Growing interest in gut microbiota science among dietitians

Last week I had the pleasure of travelling to Granada (Spain) to provide media coverage of the International Congress of Dietetics — a  periodic meeting of dietitians and nutritionists from all over the world, held once every four years. With about 1300 participants this year, the range of topics at #ICD2016 was huge: from sustainable farming, to nutritional considerations on a vegan diet, to how dietitians can get started on social media.

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I also attended two sessions covering the gut microbiota and diet: one by Natasha Haskey, RD (Canada), and the other by Francisco Guarner, MD (Spain). At both of these talks, the room was packed.

This interest in general wasn’t a surprise — at the conferences I’ve attended over the past two years, most of the microbiome-related sessions have standing-room only. But in Granada I found the growing interest among dietitians especially intriguing. Because on one hand, gut microbiota science hasn’t changed things for dietitians all that much; existing nutritional recommendations still stand after what we’ve learned about the microbiota. But on the other hand, since diet appears to be one of the primary environmental (and controllable) factors that can manipulate the gut microbiota, the role of the dietitian could be growing in importance as we learn more about how gut microbiota affects health.

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