Healthy diet measured by ‘nutritional geometry’, Uni of Sydney model

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 3rd August 2016

Two University of Sydney professors have proposed a radical new way of measuring human health and diet after researching nutrition for more than 20 years.

Published in Volume 36 of the Annual Review of Nutrition, the professors have proposed a new ‘nutritional geometry’ which considers how mixtures of nutrients and other dietary components influence health and disease, rather than just focusing on any one nutrient in isolation.

It is hoped this new model will assist health professionals, dietitians and researchers to better understand and manage the complexities of obesity.

“Our framework throws down the gauntlet to the whole field of human nutrition,” said one of the professors, Stephen Simpson.

“It shows that the prevailing focus on single nutrients is not able to help us understand complex chronic diseases, and that an approach based on nutrient balance can help solve the problem,” he said.

New model unifies findings from different study fields

Professor David Raubenheimer, the other professor proposing the new model, said the new approach provides a method to unify observations from multiple fields.

“The ‘nutritional geometry’ framework enables us to plot foods, meals, diets and dietary patterns together based on their nutrient composition, and this helps researchers to observe otherwise overlooked patterns in the links between certain diets, health and disease,” Professor Raubenheimer said.

“Although at face value more complex than the single-nutrient model, our ‘nutritional geometry’ framework can simplify the study of human nutrition in the long run by helping to identify those subsets of factors and their interactions that are driving negative health and environmental outcomes in our rapidly changing environments,” Professor Simpson said.