IFST Spring Conference - Nutrition for Olympians: Nutrition for All
Lessons for Food Science and Technology from the Sports Nutrition Sector
09:30 Welcome: Dr Paul Berryman
Dr Paul Berryman opened the conference with a brief overview of Leatherhead Food Research, the host of this year’s conference.
09:45 Keynote address: Good Nutrition for All: The Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
Professor Judith Buttriss, Director General, British Nutrition Foundation
Professor Buttriss kicked off the conference with a look at current global nutritional challenges. In many parts of the world, malnutrition is still a major occurrence while in other parts, obesity is becoming increasingly widespread, not just in developed countries. For the first part of her presentation, Prof Buttriss examined obesity figures in more detail, focusing on the UK. From this, she discussed nutrition in more detail, particularly nutritional recommendations, those that we lack, and so forth. While examining sources of nutrients, such as meat and fish, she emphasised the need for global dietary solutions that are both healthy and sustainable.
10:15 Nutrition for Health and Activity. Good and Bad Habits Start Early
Professor David McCarthy, Institute of Health and Policy Research, London Metropolitan University
Professor McCarthy’s presentation focused on how the choices made throughout early development affect our risk for coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes in the future. His research is dedicated to understanding more about how this risk develops in these early stages, beginning at pre-natal development. He discussed the limitations of Body Mass Index (BMI) and how he developed more accurate ways of measuring obesity and assessing the risks for diet-related disease in children. He also discussed how data from different ethnic groups is used to determine risk factors in developing diet-related disease.
11:45 Health Drinks and Sports Nutrition
Dr Naomi Grant, GlaxoSmithKline
Dr Grant provided insight into working within the ‘maximum nutrition’ business. She said that in some cases, it is easy for athletes blame sports nutrition supplements for their failed doping test and as a result, GSK have developed a risk management approach to ensure that their products are safe. This rigorous approach includes testing each batch of product for banned substances and working closely with UK Anti-Doping. When formulating sports nutrition products, there is no room for complacency. Based on their excellent track record, GSK will be operating a World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory at their facilities for the Olympics.
12:15 Challenges of Incorporating Functional Ingredients into Foods - An NPD and Analytical Perspective
Dr Robert Griffiths and Jane Staniforth, Reading Scientific Services Ltd (RSSL)
Jane Staniforth began the presentation by providing a definition of functional ingredients and the process of incorporating these ingredients into a product. She discussed the steps involved in creating a development brief, which covers the ‘what, where, when and who’ of the product. For the second part of the presentation, Dr Griffiths discussed the process after a product is developed - why a product is analysed and the challenges that the analysers may face. He then went through case studies in the incorporation of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and botanicals into food products. Jane Staniforth ended the presentation with advice on how to get the most out of your NPD team and your analyst, as well as the future challenges of incorporating functional ingredients into foods.
13:45 Sports Foods and Supplements: Legal Aspects
Dr Robert Childs, Sports Legal Ltd
Dr Childs discussed the legal aspects of formulating sports foods and supplements, including the criteria needed to make health and nutrition claims, European regulation related to composition and marketing of sports nutrition products, commercial communications, and the need for harmonisation of sports nutrition regulations across EU member states. This was an especially important presentation, as this year marks a huge change in EU legislation relating to sports nutrition. It was particularly interesting to hear about the relationship between current enforcement and its impact on business, consumers, and athletes.
14:15 Sustained Energy Release: From Product to Claim
Dr Roberta Re, Nutrition Unit, Leatherhead Food Research
Dr Re’s presentation covered the functional foods market relating to sports and energy drinks, the differences between the two as well as existing products, claims they make and consumer understanding of these claims. She discussed the key market trends surrounding sports and energy drinks, highlighting that people mainly seek these drinks for an extra energy boost or as a part of a healthier lifestyle. She also described the science behind formulating these products, from selecting the right ingredients specific to the product function and learning from athletes about how different ingredients work in the body. She concluded with a very useful overview, listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the sports nutrition market.
14:45 Thomas Concannon, Member of the 2012 Irish Olympic Team competing in Tae Kwando
During the break, we had the opportunity to hear an athlete’s perspective on sports nutrition. He talked about the importance of nutrition for professional athletes and then went into details about his personal diet for taekwondo.
15:15 Regulation and Development of Sports and Energy Drinks
Helen Munday, Coca-Cola
Helen Munday began her presentation with a brief overview of Coca-Cola, the longest-running continuous sponsor of the Olympic Games. She went into the main considerations when innovating in the sports drinks sector: taste, functionality, and who the product is catered to. She briefly touched on legislation related to sports drinks before discussing the physiological needs to be met when creating sports drinks. She then went into details about these three principles - fuelling, hydration, and recovery - providing examples of the important nutrients and ingredients in each of these stages and how needs differ depending on the sport. This was a very interesting presentation, as it provided the audience with a clear picture of the true complexity of formulating sports drinks. I believe it was especially interesting coming from such a large, reputable company. The sheer scale of their product formulation was incredible.
15:45 Practical Sports Nutrition: Food for Athletes and Sports People
Dr Karen Reid, Performance Foods
Dr Reid’s presentation looked at the practical aspects of advising professional athletes what to eat. She outlined goals of a nutrition performance plan, which are individualised for each athlete. Different athletes have different needs, not just in terms of the sport they compete in but also their lifestyle, for example, they may go to university or work full-time. Dr Reid discussed how these goals can be met practically, how to formulate a plan that provides optimal nutrition in ways that fit in to an athlete’s lifestyle. She provided examples for each goal category, such as fast meals and snacks that are cheap and easy to prepare.