University of Gothenburg
bild på frukt och grönsaker
Photo: Jenny Pettersson

Diet and nutrition

What should we eat to feel well? Nowadays, many people are interested in the bearing of diet on their health. For some, it is because they live with an illness, play sports or are pregnant; and for others, because having just had a big, round-number birthday, they would like to celebrate another in ten years’ time. Our research groups work to increase and spread awareness of health-promoting dietary habits supported by scientific evidence.

Our research areas

For many years, our researchers have built and developed knowledge about topics including:

  • Body composition: what are the effects of the body’s composition off at, muscle, bone and water for people with rheumatoid arthritis or cancer, for example?
  • Energy balance: how can meal patterns and eating behaviour affect energy balance and weight loss in, for example, people who are obese?
  • Nutritional status: what nutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements etc.) does the body need?
  • Sustainable development: how does the food we eat affect the climate?

We work to develop research on diet and nutrition linked to various conditions, functions and diseases. Some examples are:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • cancer
  • pregnancy and breast-feeding
  • the gastrointestinal tract
  • rheumatological diseases
  • needs, intake, absorption and metabolism of various nutrients in people who are healthy or living with a disease
Photo: Malin Arnesson

Research methodology and tools

  • Various research tools are used to investigate diet and nutrition, and our researchers thus also contribute to developing methodology in this subject area:
  • Health outcomes and dietary interventions
    To verify correlations that are indicated by epidemiological studies, we often need to conduct intervention studies. How can different foods affect someone living with a disease? Here, we benefit from our own sampling premises and from spaces where we can cook and serve food to the study participants.
  • Biomarkers
    We are working to develop new measurement methods in metabolomics, the comprehensive analysis of metabolites (molecules produced during metabolism) in a biological specimen, and other areas. The ultimate goal is to be able to measure people’s dietary intake and the effects of food on human health more easily, by analysing components in blood and urine samples.

Important discoveries

  • Many pregnant women in Western Sweden have a vitamin-D deficiency, and this can increase their risk of suffering from pregnancy complications. The study is called GraviD (the Swedish word gravid means ‘pregnant’).
  • Blood samples taken from people after meal scan show which foods the meals contained.
  • Blood samples can also show whether people are eating a mixed, vegetarian or vegan diet.
  • People with rheumatism had lower disease activity after ten weeks on a diet composed of foods for which there is evidence of anti-inflammatory effects. The study is called ADIRA (Anti-inflammatory Diet In Rheumatoid Arthritis).

Close connection between research and education

There is close cooperation between the Institute’s research and our education and training, in which many of our researchers too are involved. They supervise doctoral students and teach on our regular programmes, freestanding courses and vocational care programmes within Sahlgrenska Academy.

Our education