COLLEGE STATION — Dr. Joanne Lupton, a distinguished professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University, College Station, will be the keynote speaker at the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s fourth annual international symposium Nov. 1 in Taunus, Germany.
Event coordinators said the symposium is expected to draw hundreds of nutrition scientists, regulators, academics and policymakers from throughout the world.
Lupton, who is in the college’s nutrition and food science department, has done extensive research at Texas A&M, including studying of the effect of diet on colon physiology and cancer, with an emphasis on dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Her research has also influenced the way in which recommended amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, dietary fiber and energy to maintain good health are scientifically determined. Additionally, her research in cooperation with NASA has had a strong impact on establishing the nutritional requirements of astronauts during space flight.
Lupton, also a regents professor, university faculty fellow and the William W. Allen Endowed Chair in Nutrition, said she will present her keynote address at the “Bioactives: Qualitative Nutrient Reference Values for Life-Stage Groups” conference the day before an international Codex meeting on nutrition. No stranger to presenting at international venues, Lupton has spoken at scientific conferences in China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, South Africa and throughout Europe.
“My presentation at the symposium will be the day before the Codex meeting, which is attended by delegations from numerous countries belonging to the United Nations,” she said. “It will be a great opportunity to address many of the same people who will be attending the Codex meeting, from which many important, far-reaching decisions are made or consensus is reached regarding nutrition.”
The Codex Alimentarius, or food code, of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization has become “a global reference point for consumers, food producers and processors, national food control agencies and the international food trade,” according to the Codex website.
“I have been asked to address the topic of establishing dietary reference intakes, or DRIs, for bioactive ingredients,” she said.
Dietary reference intakes are nutrition recommendations used in both the U.S. and Canada and made by the Institute of Medicine, of which Lupton is a member and serves on its Food and Nutrition Board. The institute is known for its independent, scientific analysis of and recommendations regarding health issues.
“Bioactives have an impact on living tissue, but are often non-traditional nutrition sources without a lot of science to back what their true nutritional value may be,” Lupton explained. “Much of my work has been devoted to the science behind appropriately developing dietary guidelines for traditional nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, etc. It’s important to apply that same solid science toward assessing bioactives as well.”
Lupton said an important aspect of nutrition she will focus on during her keynote presentation is the importance of translating science into public policy.
“A large part of my current work at Texas A&M involves developing public policy regarding nutrition,” she said. “I’m involved in efforts to bring nutrition science into the arenas of public policy through my work in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. This includes helping to establish dietary guidelines, determining dietary reference intake values, improving food labeling and helping translate DRI values into food values such as meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables.”
Lupton said she hopes her presentation will increase the awareness of nutrition policymakers of the importance of establishing a viable scientific system for determining dietary reference intakes for both traditional and nontraditional sources of nutrition.
“My goal is to encourage scientists and regulators from other countries to incorporate ways of evaluating the strength of the science behind health benefits of bioactive substances so that recommendations about their intake are based on sound science,” she said.