“Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes” headlined the Guardian (26 October 2015) in response to the publication of research on the link between meat consumption and cancer by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO report and related news items of various media caused much confusion about what foods are healthy and what foods are not. Ellen Kampman is professor of Nutrition and Disease at Wageningen UR. She discusses the quality and value of research on the relationship between nutrition and cancer. Furthermore, she looks at the impact of scientific research and media hypes on our food consumption.
Publications regarding meat consumption and cancer are one of the many examples of science-based publications that cause a lot of confusion among consumers. Is it unhealthy to drink wine and milk and to eat pasta and potato chips? Is the green smoothie the new elixir vitae? Because of the multitude of conflicting information we receive via newspapers, magazines, books and television shows, we don’t know any longer what’s healthy and what’s not.
Dutch Dietary Guidelines , Wheel of Five (Schijf van Vijf)
The Dutch Health Council (Gezondheidsraad), the advisory board of the Ministery of Health, Wellbeing and Sports, also published a report (4 November 2015) providing guidelines for a healthy diet. A report that evoked much debate too. Partly based on this report, the Netherlands Nutrition Centre (Het Voedingscentrum) - the authority which provides consumers science-based and independent information about healthy, safe and more sustainable food choices - will launch the new Schijf van Vijf. This is a tool to help you make choices for a healthy diet.
Prof.dr.ir. Ellen Kampman is Chair of Nutrition and Disease at Wageningen University and Research center. Her own research focuses on the link between nutrition and cancer. In recent studies she for instance examined the effect of folic acid on the occurrence of colon cancer. In other words, will the addition of folic acid to our food reduce or increase the risk of colon cancer? Research that has great impact on society.