NutriAct: Successful Cooperation between Industry and Science across State Borders

NutriAct, the nutrition research competence cluster established in the Berlin/Potsdam region, presented its successful cooperation between science and industry in a virtual press conference. The occasion was the 10th anniversary of the Joint Innovation Strategy of the States of Berlin and Brandenburg (innoBB). Within the last six years, 12 scientific institutions, including the DZD partner DIfE, and more than 20 small and medium-sized enterprises have worked together with the aim of improving the health status of the "50plus" population group.

Kale bread: Within the NutriAct competence cluster, researchers collaborated with regional industry partners to develop new products that fit the NutriAct nutritional pattern. Source: Rebecca Klopsch/IGZ

Research and development along the value chain
Since 2015, the joint project NutriAct, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with a total of 12 million euros, has been developing the scientific basis for age-appropriate nutrition interventions and dietary recommendations for the fifty to seventy-year-olds in an interdisciplinary manner and researching strategies for their successful implementation. To this end, the researchers are developing, among other things, new products for age-appropriate and healthy nutrition that can reduce the risk of age-related diseases of civilization such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

"The main element of NutriAct is our nutrition study, in which 500 test participants adhere to a special NutriAct dietary pattern over a period of three years and are closely supervised, advised and examined in our study centers at the Charité in Berlin and at DIfE," said Professor Tilman Grune, scientific director of the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) and spokesperson of the research network. For example, compared to the current recommendations of the German Nutrition Society, the participants eat more vegetable proteins and more unsaturated fatty acids.

New products support the change in diet
To ensure that the study participants maintain the new dietary pattern in the long term, the researchers addressed the following question: How can technologies be developed for new products or modified for well-known and popular foods so that they have the relevant NutriAct nutrient profile on the one hand and are tasty on the other? In the process, the research teams developed innovative yoghurt alternatives in addition to vegetable breads, pea flakes and stock cubes without palm oil.

First results of the nutrition study are promising
Despite pandemic-related restrictions over the past 1.5 years, 280 test participants have so far successfully completed the NutriAct nutrition study. The NutriAct researchers have already analyzed data from the first 12 months and found that the NutriAct dietary pattern has a beneficial effect on liver fat content as well as on lipid and glucose metabolism.

The blood samples collected during the trial are also analyzed for new biomarkers that may provide clues to dietary patterns on the one hand and be related to the risk of certain diseases on the other.


Background Information
Virtual press conference "10 Years of the Joint Innovation Strategy of the States of Berlin and Brandenburg

The NutriAct research network was presented on May 31, 2021 as part of the virtual press conference "10 Years of the Joint Innovation Strategy of the States of Berlin and Brandenburg". Representatives of the Berlin Senate and the Brandenburg state government took stock of the cooperation between industry and science across state borders. [Further Information]

NutriAct stands for “Nutritional Intervention for Healthy Aging: Food Patterns, Behavior, and Products”. The central aim of the project is to improve the nutritional and health situation of people aged fifty to seventy in order to enable as many people as possible to live to advanced old age in good health. Researchers from various disciplines – from nutrition science, food chemistry and technology, biology and medicine to the humanities and social sciences – are working closely with representatives of the food industry.

Dr. Rebecca Klopsch

c/o Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE)
Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114-116
14558 Nuthetal
Tel.: +49 33 200 88 - 2365