We understand more today than ever before about the impact of diet on illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Research into food and nutrition informs public debate and is rarely far from the news headlines, yet the global prevalence of both malnutrition and obesity demonstrates that work in this field is just beginning.

Imperial leads the way in researching the links between nutrition and cancer, cardiovascular disease, global health, diabetes and obesity. By better understanding how nutrition, food and health interplay with physiology, preferences, psychology, socio-economic variables, behaviour and policy interventions, researchers in the College’s multifaculty Nutrition and Food Network are developing evidence-based approaches to maintain and improve health and wellbeing. From understanding the best diet for malnourished children to informing community interventions aimed at reducing obesity in inner city London, we are developing practical tools for improving health through nutrition.

Professor Majid EzzatiOur researchers are conducting research into obesity and diabetes, and the links between them. While obesity has been associated with cancer for some time, a recent study led by Imperial showed that diabetes, either on its own or combined with being overweight, is responsible for hundreds of thousands of cancer cases each year across the world. The results highlight the need for effective food policies and for clinicians to be aware of the high cancer risk carried by people who are overweight, have diabetes, or both.

Understanding how different diets affect – and are affected by – the human microbiome has the potential to unlock a variety of clinically relevant opportunities, including precise dietary regimens for improved health outcomes, and new drug targets. Working across disciplines, we are using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and pioneering data-driven techniques to extract knowledge from the swathes of information now available on the microbiome.

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Research into food and nutrition at Imperial is truly multidisciplinary: chemists explore how we can harness photosynthesis to feed the world’s growing population, business academics assess the efficacy of sugar taxes, while colleagues in medicine uncover the mysteries of the gut microbiome. The School of Public Health at White City will be a hub for food and nutrition collaboration; leading to breakthroughs that could transform some of humanity’s most pressing challenges.

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