NutriNews Issue 7 2017 - Page 25

E xciting new nutrition research develops every day. The scientific community in general is as competitive as ever and it is definitely a dog eat dog world in academia. There has been a welcoming shift towards the concept of “knowledge translation”, and researchers are now systematically pressured to include this aspect within their projects either in grant applications or in the final manuscript itself. When you Google “knowledge translation”, the CIHR link is the first to show up! Although scientifically derived, this term can be simply defined as the applicability of individual research to beneficial changes on a societal level. However, as straightforward as this may seem, with gradual development in scientific research, this application is becoming increasingly harder to establish. There is, in particular, one aspect of knowledge translation many researchers and students tend to forget although it affects everyone: Sustainability. This may be a broad umbrella term, but sustainability plays a huge role in the realistic application of new research findings or recommendations. As graduate students from the nutrient department, we can say with certainty that our projects do not solely look at “food” and “health”, much to the surprise of the public and other departments. Although many of our end goals, in fact, affect the individual being, should we not consider a more conservationist mind-set? In that, maybe we simply don’t live in a world where our recommendations are sustainable. From the environmental perspective of sustainability, the vessels for delivering our recommended essential nutrients, i.e. foods, are made available via massive agricultural systems that unfortunately pollute like every other industry in the world. We know our planet is changing. Period. As members of the litera l food chain, sustainability should be more emphasized moving into the near and distant future. The policies that researchers help create with governments should be sustainable. If all Canadians were suddenly to become regular consumers of 7-10 fruits and vegetables a day, could supply keep up with demand? A keen eye should be placed on both, the effectiveness and acceptance of Netherlands’ new food guide, which emphasizes broad sustainability. A recurring concern in the area of environmental sustainability is dairy and beef. We can all agree that dairy is one of the most efficient sources of many nutrients, including protein, but this should not rationalize for neglecting advanced techniques on improving dairy sustainability (or making dairy more sustainable). Last week, both ABC and the Huffington Post released articles related to studies that looked at The immense effects of adding seaweed to cattle or sheep feed on methane gas production. In sheep, specifically, when asparagopsis (Type of seaweed) was fed at 2% of the diet, a reduction of 50-70% in methane production was observed continuously for 72 days. Obviously, there are many questions to be answered, like how this would affect nutritional value, and how sustainable seaweed production would be, given the implementation of this technique. I think this might need a concluding sentence to sum up Now to shift this from the experts to the individual. Apart from what research tells us, there are things we, as individuals, must be accountable for if we want to participate in the shift to the idea of sustainability. Food for thought. When will grocery stores finally eliminate plastic bags – even the ones for produce? When are coffee cups going to become a thing of the past? Sustainability shouldn’t be a movement that is reliant on the activist. This is everyone’s responsibility - and an even bigger one for researchers who help to formulate policy or treatments that affect such individuals. Hopefully soon, just like brushing our teeth, we can begin to think regularly about the daunting S word. Issue 3 | Nutrition of Everything | 19