The Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition has called for more research on the role of carbohydrates in diets such as the Mediterranean model. In particularly they say that nutritious plant-based carbohydrates, that are not ‘overly burdensome on the planet’, and ‘whole grain, rich in fibre and with a low glycemic response’ are the pillar of a healthy diet, and more research is needed to agree on a means of distinguishing them from refined, sugar-laden carbohydrates.
They also say we have a problem communicating scientific information, and that, ‘today’s consumers struggle to understand the physiological impact of carbohydrate foods, and cannot identify which fulfil the requirements of a sustainable and healthy diet’.
If you’re thinking to yourself, ‘The Barilla group make an enormous amount of money from selling pasta, they would say that’, they agree, acknowledging that there is a ‘prevailing suspicion about the objectivity of private-sector research’.
Concepts such as ‘serving sizes’ and ‘balanced diets’ are not agreed upon, and letting the manufacturer determine them is a ‘flawed’ system, according to Choice Australia, who say, ‘Serving sizes are often inconsistent between comparable products, even within the same brands, and some are simply unrealistic.’.
‘Manufacturer-recommended serving sizes can be variable and unrealistic… so they shouldn’t form the basis of a front-of-pack labelling system for our food products’, according to Choice.
Barilla FCN also point to a need for more large-scale comparative studies conducted over a longer term, as opposed to short-term and narrow studies focusing on a single nutrient in isolation.
They also point to a lack of a research on the environmental social and economic impacts of our food choices. For example, whether eating plant-based food is more sustainable than feeding plants to animals, and then eating the animals.
If you wish to contribute to the debate prior to 15 February 2017, you can email [email protected] For more info see www.barillacfn.com.