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Preventive nutrition food, Mediterranean Diet[1]

Preventive Nutrition is a branch of nutrition science with the goal of preventing, delaying, and/or reducing the impacts of disease and disease-related complications.[2][3] It is concerned with a high level of personal well-being, disease prevention, and diagnosis of recurring health problems or symptoms of discomfort which are often precursors to health issues.[4] Preventive nutrition may assist in prolonging the onset of non-communicable diseases (such as Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease) and may allow adults to experience more "healthy living years"[5] later in life.[1][5] The need for preventive nutrition continues to grow as the overweight and obese population numbers steadily rise within the childhood to adult populous, as the numbers have increased over the last 40 years.[5] To educate the public about preventive nutrition, each social structure has its own way of communicating what preventive nutrition is within its own society, this is done through either a public health forum, government programs and policies or nutritional education.[6] In the United States, preventive nutrition is taught to the public through the use of the food pyramid or MyPlate initiatives.[6]


The idea of using preventive nutrition as a medical treatment is not a new idea, as philosopher Hippocrates (460-377 BC) states that the best way to diminish diseases or ailments was to "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food".[5] Since the understanding for preventive nutrition was needed, the Mediterranean Diet model was the standard reference guide.[1] As the Mediterranean diet was initially recognized to fight against the onset of heart disease.[1]

Since the early 1980s food trends have gradually begun to change, with the introduction and fast popularization of processed prepackaged convenience foods.[5][1][6] With this popularization these type of foods also increased the digestions of high amounts of sugar, sodium and high fatty foods which lack micro-nutrients and favorable macro-profiles which lead to a lower nutrient-density value that can have great adverse effects on health.[7]

During the commercialization and industrialization of food a higher demand for processed, prepackaged, convenience food such as beef in your fast food burger, farmers began to industrially farm livestock to produce more meat to meet the food industry's demand. To meet the demands farmers began to feed livestock corn, soy, and grain. Corn is the most used animal feed in the United States.[8] Compared to grass-fed beef, grain-fed beef was higher in saturated fatty acids along with a less favorable omega fatty acids profile, highlighting the imbalance of nutrients in these kinds of foods.[9]

A lack of Preventive Nutrition

Every day, the consequences of inadequate preventive nutrition become increasingly apparent. The lack of awareness regarding both nutritional and physical well-being is taking a toll on the health of numerous individuals. A survey conducted in China among the hypertensive population highlights that obesity emerges as a prominent factor contributing to hypertension. . According to Wei, Junyang's article addressing hypertension as a significant health concern in China, a survey of 3,579 participants revealed that 55.5% were aware of their diagnosis. Among that percentage, only 20.3% had their hypertension under control.[9] The article also highlighted a correlation between poor control and obesity. In their conclusion, the authors asserted that awareness and control of hypertension were low in China. It could be suggested that preventative nutrition could be employed as a method for raising awareness through preventative measures and providing control for these kinds of chronic non-communicable diseases.[9] It is necessary to prevent people from becoming overweight or out of shape before they fall victim to the side effects of obesity, injury, or other chronic non-communicable diseases.

How to implement Preventive Nutrition

Preventive nutrition extends beyond mere dietary choices; it encompasses heightened nutritional and physical awareness as well as corresponding practices. Nonetheless, for certain individuals, diets can serve as excellent tools in restoring the body to a state of health. As an example, the Ketogenic diet has been scientifically validated for its effectiveness in enhancing glycemic control among individuals with Type 2 diabetes and those who are at risk of developing the condition.[10] This dietary approach serves as an excellent tool for individuals grappling with insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control challenges. Nevertheless, it's crucial to emphasize that diets should be viewed as tools rather than permanent solutions. This is because extreme diets, such as the ketogenic diet, may potentially have adverse effects, or we may lack sufficient data on their long-term impacts.[11][10]

An alternative to diets or a complement to dietary approaches, and a practice that can persist beyond specific diet plans, is cultivating nutritional awareness and making proactive food choices. This approach is the most sustainable method for maintaining good health and forms the essence of Preventive Nutrition. A simple way to begin is by familiarizing yourself with nutritional labels. Reading these labels provides insight into what you're consuming, including quantities and other macro-nutrients. In a four-week randomized, controlled trial assessing the impact of three types of nutrition labels on consumer food purchases, the results indicated that "Products for which participants viewed the label and subsequently purchased the product during the same shopping episode were significantly healthier than products where labels were viewed but the product was not subsequently purchased."[12]

The objective of Preventive Nutrition is to continually enhance one's awareness of food quantities, ingredients, and how specific foods interact with and impact the body. It's essential to progressively expand knowledge of nutrition to thwart chronic diseases and obesity, promoting a lifestyle that facilitates optimal health and vitality.


Athletes are held to a higher standard of nutrition, and preventive nutrition can be the key to many athletes staying on the field in the first place.  According to a study done by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, most athletes don’t even have a grasp on their nutrition, and neither do their coaches.  The study involved 579 participants, 185 athletes, 131 coaches, 192 athletic trainers (ATs), and 71 strength and conditioning specialists (SCSs).  A test was taken on their nutritional knowledge, and it was found that athletes and coaches in general do not know a lot about nutrition, with only 9% of athletes passing, and 35.9% of coaches.  For comparison, 71.4% of ATs, and 83.1% of SCSs passed the same knowledge test [1].  For something so crucial to performance, athletes in general do not know much at all about nutrition, and how it can affect their performance.  Not only does this affect their performance, but it also affects if they are even on the field or not, as preventive nutrition is a field for the purpose of finding out how to prevent things such as injury.  To demonstrate this, a group of high-performance runners (n=8) completed a fat adaptation carbohydrate restoration (FACR) dietary intervention (five days’ carbohydrate < 20% and fat > 60% energy, plus one-day carbohydrate ≥ 70% energy), and a control high-carbohydrate (HCHO) diet for six days (carbohydrate > 60% energy; fat < 20% energy) [2].  It was found that, compared to the HCHO diet, the FACR diet improved running economy, which is the efficiency which the athlete’s body uses energy while running, ultimately leading to a faster run time [4].  Although this is a very specific diet, it shows how changing the food one is eating can quickly improve athletic performance on the field (or track) as well.

Overlooked aspects

Even though everyone knows (for the most part) which foods are healthy, and which foods are not, there is still an obesity problem in many countries around the world.  The idea of preventive nutrition is widely known and accepted, but people still do not follow the necessary dietary guidelines to a healthy lifestyle.  According to Kovacs, "one solution to address health concerns is to shift current dietary patterns to diets that are both nutritious and sustainable" [5].  Having a sustainable diet is the reason many people do not eat healthy; they are always on the road and eat McDonald’s far too often.  Or, another dilemma, is that people do not have enough money to eat healthy.  This is a huge problem, as "the poorest who face disproportionate barriers to accessing healthy food have an increased risk of malnutrition," [6].  People in cities often have more access to food easier than those in suburban areas, however people who are extremely poor do not have access to food at all.  This wedge driving through the poor and middle class is only making the gap larger, and with increased urbanization this will only lead to fewer people having access to healthy food [6].  However, people who are not considered to be in the poorest class, but do not have enough money to eat healthy food all the time have one simple solution.  Grocery stores.  Going to the grocery store and buying a lot of healthy food in bulk will end up being less expensive than buying fast food every day.  This is a huge loophole which many people do not take advantage of because they are too busy or do not want to cook.  This is the largest factor overlooked by many and needs to be taken advantage of much more than it currently is today.

Future of Preventive Nutrition & Conclusion

Preventive nutrition is still in the very early stages of research, as people are just starting to take note of high-level athletes such as Tom Brady who is still an elite athlete at 43 years old.  And all due to his impeccable diet for the past 20 years or so.[citation needed] Overall, the "diets on metabolic responses and exercise performance in endurance athletes have not been conclusively determined" [1].  In other words, there really isn't enough evidence yet on what specific diets will best benefit which groups of people, but what there is evidence of is that a healthy diet can mean everything when it comes to getting on the field, court, or track, and staying on it.  The future of preventive nutrition looks very bright, and it can only get better from here.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Nicola Di Daniele. (2019). The Role of Preventive Nutrition in Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases. Nutrients, 11(5), 1074.
  2. ^ "Preventive nutrition: what is it, symptoms and treatment". Top Doctors. Retrieved 2023-12-07.
  3. ^ "Preventive Nutrition - Department of Nutrition and Food Studies". Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  4. ^ "What is Preventive Nutrition?". Nutritional Concepts. Archived from the original on 12 July 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Fardet, A., & Rock, E. (2014). Toward a new philosophy of preventive nutrition: From a reductionist to a holistic paradigm to improve nutritional recommendations. Advances in Nutrition, 5(4), 430-446.
  6. ^ a b c Fardet, A., & Rock, E. (2016). The healthy core metabolism: A new paradigm for primary preventive nutrition. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 20(3), 239-247.
  7. ^ Ritchie, L., Wakimoto, P., Woodward-Lopez, G., Thompson, F., Loria, C., Wilson, D., . . . Webb, K. (2015). The Healthy Communities Study Nutrition Assessments. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 49(4), 647-652.
  8. ^ "USDA ERS - Feed Grains Sector at a Glance". Retrieved 2023-11-16.
  9. ^ a b c Nogoy, Kim Margarette C.; Sun, Bin; Shin, Sangeun; Lee, Yeonwoo; Zi Li, Xiang; Choi, Seong Ho; Park, Sungkwon (January 2022). "Fatty Acid Composition of Grain- and Grass-Fed Beef and Their Nutritional Value and Health Implication". Food Science of Animal Resources. 42 (1): 18–33. doi:10.5851/kosfa.2021.e73. ISSN 2636-0772. PMC 8728510. PMID 35028571.
  10. ^ a b Skow, Samantha L.; Jha, Rajesh Kumar (July 2023). "A Ketogenic Diet is Effective in Improving Insulin Sensitivity in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes". Current Diabetes Reviews. 19 (6): e250422203985. doi:10.2174/1573399818666220425093535. PMID 35469570. S2CID 248390081.
  11. ^ Batch, Jennifer T; Lamsal, Sanjay P; Adkins, Michelle; Sultan, Senan; Ramirez, Monica N (2020-08-10). "Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article". Cureus. 12 (8): e9639. doi:10.7759/cureus.9639. ISSN 2168-8184. PMC 7480775. PMID 32923239.
  12. ^ Ni Mhurchu, Cliona; Eyles, Helen; Jiang, Yannan; Blakely, Tony (February 2018). "Do nutrition labels influence healthier food choices? Analysis of label viewing behaviour and subsequent food purchases in a labelling intervention trial". Appetite. 121: 360–365. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.11.105. PMID 29191745.