Processed foods under the spotlight

The topic of processed foods, including ultra-processed foods, has received a lot of attention in recent years and is a hotly debated area of nutrition. But what are they and should we be concerned?

Extending shelf-life, improving palatability and fortification are just a few examples of why food is processed. In reality, most foods that we buy are processed to some degree. Some products classed as processed foods may have a more detrimental impact on health if they commonly form a large a part of the diet, whilst other provide a great source of nutrients. Like so many areas of nutrition, this is not a straight forward issue. Join us for our next @AfNutr twitter chat where we will delve deeper into this hot topic.

Our next Twitter chat, on Tuesday, 19th October at 8pm (UK time), has six open questions that allow us to discuss and share the evidence on processed foods. Remember to use #NutrProcessed on every tweet, always start your tweet with A1, A2, A3 etc. If you need any advice on taking part in a Twitter chat then see our Tips for Tweeting.

Here are the questions:

Q1: What is processed food? Is this different from ultra-processed food?

Q2: What is the evidence around processed foods and health?

Q3: Is there a practical role for processed foods in a healthy diet?

Q4: How can food processing change the nutritional quality of certain foods?

Q5: How can we improve the profile of processed food to support public health?

Q6: How can we make informed decisions regarding processed foods?

@AfNutr are back!!

The summer holidays have come to an end and we are starting off our programme of events with two virtual AfNutr Cafés on 21st and 30th of September. As spaces are limited, the spots were booked as soon as we announced the café on Twitter. You are looking forward to a new progamme as much as we are. So please. if you booked a spot then please attend and if you can’t make it then let us know – we maybe able to pass you place to someone who missed out.

Those of you joining our virtual café on Zoom, you will be part of a small group, hosted by one of the @AfNutr moderators – Suzanne, Lynn or Vicki. Sessions will last no more than an hour. Be ready to network – don’t be shy.

During the summer. we hit the heady heights of 3000 followers, definitely something to be celebrated.

We are looking forward to meeting you all again!

Watch this space for details of the next Twitter Chat, to be held in October.

Chrono-nutrition – Does ‘when’ we eat affect our health?

Chrononutrition is an emerging field of nutritional science. Many people have not heard the term chrono-nutrition or have explored the way in which our circadian rhythm is connected to how we eat. Our next chat explores this area and we are delighted to have Professor Alex Johnstone join us as a guest moderator to share her wealth of expertise in this area.

Alex is a Registered Nutritionist with the UK Association for Nutrition (RNutr) and enjoys working with local, national and international food industry sector colleagues, to develop evidence in exploring the relationship between diet and health. She leads a research team to assess eating as a form of behaviour at The Rowett Institute, part of the School of Medical Sciences, Dentistry and Nutrition at the University of Aberdeen.

She obtained her PhD in 2001 and has extensively published scientific papers on the role of appetite across the life course. Appetite is a major influence to what and when we eat, and she has conducted diet trials in studies with children through to the elderly, to particularly assess the role of dietary protein on motivation to eat. Recent work has been to examine the role of timing of eating on energy balance where she is a key collaborator with EU colleagues and leads internationally competitive work through EU and UK Research and Innovation grant awards.

Join us on Tuesday 18th May, 8-9pm to discuss the following questions on chrono-nutrition. As always, start your answer with A1, A2, A3 etc and don’t forget to add #Chrono_Nutr to every tweet.

Q1: What is your understanding of the terms circadian rhythm and chrono-nutrition?

Q2: What is the current evidence on breakfast eating/skipping and its impact on dietary patterns and health? 

Q3: Does time of eating influence body weight?

Q4: Share diet and lifestyle advice to support shift workers.

Q5: What impact might late night eating have on health?

Q6: Is time restricted eating a useful tool for weight management?

Women’s Health

The winner of our recent poll was women’s health and it seems a perfect topic to cover with International Women’s Day earlier this month. From puberty and teenage years right through to menopause and healthy ageing, nutrition is key to maintaining health and preventing disease. To improve women’s health and quality of life, we need to understand nutritional needs and how best to support women in making informed healthy food choices. As nutrition professionals, we also need to understand the challenges of eating well faced by women across different ages and stages of their lives.

Join us on Tuesday 23rd March at 8pm UK time for our March @AfNutr Twitter chat on women’s health. Whether you are a student, new graduate, ANutr or RNutr, you’ll find our #NutrWomen twitter chat very useful for keeping on top of your CPD.

Below are the questions that we will discuss. Remember to start your answer with A1, A2, A3 etc. and include #NutrWomen in all your tweets so that your answers will be found by others and archived by us. Before the chat do check out our tips on participation in twitter chats and using the chat as CPD.

Here are the questions for the twitter chat:

Q1: What do we know about women’s dietary patterns in the UK and how do these compare to recommendations?

Q2: What are the key factors affecting nutrition & health in teenage girls?

Q3: How can menstruation affect food choice and what is the science behind this?

Q4: What are key nutritional considerations for women of childbearing age?

Q5: What are the main challenges for eating well during pregnancy?

Q6: How can diet support women through the menopause and promote healthy ageing?

CPD: What, When & Why?

Happy New Year to all our followers! Finally, 2020 is over! We have a bit longer to go before life returns to some sense of normality but we can start the new year with our professional development taking centre stage.

As AfN Registrants, we are obliged to undertake Continued Professional Development (CPD) to maintain our skills and knowledge. This is important to keep abreast of the fast moving nature of nutrition science and policy. It is also important to develop our networks and skills in ways that allows us to use and share evidence-based advice and information to the best of our ability.

Join us on Tuesday 19th January 2021, 8-9pm (UK time) to get lots of advice on CPD. Whether you are a student, new graduate, ANutr or RNutr, you’ll find our CPD very useful for keeping on top of your CPD. We are joined by guest moderator Dr. Glenys Jones RNutr from the Association for Nutrition.

Below are the questions for our CPD twitter chat. Remember to start your answer with A1, A2, A3 etc. and include #NutrCPD in all your tweets so that your answers will be found by others and archived by us.

Q1: What are the benefits of CPD and how often should we undertake CPD activities?

Q2: What counts as CPD for AfN registrants?

Q3: What steps are involved in reflective practice?

Q4: How prepared should you be in case of an AfN audit?

Q5: Share tips on how you keep a record of your CPD activities

Q6: What CPD activities have you found most useful?

Food and Mood

Join us for our first Twitter chat since the summer to discuss the topic of nutrition, cognitive function and health on Tuesday 20th October (8-9pm UK time).

The role of food, diet and nutrition and their relationship with the brain is a hotly debated topic. We know that the brain needs to be adequately fuelled to function effectively. But can what we eat and drink have an impact on cognition, the aging process, our mental health and wellbeing, and levels of alertness?

This month’s chat will discuss a few key nutrients of interest and their role in brain function, along with hydration and the communication between our gut and brain. As always, we want to focus on the evidence-base behind nutrition and health

We look forward to welcoming you back and also connecting with any newcomers to discuss such a topical and interesting area.

Remember to use the #NutrMood for all your answers and start them with A1, A2, A3 etc. We have chosen six open questions to structure the discussion, here they are:

Q1: Which micronutrients have been linked to energy, mood and brain function?

Q2: During times of stress and low mood people may experience changes in appetite, why might this be?

Q3: What roles to macronutrients play in brain function and what are the associated outcomes?

Q4: The term ‘hangry’ is often used in conversation. What is it and is there science to support it?

Q5: What effect does dehydration have on cognitive function and mood?

Q6: How might the gut be linked to brain health?

@AfNutr Cafés are back!!

Responding to the new normal of working and studying at home, @AfNutr have created a means for nutritionists to communicate, stay focussed and keep connected.

We ran our first AfNutr Cafés over the lockdown months and since they were so popular (and fun!) we have decided to make them a permanent feature!

AfNutr Cafés will alternate with our twitter chats on a month by month basis.

As always, everyone is welcome!

Our virtual café will be held on Zoom, with a small group, hosted by one of the @AfNutr moderators – Suzanne, Lynn, Vicki or Laura. Sessions will last no more than an hour.

Diet and Cancer Prevention

Image source: American Institute for Cancer Research (2014)

Despite being in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, nutrition related chronic disease still remains a serious public health issue that warrants our attention. Reducing risk of cancer through diet, lifestyle and screening is just as important now as ever. The lockdown period has been a time for reflection and, for some people, an opportunity to consider healthier diet and lifestyle choices. There is strong evidence that several dietary factors play a role in increasing or decreasing risk for certain types of cancer. We want to discuss these factors and highlight how we as nutrition professionals can promote healthy eating and lifestyles for long term health and cancer prevention. 

We have a real treat in store for our final twitter chat this month before we take a break for summer! We are very excited to welcome not one but two expert guest moderators for our #NutrCancerPrev chat. We are delighted to have both Professor Annie Anderson from the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network and Isobel Bandurek from the World Cancer Research Fund International as guest moderators.

Professor Annie Anderson

Annie is a Professor of Public Health Nutrition and Co-director of the Centre for Research into Cancer Prevention and Screening at Ninewells Medical School, University of Dundee. She trained in nutrition and after two years clinical dietetic practice in Cambridge moved to an academic career. Following a PhD at the University of Aberdeen and research posts at the University of Glasgow and the MRC Medical Sociology Unit she was appointed to a Professorial post in the University of Dundee in 1996.

Annie’s research focusses on theory based, behaviourally focused, dietary and obesity (population and individual) interventions aimed at chronic disease risk reduction with a special interest in cancer prevention. She has undertaken a number of international and national roles including advisor to WHO International Agency for Research on the development of European Code Against Cancer, chair of the grant panel for The World Cancer Research Fund International and a member of UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). She co-directs the Scottish Cancer Prevention Network (@thescpn) – an advocacy group working for improved translation of evidence on cancer prevention into practice and policy on behalf of the Scottish Cancer Foundation.

Isobel Bandurek

Isobel is a UK-registered dietitian currently working at World Cancer Research Fund. There she works on the global evidence base for the role of nutrition and physical activity in cancer prevention and survivorship. This includes systematic reviews, working with panels of international experts, and the development of cancer prevention recommendations for individuals and policymakers.

Previously, Isobel worked with homeless young people in London with the charity Centrepoint. She delivered 1-to-1 and group interventions as well as health promotion activities. Her first roles as a dietitian were in the NHS, specialising in malnutrition.

Isobel also holds voluntary roles, including with the British Dietetic Association London Branch.

Isobel completed her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Oxford, and a Masters in nutrition and Postgraduate Diploma in dietetics at King’s College London.

Our chat schedule

We are doing things a little differently this month – we will be discussing three questions during the first 30 minutes and then opening the floor for a 30 minute live Q&A session with both Professor Anderson and Isobel Bandurek – so please take advantage of having your diet and cancer prevention questions answered by our guest experts! Please also feel free to provide answers during the live Q&A too. Tweet your questions and answers using #AskAfNutr

Join us on Tuesday 30th June, 8-9pm UK time to discuss the role of diet in cancer prevention. Our three questions are below. As always, when answering a particular question number your answer A1, A2 etc and use the hashtag #NutrCancerPrev in all tweets. For our live Q&A use the hashtag #AskAfNutr to direct your diet and cancer prevention questions to our expert guests. If time runs out, we will address any unanswered questions over the coming days.

Discuss chat questions below 8.00-8.30pm using #NutrCancerPrev

Live Q&A with our guest moderators 8.30-9.00pm using #AskAfNutr

Q1: What dietary factors are identified to be associated with increasing/decreasing cancer risk? Which of these have the strongest evidence for influencing cancer risk?

Q2: What role can nutritionists play in the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases? How can we ensure that this topic remains on everybody’s agenda?

Q3: With the media and internet full of cancer and diet scaremongering, it is important that fact is separated from fiction. What cancer myths have you come across? What is the evidence behind these headlines?

Lockdown Nutrition

Join us for our next chat on Tuesday 19th May (8-9pm UK time), where we will be considering how lockdown has affected the way we eat, cook and shop for food.

This month’s chat aims to discuss food and nutrition issues facing us in lockdown, both the positives and negatives. We will also consider food security at household and national level as well as sharing our personal experiences of nutrition during lockdown.

How can we, as nutrition professionals, support good nutrition through lockdown and beyond, as restrictions ease?

It is even more important, in the face of COVID-19, that Registered Nutritionists share evidence-based resources and information widely. Therefore, the launch of the Association for Nutrition’s Nutrition Resource Hub during lockdown is timely. This resource hub aims to share Registrants’ resources to provide a source of reliable information for the public and the media.

We have chosen six open questions to structure the discussion below. Remember to use #LockdownNutrition for all your answers and start them with A1, A2, A3 etc.

Q1. What’s the current evidence around nutrition and immunity? How can our diet support the immune system?

Q2. There has been a lot of talk about vitamin D recently. Why is this, is there any new research of interest and what is the current official advice on vitamin D?

Q3. How has lockdown impacted on people’s eating behaviours in terms of cooking, food shopping and household food waste?

Q4. How has lockdown affected people’s ability to access and buy food? Share any useful sources of information that shows how our food supply chain has responded.

Q5. Lots of seasonal veg is currently going to waste in the UK. Share your tips or resources for using veg for healthy meals and snacks during lockdown.

Q6. From a nutrition perspective, what positives are to be gained from lockdown?

Moving from ANutr to RNutr

Our April chat on Tue 21st between 8 and 9pm (UK time) will be focusing on transferring from ANutr to RNutr.  This AfNutr chat topic was one of our most popular chats last year, so we are excited to be hosting it again this month.  

Preparing your portfolio can feel really daunting and this chat will connect you with others in a similar situation. More importantly, we hope that we will have lots of RNutrs ready and waiting to give tips and advice.

It’s a great time for thinking about your portfolio and CPD as the AfN are starting a Weekly Zoom Clinic where Registrants can book in for one-to-one support relating to transfer portfolios. Details of how to book a dedicated time are provided in the latest Registrant’s Newsletter.  

We are extremely happy to have Dr Glenys Jones RNutr as a guest moderator for the evening. Glenys is the Deputy Chief Executive and Communications Manager for the Association for Nutrition. She brings her inside knowledge of the transfer process along with a huge amount of personal experience of nutrition and science.

We hope this chat will be of use and enjoyable to both ANutrs and RNutrs.  Remember to use the #RNutr2B for all your answers and start them with A1, A2, A3 etc. We have chosen six open questions to structure the discussion, here they are:

Q1: What are the main challenges for preparing and writing your portfolio to transfer from ANutr to RNutr?

Q2: How to get started. How do I organise evidence for my portfolio?

Q3: How do I structure my personal statement? RNutr’s please share any tips you have for personal statement writing.

Q4: Core Competency 5 (Professional Conduct section) is often difficult for ANutr’s to digest. From PC1 – PC13, which elements do you find most challenging?

Q5: It is important for ANutrs to be mentored. Share your mentoring experiences.

Q6: After you have gained RNutr status what happens next? What are the benefits/advantages of becoming a RNutr?