IUFoST- ICSU Symposium- Unravelling the Globesity Puzzle

From left: Sergio Pastrana (ICSU VP External Affairs), Lucy Sun Hwang (National Taiwan University), Ibrahim Elmadfa (IUNS President – University of Vienna)

Session chair and President of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences Ibrahim Elmadfa gave a talk on Wednesday titled Energy balance and diet quality in the control of obesity dealt with the often neglected part of the obesity equation- the energy expenditure side. Elmadfa spoke about how over time, caloric expenditure has decreased significantly.

“Neither fat nor carbs can alone explain obesity; it’s more the energy balance component that is responsible,” said Elmadfa. “We’ve had a wave of light products but if people habitually eat more of this, they’ll end up where they started; they will simply eat more. ”

Nigel Sunley from South Africa highlighted the fact that it should be food scientists and technologies that translate consumer needs into products, and so he asked Elmadfa how food scientists and technologists could change their thinking to fit this issue of energy expenditure.

“In my view, the first point should be to focus on the diversity of foods. To go for lower energy density foods. Meat or meat products are not to be avoided totally but you can consume of them less frequently, in smaller portions. Milk and milk products are very important to you, so we would never say avoid them but we would say take the low fat products and focus on this. The focus on fruits and vegetables has been neglected and I think we should make use of all the sources, fresh and dried, canned or frozen. The other point is to encourage performance of more and more often physical activity. This is something that we also have to think as a society and not leave it for the individuals.”

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