By Thomas Oriti.
Leading nutritional scientists are calling for a radical re-think in the way we understand diet that looks at how mixtures of nutrients influence health rather than nutrients in isolation.
Researchers at the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre have developed a new framework for nutritional health that looks at the links between certain diets, health and disease.
Professor Stephen Simpson, academic director at the centre, said focusing on a single nutrient had worked in the past, such as helping to solve problems like micronutrient deficiency.
"Identifying the fact that if you didn't eat enough vitamin C in your diet you ended up with scurvy, and if you added vitamin C in sufficient quantities, you didn't get scurvy," he said.
"That was a single nutrient approach that worked. But when it comes to trying to understand the problems of over-nutrition, obesity and diabetes for example, focusing on single nutrients as the culprit or perhaps even the cure of these conditions, it doesn't work," he said.