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The Dietary Science Foundation
Telephone:+46 70-750 22 16
Address: Kostfonden/DSF
℅ Sjödin
Strandvägen 10
269 39 Båstad

Nutritional research needs support to grow strong

Nobody can churn out pills made of broccoli and olive oil. Real food can’t be patented. Dietary treatments are of no commercial interest, so the resources for conducting large and well-designed scientific studies are meager. A nutritional researcher rarely gets more than a few hundred thousand euros to conduct a scientific study, whereas pharmaceutical companies can spend a million euros proving the efficacy of one single medicine.

A lack of commercial interest makes for weak science

The lack of resources means that dietary studies are often too short and have too few participants. Therefore results are often not of the quality that is required to change national treatment guidelines. With the help of your contribution, the Dietary Science Foundation aims to support structured evaluations of how health and disease are affected by diet. The foundation works toward initiating large, long-term and well-controlled studies, preferably designed by researchers who are on opposing sides of scientific controversies. This ensures that the studies provide results that are as objective as possible.

The studies will have a worldwide impact

The Dietary Science Foundation is based in Sweden, but the studies we finance will have a worldwide impact. The results will be published in international scientific publications, and can be used as a basis for dietary guidance in any other county. So no matter where you live, the support you give us will help to strengthen the official dietary recommendations in your own country. Our aim is to become an international organization for supporting dietary science.

Looking for funding?

The Dietary Science Foundation is new and has limited resources. When assets allow, the foundation’s scientific advisory board identifies a knowledge gap that needs filling. We then make an announcement so researchers who are interested in that area can submit proposals for studies.

Current projects

In 2015 the Dietary Science Foundation invested in an evaluation of the role of carbohydrates in abdominal pain (IBS). In many countries IBS affects more than one in ten of the population, but to date there is no real help to be found. In the study, two different dietary regimes have been compared to a pharmaceutical treatment. Read more: Evaluation of the role of carbohydrates in daily abdominal pain. The study was completed in 2022 and the researchers are now analyzing the results.

In 2016 the Dietary Science Foundation funded a large-scale evaluation of the dietary advice given to people with type 1 diabetes. Many people afflicted with type 1 diabetes have blood sugar levels that put them at serious risk of an early death from cardiovascular disease or kidney damage. More effective dietary treatments that lower blood sugar levels can therefore save lives. In the trial, which is currently running at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, three different dietary treatments with varying amounts of carbohydrates are being compared. Read more: A large-scale study of dietary treatment in type 1 diabetes.

In 2019 the Dietary Science Foundation supported a project about how sugar consumption affects weight. A major challenge for dietary research is that study participants sometimes fail to report things they eat, especially foods that are considered to be unhealthy. In the project, researchers at Lund University will test a new, more objective method of tracking participant sugar consumption. They will measure sucrose levels in the urine so they can analyze how sugar intake affects weight. Read more: Sugar consumption to be measured using urine samples.

The Dietary Science Foundations is currently raising funds for Europe’s largest study of the effect of diet on type 2 diabetes. The project involves researchers from five different countries and the aim is to reverse the disease. Two different dietary regimes will be compared. One group will eat a strict low-carbohydrate diet. The other will use meal replacements as part of an extreme restriction of calories during the first three months. The participants in this group will then be randomized further into groups that will eat either a strict low-fat diet or a strict low-carb diet during the remaining 12 months of the study. The goal during this phase is to maintain weight loss.

The project is important as greater numbers of people suffer from type 2 diabetes, a disease that often shortens lives. More effective dietary treatments can not only save many lives, it can also save considerable resources in healthcare. Read more here: Europe’s largest study of diet for type 2 diabetes.

Finished studies

In 2018 the Dietary Science Foundation contributed to a study of diet for obesity, which has been done at the University of Bergen. The scientists were seeking the answer to two different questions: How does a year of eating a strict low-carbohydrate diet that includes a lot of saturated fat affect the body? And how is weight loss affected by a low-fat diet that includes wheat flour and other processed carbohydrates? The first results were published in autumn 2022. Read more: New diet study challenges old theories about weight loss, fat and severe calorie restriction.

In 2018 the Dietary Science Foundation also gave a grant to a study of various dietary treatments for fatty liver. The project has compared a strict low-carbohydrate diet and a 5: 2 diet with conventional treatment. The results show that the dietary treatments were more effective than conventional care. Read more: Short-term fasting and a low-carbohydrate diet are both effective treatments for fatty liver disease.

Half of the participants in the study were cured of their fatty liver, which is really good news. Fatty liver otherwise often develops into a chronic condition and increases the risk of liver cancer.