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Title: Nutritional genomics : a new paradigm in food and health promotion?
Author: McGinty, Susan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 7257
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2008
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The 21 s` century is witness to a dramatic rise in overweight, obesity and diabetes with its attendant social and economic costs. The influence of diet on a number of chronic diseases of ageing, including cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, is now increasingly recognised. As a response to consumer demand for `health and wellness' products or `nutraceuticals', the food industry is investing heavily in functional `super' foods and supplements. To protect the consumer, foster innovation and harmonise the internal market, the EU has funded a number of research programmes to underpin its suite of legislative instruments, in particular the 2006 Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation. These include harmonisation of population reference intakes, dietary guidelines and maximum permitted levels of micronutrients in supplements and added to food. Entry to the EU register of approved health claims (structure/function and disease-risk reduction) on foods is through scientific substantiation procedures which follow a classical reductionist approach to biological science and epidemiology. However advances in genomic science are revealing the extent of inter-ancestral and inter-individual variation in response to, and requirements from, diet. The complex nature of the relationship between genome, diet and other environmental factors on health, highlights the inadequacies of traditional reductionist methodologies: new ways of looking at science and evidence through a stochastic prism are explored. As post-genome technologies refine and more precisely define health and dysfunction, the lack of any legal definition of `disease' in EU law threatens to blur an already opaque border between `food' and `medicine'. Where frameworks for population and personal nutrition and health guidelines are proposed, the reconciliation of food and medicine looks to lie in up-to-date biological definitions of `disease', `nutrient' and `essentiality'. Regulation of health claims and promotion of dietary guidelines will need to encompass the complexity of inter-ethnic and interindividual variation: this may necessitate use of appropriate qualifying or caveat statements (relating to action dynamics and/or weight of supporting evidence) fit for purpose in the new post-genome scientific reality. It will also demand new competencies of health professionals and regulators if the full potential of nutrigenomic advances for personal and public health is to be realised.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available