Food is the foundation of life – how every living thing is formed, sustained, and functions. It is perhaps the most fundamental way we interact with the world around us, including our social relationships. Our food seeds and shapes the living ecosystems within us—the vast and dynamic communities of microbes critical to our physical and mental health—and food production has a major impact on wider environmental ecosystems.
There is enormous concern that the surge of addictive ultra-processed, energy-dense, low-nutrient food consumption and marketing is adversely affecting the health of individuals, societies at large, and the wider ecosystems on which we depend.
For this Campfire, we were joined by a blockbuster lineup of incredible speakers who are working on different aspects of this great and difficult challenge, facilitated by Susan Prescott, Director of the Nova Network, and Brian Berman, President and Founder of Nova Institute for Health.
Read the Campfire Report from this event published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
The Future of Food: Welcome
Professor Brian Berman, MD, President and Founder of Nova Institute for Health
Implications of Modern Food Systems for Personal and Planetary Health
Dr. Susan Prescott, MD, PhD, Nova Scholar, Director of the Nova Network, and Professor at the University of Western Australia School of Medicine
Ultra-processed Foods: Engineered for "Addiction"
Carlos Monteiro, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Nutrition and Public Health at the SPH, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he heads the Center for Epidemiological Studies in Health and Nutrition. His research interests include dietary patterns assessment, epidemiology of all forms of malnutrition, diet and NCDs, and food processing and human health.
Unmasking Food Industry Tactics to Deflect and Conceal Human and Environmental Impact
While Dr. Kearns was unavailable for this Campfire, Nova Institute Invited Faculty Dave Nelson summarized her work:
Effects of Flavor Enhancers and Artificial Sweeteners (Excitotoxins) on Brain Development and Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Children and Adults
Katie Holton, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Professor at American University in Washington, D.C. She is one of only a few nutritional neuroscientists in the world. Her research focuses on the negative effects of food additives and the positive protective effects of certain micronutrients on neurological and psychiatric health outcomes.
“I am passionate about helping people take back control of their health using food as medicine.”
Can Increasing Public Awareness of Industry Tactics Help Support Policies to Regulate Food Industry Strategies?
Selena E. Ortiz, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Ortiz’s research focuses on addressing health disparities and improving health equity within the context of chronic disease and the social determinants of health. Her work does this in two ways: first, by examining health and social policy formation and, second, by examining access to health services and outcomes.
While Dr. Ortiz was unavailable for this Campfire, Dr. Prescott summarized her work:
Adverse Effects of Ultra-processed Food Consumption on Physical and Mental Health Outcomes
Rewilding our First Foods: Healthier and Sustainable Diets in Early Life Have Implications for Mental Health and Positive Personality Traits
Nina C. Overby is a Professor at the University of Agder, Norway, where she is Leader of the Priority Research Centre on Lifecourse Nutrition.
“My main research focus is nutrition in early phases of life ranging from preconception, through pregnancy, childhood and adolescence in relation to health outcomes.”