Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation
If there are several determinants of one’s health - genetics, environmental factors as well as personal behavior - there is no doubt that the way we eat impacts our health.
“Let food be your medicine”
Two thousand four hundred years later, will we rediscover the wisdom behind Hippocrates words: let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food?
A key program of the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation explores the relationship between nutrition and health. A topic of worldwide relevance as two billion people – 30% of the world population – are obese or overweight, while close to 800 million people don’t have enough to eat.
When it comes to food, the unhealthy choice is all too often the easy choice. High-calorie, highly processed and sugary products are cheap, abundant and widely available. The food and beverages industry should be held accountable for the health impacts of its products. This is the premise behind the work of Foodwatch, a European consumer rights organization supported by the Foundation, who exposes legislative shortcomings and challenges food industry practices that are detrimental to the interests of consumers.
This is all the more important that recent research into the human gut microbiome - the community of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses that inhabit our digestive tract – has demonstrated that these tiny organisms we host play a significant role in our immune system, hence our health. The composition of our microbiome is heavily influenced by the food we ingest. Yet there is still lots to be discovered to truly understand how food impacts our health.
In addition to supporting Foodwatch, the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation has partnered with the Swiss-based science and technology institute EPFL to research the topic in several ways. It endowed a Chair in Metabolism held by Professor Giovanni D’Angelo who studies the role of lipids in our cellular membranes. It also supports the development of novel tools, using machine-learning image recognition and artificial intelligence, to track the food intake of patients enrolled in medical cohorts.
If there are several determinants of one’s health - genetics, environmental factors as well as personal behavior - there is no doubt that the way we eat also impacts our health. Let’s keep that in mind as we choose, everyday, how to feed ourselves and our families.
The Foundation also contributed to several TED educational lessons on nutrition, several of which have been viewed more than 8 million times.