32nd International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition in Iceland
  • The 32nd International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition was held in Reykjavik, Iceland from June 25 to 27, 2014. The symposium is an annual event arranged by the Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) of the European Association of the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and brings together international scientists, physicians, and dietitians to showcase the latest advances from basic science to clinical trials in diabetes and nutrition. Registered participants were 104, mostly from Europe (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK), eight from Canada and one from New Zealand. The opening address on Thursday morning was by Mr. Illugi Gunnarsson, Iceland‘s Minister of Education. The symposium welcomed young scientists whole heartedly, granting Young Investigator Awards to outstanding young scientists. In total, over 50 studies were presented, out of which 2/3rd were oral presentations and 1/3rd poster presentations.

    The first presentation, by Malgorzata Schlegel-Zawadzka from Poland, was a historical overview on nutrition behaviour and diet quality over the past 90 years in Eastern Europe. It touched upon similarities as well as differences in food choices between countries, in light of cultural, political and economic situations. Discussing the path from ration tickets to increased access and availability of food, accompanied by both better health due to high-quality foods and increases in lifestyle diseases due to poor choices, it smoothly led to ‘Preventive Strategies for Diabetes’ session. 

    This session was very varied, and included presentations on the importance of dietary factors for prevention of gestational diabetes, childhood and adolescent obesity, and glucose metabolism among community-dwelling elderly. Results from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on fructose and total sugars were presented.  Another historical overview was given, this time by Vilmundur Gudnason from Iceland‘s Heart Association, on changes in heart disease prevalence parallel to changes in the diet of Icelanders. The Development of Diabetes session was brief but good, presenting potential biological relationships between metabolites in an analysis from Germany and findings on the metabolism of preterm babies in Finland.

    Friday morning started with practical and informative presentations on ‘Quality Diabetes Care through Food and Nutrition’. Anna Reid presented a UK based self-management programme for patients with diabetes with the aim of enhancing self-management support; two upcoming studies were also presented. Hana Kahleova from the Czech Republic argued for a positive effect of a larger breakfast and lunch as compared with six smaller meals, on quality of life, depression scores and eating behaviour in patients with type 2 diabetes. Anne Cathrine Thorup’s presentation sparked a discussion about how to encourage farmers to grow vintage vegetables which are bitter and strong tasting compared to our modern vegetables. In the ‘Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome’ session, approaches to modify risk factors in the crucial periods of childhood, adolescence and lactation were discussed. Studies assessing effects of whole grain rye and whey protein on the metabolic profile were presented. The ‘Metabolism and System Biology’ session started with studies on Nordic foods and heated food products, plasma fatty acid composition in Finnish children, and potential biomarkers for whole grain rye and fish intake. The effects of different sweeteners were discussed. The session ended with an introduction to genetics – genetics of diabetes, and detailed findings on the regulation of metabolism homeostasis by clock genes.

    The 33rd International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition will be held in Toronto, Canada on June 10-12, 2015.  The theme of next year’s scientific program will be “Dietary Patterns and Food based Approaches in Diabetes”. See http://www.idf.org/calendar/events/33rd-International-Symposium-on-Diabetes-and-Nutrition?language=fr.
    Birna Thorisdottir
    Nutritionist and PhD Student, University of Iceland