SUGAV, the organization named after Sabri Ülker, discussed Nutrition and Healthy Living

Scientific information was presented in the first part of the “Nutrition and Healthy Living Summit,” which was held by the SUGAV at the Istanbul Four Seasons Bosphorus Hotel on April 26, 2013.

Scientific information was presented in the first part of the “Nutrition and Healthy Living Summit,” which was held by the SUGAV at the Istanbul Four Seasons Bosphorus Hotel on April 26, 2013. Latest academic developments were shared by  Prof. Dr. Halit Tanju Besler from Hacettepe University,  Prof. Dr. Jozef Kokini from the University of Illinois,  Prof. Dr. Med. Hans Konrad Biesalski from the University of Hohenheim and  Prof. Dr. Klaus G. Grunert  from the University of Aarhus.  

 Dr. Zeki Ziya Sözen, member of the SUGAV Science Board, made the opening speech of the summit and said people's misconceptions regarding nutrition could be prevented with correct information. “Regarding food and medicine as substitutes for each other would mean eating healthy in order to prevent getting sick, and continuing this habit after getting sick as well.  In fact, the cheapest way to prevent getting sick is a healthy diet. SUGAV is a foundation that has been established for this purpose.  We strive to undertake projects that will create an awareness of healthy eating in our society. We initiated a case study with esteemed scientists by modeling after the best diet programs around the world. Even though we are only in the second year of the initiative, we have already provided balanced diet education to 400,000 students in 200 schools in four cities. This is not just a casual effort; it encompasses a one-hour program each week for 32 weeks.  We teach students how to make a nutrition meal. Our goal is to reach out to 1 million students next year," he said. 

Science Award in the name of Sabri Ülker 
 Sözen pointed out that SUGAV strives to make scientific information available for all as he announced the start of a program by the Foundation to reward research.  Sözen said they had established a program called the “Sabri Ülker Science Award” and added, "We are delighted to announce the program. Through this competition, we are going to provide 100,000 Turkish lira support for a proven and applicable research project. We hope the program will increase the research in the field of nutrition.

We are carrying out my grandfather's will 
Ali Ülker, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yıldız Holding, spoke about the objective for establishing the Foundation as he spoke at the opening of the summit: 
“Today, I would especially like to talk about Sabri Ülker. He had a tough childhood. He was born in Crimea in the 1920s.  He used to talk about other children from the nearby villages dying of famine and how he survived a whole winter with just one sack of flour.  That is why he placed great emphasis on nutrition. Mr. Ülker never filled his plate and never left food on it either. He despised waste. He did not skip meals. Even when he was busy, he would make time for a 10 minute meal. He would not eat in a hurry and he never had a problem with weight.  He lived an active life and loved swimming. He held a significant role in our lives. He has handed down a very valuable legacy to us. He used to say that every child has a right to live a happy childhood. We are carrying out great projects to fulfill his will.  We are supporting the children in their development through culture, arts and sports projects.  His other will was related to nutrition. God willing, we want to materialize this will through the Foundation as well.

 We are also collaborating with universities and TUBITAK on the great endeavors they are engaged in.

Access to clean water will become more critical than energy or famine within 10 years 

Prof. Dr. Jozef Kokini of the University of Illinois
noted that the world's population will reach nine billion by 2030, with the number of middle class people reaching five billion. "This is going to happen in just 20 years and this situation will create pressure on the agriculture and food systems.  Thirty percent of the world's population is considered obese, while pollution is increasing and different nutrients find their way into our bodies. Chronic diseases diminish quality of life. A new term has surfaced; bioenergy, which is an obstacle to adequate food production and access to clean water.  Access to clean water will become more critical than energy or famine within 10 years Temperatures are rising due to climate change, causing the production of many food items, such as fruits, vegetables, corn, wheat and tomatoes, to be shifted northward. We need to develop a solution for this. 

This is where materials science comes into the picture. Energy sources that are very efficient and cheap can be developed. With new materials, it is possible to farm in a healthier fashion and clean up our environmental resources , as well as make better use of agricultural lands with stronger and more functional materials.   
Biochips are very important. Thanks to these chips, diabetic patients would not have to perform tests everyday and could use this little biofluid device instead. Bioactives affect different organs in treatments as well. Lycopene is critical in male health. We have the ability to add it to edible materials and send it to wherever it needs to go. It is possible to acquire self-restoring tissue as a result,” he said.

Watch out for iodine deficiency while cutting down on salt 
 Tanju Besler, Head of the Nutrition and Dietetic Department at Hacettepe University, stated that there are 222 health-related declarations in Europe, and only at 13 in Türkiye. "There is a need to assess these declarations in detail in order to bring them to legislation by performing series work until 2015.  We have a long way ahead of us. We have to take into consideration the condition of society and the individuals when establishing nutrition policies. We are talking about a population of 74 million people. So, it is obvious that we should implement a variety of nutrition policies according to the regions," Besler said.

Besler talked about the high intake of sugar and salt in Türkiye, and said salt intake was cut down to 15 grams from 19 grams as a result of the serious efforts made in the past two years. He pointed out the high sugar intake in men in the 19-64 age group and said, "daily sugar intake is 24-25 grams. Besides, we should not lose sight of the fact that a 30-percent iodine deficiency may occur while reducing salt intake. We need to be careful not to ruin a good thing while trying to take positive action."

Everything is established in the first 1,000 days of childhood 
Prof. Dr. Med. Hans Konrad Biesalski,  the University of Hohenheim, emphasized that micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients in a diet as he underlined how micronutrients are overlooked.  Biesalski highlighted the necessity of taking nutrients other than the likes of vitamin A or B12. "The source of real vitamin E and D is fish. Liver is a good source of iron and vitamin E. I recommend a combination diet for healthy nutrition. Your diet should consist of 35 percent meat and 50 percent vegetables and fruits with grains making up the rest since a combination diet contains both macronutrients and micronutrients.  An unbalanced intake of macronutrients means depriving yourself of micronutrients. Inadequate intake of antioxidants results in higher rate of cancer, while insufficient intake of beta carotene A and B causes liver problems.  Deficiency of vitamin C and omega lead to immune system problems."

Biesalski stressed that poor height development, especially below the age of five, is an important finding. "Lack of growth in height within the first two years could indicate a physical or cognitive problem. What good is a healthy diet at the age of 30 when we are supposed to do that below the age of five?  If your or your children's diet doesn't include more than five different nutritional sources, you are not eating healthy," he said. 

Biesalski explained that 2 billion people suffer from iron deficiency, while another 500 million from vitamin A deficiency. "Each year, 30 million children go blind. Vitamin B12 and iron deficiency as well as cases of anemia in children are high in Sub-Saharan Africa The first 1,000 days are the most critical for a child. This time period determines the problems a child will face as an adult. Everything begins with the growth of the embryo." 

“According to public perception, good technology has to be accurate, durable, reliable, natural and transparent.”

 Prof Dr. Klaus G. Grunert, Lecturer at the Marketing Department of the University of Aarhus, and the Founder and Director of MAPP, Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, said the fact that nutrients are healthy is not something we can see or taste.  The quality of food depends on the method that is chosen to prepare it. 
Grunert continued to say, "Consumers pay attention to the following facts regarding their food: It should have good nutrient content, it should not be processed, it should be low in calories, it should not contain GMOs, preservatives, sweeteners or flavors, it should be organic, it should include fewer poor nutrient ingredients, it should be supported by health professionals, and it should incorporate a health logo. According to public perception, good technology has to be accurate, durable, reliable, natural and transparent. Some methods, like electromagnetic processes, are not classified as good or bad. Many studies show that suitability of the taste and the product to the habits and life style of the society is one of the most important deciding factors in embracing the food. 

Journalist İsmet Berkan moderated a “Nutrition and Healthy Living Panel” in the second part of the summit. Participants of the Panel included  Mine Tunçel, General Manager, Health Promotion Association of the Ministry of Health; Selam Ayaz, Director of the Food Establishments and Codex Division, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, General Directorate of Food and Control;  Şemsi Kopuz, President of the Federation of Food and Drink Industry Associations of Türkiye; Prof. Dr. Temel Yılmaz, Lecturer at the Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal Diseases, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, and the President of the Turkish Diabetes Foundation; and performer Gülben Ergen. The Panel discussed government, industrial and non-profit organization activities and the responsibilities of the related institutions and organizations in providing information to the public within the scope of nutrition and healthy living.

About SUGAV      

Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation was established in 2009 with the objective of enhancing community health care by making scientific contributions to Turkish society in the areas of food, nutrition and health.  SUGAV strives to deliver the most current facts regarding food, nutrition and health to the public in a clear-cut and plain manner. The Foundation encourages healthy food, nutrition and life styles; supports research and education programs and other initiatives, as well as providing information obtained from reliable information sources.  For further information:

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