Impact: Evidence for whole foods preventing disease
Our diet – the variety of foods we eat and the chemical units, or nutrients, that those foods contain – provide the building blocks for our bones and muscle, the mechanics of oxygen delivery to our cells and the energy needed to think and move.
Not getting the right dietary balance leads to substantial burdens on morbidity, premature mortality and medical cost to the community.
While much of nutrition research has been conducted on nutrients in isolation, research undertaken by Professor Linda Tapsell AM, with academic and clinical collaborators, has helped lead a new global research effort to systematically demonstrate that whole foods and dietary patterns themselves are linked to health and disease prevention.
In doing so, Professor Tapsell aims to provide evidence that informs the development of dietary recommendations. Her research also raises questions on the safety and efficacy of taking vitamin and mineral supplements without strong supporting evidence.
For the last 20 years, Professor Tapsell has led clinical trials studying effects of single nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids, through to whole foods such as fish, oats and nuts, and then to whole dietary patterns, such as those that emerge from following dietary guidelines.
The research demonstrates that although Randomised Controlled Trials enable the highest level of evidence for translation to practice, these studies must consider the nutrient-food-diet interface.
Her studies have led to well cited reviews on this topic with collaborators across the globe, including epidemiologists working with large population surveys and clinicians working on multicentre disease prevention trials. It has also seen Professor Tapsell providing expert advice to working groups on the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Department of Health and Ageing’s Advisory Committee of the review of Nutrient Reference Values.
- FACULTY OF SCIENCE, MEDICINE AND HEALTH, UOW
Professor Linda Tapsell
Dr Allison Humphries
Dr Yasmine Probst
Dr Elizabeth Neale
Dr Anne McMahon
Associate Professor Eleanor Beck
Dr Gregory Peoples
Professor Dennis Taaffe
Ms Kate Battocchio
Ms Rebecca Thorne
Ms Rhoda Ndanuko
Ms Cinthya Wibisono
Ms Stacey Fuller
Associate Professor Karen Charlton
Professor Alison Jones
- FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND INFORMATION SCIENCES, UOW
Associate Professor Marjika Batterham
Professor David Steel
Dr Walt Davis
- ILLAWARRA SHOALHAVEN LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT
Professor Maureen Lonergan
Professor Jan Potter
Dr Marianna Milosalvjevic
- FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, UOW
Professor Frank Deane
Professor Joseph Ciarrocchi
Dr Joanna Russell
Dr Xiaoqi Feng