Below is an extract by Ioannis Zabetakis, assistant professor of food chemistry, University of Athens, Greece. The column appears in the January/February 2014 edition of International Aquafeed magazine, available now in English, Spanish and Chinese.
Thirty years after the Seven Countries Study into the relationship between diet and lifestyle and the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, unanswered questions remain. Ancel Keys's major 1984 study took in cohorts from the USA, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and Japan, and famously established a link between blood cholesterol level and cardiovascular disease.
But why did some cohorts have low frequencies of coronary heart disease but high levels of serum cholesterol? Why do people in Japan (fish eaters) and in the Mediterranean (olive oil eaters) have a lower incidence of heart disease irrespective of serum cholesterol levels? Do we, after all, really need to lower serum cholesterol to prevent atherosclerosis and cardiac malfunctions?
In 2014, cardiovascular diseases, although preventable, remain the top global cause of death and stroke, and cutting-edge research should focus on suggesting ways to sustainably increase food functionality against this threat. The prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the atherosclerosis in particular, is a major objective for life sciences research and the focal point in biochemistry and functional food chemistry, which aims to find out how specific food components participate in the atherosclerosis mechanisms involved, and how we can ensure their sustainable production.
From the point of view of aquaculture, the term 'Food Security' has a double dimension: enough food must be sustainably produced to feed the growing human population in the long-term, but this food also has to be nutritious. In other words, food security includes sustainability and functionality.
Read the full column here.