Food synergy: The key to a healthy diet

David R. Jacobs, Linda C. Tapsell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

Food synergy is the concept that the non-random mixture of food constituents operates in concert for the life of the organism eaten and presumably for the life of the eater. Isolated nutrients have been extensively studied in well-designed, long-term, large randomised clinical trials, typically with null and sometimes with harmful effects. Therefore, although nutrient deficiency is a known phenomenon, serious for the sufferer, and curable by taking the isolated nutrient, the effect of isolated nutrients or other chemicals derived from food on chronic disease, when that chemical is not deficient, may not have the same beneficial effect. It appears that the focus on nutrients rather than foods is in many ways counterproductive. This observation is the basis for the argument that nutrition research should focus more strongly on foods and on dietary patterns. Unlike many dietary phenomena in nutritional epidemiology, diet pattern appears to be highly correlated over time within person. A consistent and robust conclusion is that certain types of beneficial diet patterns, notably described with words such as 'Mediterranean' and 'prudent', or adverse patterns, often described by the word 'Western', predict chronic disease. Food is much more complex than drugs, but essentially uninvestigated as food or pattern. The concept of food synergy leads to new thinking in nutrition science and can help to forge rational nutrition policy-making and to determine future nutrition research strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-206
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Volume72
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • Diet pattern
  • Food
  • Research design

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Food synergy: The key to a healthy diet'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this