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Food and nutrition for health

For over 50 years, the University of Surrey has been working to understand how food and nutrition can affect health, and to embed this knowledge in its teaching, with over 3,000 graduates trained nationally and internationally.

Our pioneering research work delivers evidence to enable government bodies, industry, health professionals and individuals to improve diet and reduce the incidence of preventable diseases. Led by its Department of Nutritional Sciences and Head of Department Professor Sue Lanham-New, the University’s research spans a broad range which has resulted in major changes in government policy (including energy, protein and vitamin-D recommendations), has altered consumer perception over the past five decades, and continues to do so.

Its research on dietary fats and heart disease has dispelled the myth that dietary cholesterol increases blood cholesterol, resulting in the removal of restrictions on egg consumption. Its research into vitamin D deficiency disproved government assumptions that sunlight exposure in summer months was sufficient to sustain vitamin D levels in the winter months – this led to the first-ever Vitamin D Reference Nutrient Intake, shaping new national guidelines in the UK and leading a number of food manufacturers to reformulate products to incorporate vitamin D. Its research, led by Professor Margaret Rayman and Dr Sarah Bath, linking iodine deficiency in pregnant women to lower IQ and reading ability in their children prompted the reformulation of pregnancy supplements to contain more iodine, and the fortification with iodine of popular milk alternatives.

By successful public-engagement, the University has raised consumer awareness of key nutrition issues, encouraging healthier eating decisions based on scientific fact rather than widely-held assumptions. The resulting national and international social benefits are huge and extend well beyond the UK.

More information on Surrey’s extensive research into nutrition and health can be found here:

Story and photo by University of Surrey