second World War that research in nutrition in industrial countries began to focus on the role of diet in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The century has witnessed a plethora of information on diet and its implication with non- communicable diseases but such information is devoid of guidance on methods of differentiating facts from fallacy.

Focus of Nutrition Research in 20th Century till Present

This century has witnessed a significant shift in the direction of nutrition research from nutrient deficiency diseases as the major causes of morbidity and mortality to investigating the role of diet in the maintenance of health and reduction of the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCCDs). Presently, the research challenges of identifying dietary factors that predispose man to specific NCCD and to explain such connection of the diseases dietary habits. In fact, researches on the effects of supplementary antioxidants (vitamin A, C, and D, Selenium) and other phytochemicals in the management and prevention of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes mellitus are the current focus of nutrition research.

The Usefulness of Nutrition Research

It is important to understand the usefulness of research in nutrition for the following reasons: It

• Helps to understand the important nutrients in food that prevent deficiencies.

• Assists to pinpoint the major nutrients that may be involved in the aetiology of obesity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

• Provides guidelines aimed at reducing the risk of one or more non communicable diseases (NCCDs).

• Gives an insight as to the role of diet in NCCDs.

• Helps to develop step by step evaluation of scientific evidence relating to dietary composition of foods, food groups and dietary patterns to maintenance of health.

• Helps to investigate the role of diet in the maintenance of health and the reduction of the risk of NCCDs.

• Helps to identify dietary factors that influence specific diseases and explains the mechanisms.

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