Fermentation benefits

Why fermented foods should be represented in nutritional guidelines?


Nutritional guidelines around the globe use very similar methods in presenting their concepts of the “ideal” dietary pattern, and give consumers a selection of recommended food groups. In this review, Victoria Bell et al. explain why traditional and supplemented fermented foods should be the new focus in national dietary recommendations for both adults and children.

A tipping point is the “point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.” This term applies the idea that consuming live microbes through fermented foods should be recommended by official governmental channels. Dating back millennia, fermented foods are among humanity’s oldest attempts to preserve food.

What is the state-of-the-art today in nutritional guidelines?

Despite a wild variation in their visual representation, nutritional guidelines around the globe are quite homogeneous when translating the nutritional needs – in terms of nutrients – into foods and food groups required to meet a balanced diet. These guidelines take into account cultural differences, and also food safety aspects. However, fermented foods are not consistently represented in these models. Fermented foods and beverages are lacto-fermented with natural bacteria or yeast creating lactic acid. The most popular fermented foods include: yogurt, cheese, soya, beans, fish, meat, cabbages and sauerkraut. In this review, the authors evaluated nutritional guidelines from various countries, checked their traditional and cultural value, and determined how they are represented in the models.

Fermented foods may provide health benefits

In their analysis, the researchers focused on the role of one common fermented food – the yogurt – and they found that several countries included yogurt (as part of dairy products) in their food-based dietary guidelines. It is the case in Switzerland, USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Japan, Sweden and Portugal. Although, fermented foods and probiotics have been part of the global human diet for a long time, and can provide certain health benefits, there still exists uncertainty as to their position as a category in the national food guides. This could be explained by the legal system, and the fact that health benefits of fermented foods have not been widely translated into global inclusion in the definition of food. Though, fermented foods are considered to be a boon for the gut – and in turn they do not only improve digestive health, but they possibly benefit allergies, weight loss or type 2 diabetes as well. Therefore, Bell et al. conclude that knowing the general benefits of traditional and supplemented fermented foods, they should be a daily topic in most national nutritional guidelines.

To learn more, read the original article.

Source: Bell V et al. Foods 2017;6:65.

Pin It on Pinterest