Nestlé Nutrition Council Events

  • Dietary Lipids and Carbohydrates - Impact on Human Health

    September 28-29, 2017. Lausanne, Switzerland. The 14th Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium brought together leading experts to discuss ‘Dietary Lipids and Carbohydrates - Impact on Human Health’, the theme of the event.

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    • Nourishing the World

      October 27-28, 2016. Lausanne, Switzerland. Between now and 2050, the world’s population is expected to rise to 9.2 billion, demanding a 60% increase in global food production. The 13th Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium brought together leading experts to discuss the importance of ‘Nourishing the World’, the theme of this year's event.

      The two-day symposium at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, explored worldwide food security, sustainable agricultural growth and the future for health and food.


      • Food Security, Demographics & Nutrition
      • Environment: Climate, Water & Agriculture
      • Nutrition and e-Health
      • Diets for the world - The way forward

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    • Cognition and Brain Health

      October 22-23, 2015. Lausanne, Switzerland. The Nestlé Research Center hosted the 12th Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium on the topic of "Cognition and Brain Health".

      This globally recognised event convening high-level keynote speakers and world-renowned scientists addressed two key questions:

      • 1. What is the role of nutrition during infant brain development?
      • 2. Can we develop nutritional concepts to address the alarming increase of neurodegenerative disease?

      Prof. Gazzaniga from the University of California, Santa Barbara kicked off the symposium with his keynote lecture, giving a short introduction to the brain and a brief history of neuroscience over the past decades. Overall, the first session was dedicated to the fundamentals of cognitive and brain development, and the audience learned about hormonal control and the brain’s representation of emotions exemplified by the new and emerging theory of the mind.

      The second session, chaired by Prof. Kathinka Evers from the Stockholm Centre for Research Ethics and Bioethics, focused on the fundamentals of cognitive decline. The objectives and scope of the ambitious “European” Human Brain Project were outlined and discussed, with a focus on the mechanics of providing solid and meaningful clinical data.

      Later on, the audience might have witnessed science history with the first presentation of data for a novel infection hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease. The session finished with a presentation on the implications of inflammatory disease in the context of cognitive decline.

      In the evening, Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe addressed all NINS participants during the Gala Dinner with an eloquent speech on the main theme of the NINS and the overall Nestlé strategy to address human brain health.

      The second day was dedicated to the impact of nutrition on the brain. In his introductory session, chairman Prof. Pierre Magistretti from KAUST and EPFL pointed out the significance of energy supply to the proper functioning of our brain. In this area, Magistretti himself has made seminal contributions through the identification of the lactate shuttle, a brain pathway that feeds neurons with energy. Subsequently, the topic of energy supply to the brain was discussed extensively from the perspectives of memory formation and body growth.

      The last session, chaired by Prof. Tamas Bartfai, Scripps Institute San Diego, who was recently elected to join the Nestlé Nutrition Council, was dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and the role of balanced nutrition. Indeed, the ambitious Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER trial) demonstrates how a balanced diet based on fruit and vegetables has the potential to delay the onset of cognitive decline.

      The undisputed highlight was the final keynote lecture delivered by Nobel Laureate Prof. Eric Kandel from Columbia University, New York, entitled “We are what we remember” – a remarkable finale for this 12th NINS.

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    • Nutrition, and the Human Gut Microbiome

      For the 11th consecutive year, the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, hosted the Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium on October 23rd and 24th. This year, this symposium brought together more than 150 scientists and healthcare professionals to discuss the theme Nutrition and the Human Gut Microbiome.

      The human body carries about 100 trillion intestinal microorganisms representing a number of cells that is ten times more than the total number of human cells in the body. Indeed, the gut Microbiome is considered to function as another organ of the body. This year’s symposium covered all topics related to the gut Microbiome from fundamental biology to health-related implications, and finally, to possible interventions.

      The first day was organized into two sessions: ‘The Gut Microbiome: Facts and figures’ and ‘Host-Microbiome Interaction’. These themes were covered in presentations by Willem de Vos, Wageningen University, The Netherlands; Dusko Ehrlich, INRA, France; Hiroshi Kiyono, The University of Tokyo, Japan; Annick Mercenier, Nestlé Research Center, Switzerland; Frederik Bäckhed, University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Paul O’Toole, University College Cork, Ireland.

      On the second day, Rob Knight, University of Colorado, USA; Jun Wang, BGI, China; Max Nieuwdrop, Amsterdam Medical Center, The Netherlands; Liping Zhao, Jiao Tong University, China; Hania Szajewska, The Medical University of Warsaw, Poland and Nicholas Schork, J. Craig Venture Institute, USA; covered the latest research & development in the areas of ‘Disease and Treatment’ and ‘Nutritional Interventions’

      View the scientific sessions and presentations

      Associated Publications:
      Nature: Innovations in the Microbiome
      Scientific American Reports


    • Nutrition, Obesity and Society

      October 23-25, 2013. Lausanne, Switzerland. The Nestlé Research Center hosted the 10th annual Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium on the topic of "Nutrition, Obesity and Society".

      Over the past decades, obesity has become a global epidemic affecting industrialized and emerging countries alike. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for developing non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Diabetes, osteoarthritis and even certain cancers are linked to obesity, and in low income societies this is often in addition to the burden of infectious disease and undernutrition.

      For the 10th Anniversary of the Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium, no subject was more fitting than "Nutrition, Obesity and Society." 

      The symposium brought together renowned scientists, key opinion leaders and Nestlé experts for two days at the Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss the science and health economics linked to the obesity epidemic.

      View the scientific sessions and presentations

      Associated Publication: Nature Outlook: Obesity

    • Nutrition and the Biology of Human Ageing

      October 17-19, 2012. Lausanne, Switzerland. The Nestlé Research Center hosted the 9th annual Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium on the topic of Nutrition and Healthy Ageing.

      The program highlighted the etiology of ageing and the fundamental mechanisms and genetics associated with the ageing process. The programme continues with nutritional and applied aspects of ageing, highlighting the physiological changes which occur in musculoskeletal, immune and cognitive function. The Symposium concluded with the influence of food intake and caloric control.

      Like every year the primary goal of the Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium is to bring together pre-eminent scientists in the field and to deepen our scientific understanding of this important topic. In addition, it is the goal of this forum to encourage thinking with respect to the contribution that our global Nutrition, Health & Wellness Company can make in this important domain.

      Associated Publication: Nature Outlook: Ageing

    • Nutrition & the Immune System

      October 19-21, 2011. Lausanne, Switzerland

      The Nestlé Research Center hosted the 8th Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium, addressing the important topics of the increasing incidence of chronic inflammatory disorders of allergy/asthma.

      These disorders are widely recognized as the result of a combination of environmental and individual risk factors, constituting a very significant health burden for both developed and developing countries. Leading scientific experts and key opinion leaders from around the world will gather to discuss advances in systemic and mucosal immunity, allergy, inflammation, and the role of specific nutrients in circumstances of immune suppression and inflammation.

      Associated Publication: Nature Outlook: Allergies

    • Nutrition and Epigenetics: Modulating the genetic Blueprint

      Lausanne, Switzerland. October 27-29, 2010


      The Nestlé Research Center hosted the 7th annual Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium on October 27-29, 2010 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

      This year’s topic, Nutrition and Epigenetics: Modulating the Genetic Blueprint, proved to be remarkably stimulating, bringing together over 100 leading scientists and key opinion leaders from around the world to discuss the relationship between epigenetics, nutrition and health.

      A rapidly emerging area of interest for the scientific community, epigenetics explains why gene expression can be heritable, and challenges the notion that destiny is defined by our genes.

      Diet may have a lasting, life-long impact on the health of an organism, and the science of epigenetics provides mechanisms to explain these long-term effects and targets for intervention. The way that foods affect gene expression, today and in future generations is of great relevance for Nestlé’s research and product development programs.

      During this Symposium, selected scientists and key opinion leaders discussed epigenetic mechanisms that allow gene expression which spans a life phase, a life span, or even which can be passed on from one generation to the next; how parental influence can affect their children’s health and behaviour later in life; and how nutrition can impact epigenetic changes and gene expression.

      Associated Publication: Supplements: Nature

    • Nutrition and Health Economics

      Lausanne, Switzerland. October 21-23, 2009

      The Nestlé Research Center recently hosted the 6th annual Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium, October 21-23, 2009 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

      Selected scientists and key opinion leaders attended the Symposium, Nutrition and Health Economics, to discuss the effects of existing health and nutrition policies and programs implemented by governments. The Symposium also examined how the social and economic transformation of modern society affects the health and nutritional status of various population groups.

      In accordance with the Nestlé International Nutrition Symposia mission, outcomes of the meeting will help stimulate new research questions to continue pioneering discoveries in this area.

    • Nutrition and Performance

      Lausanne, Switzerland. October 23-24, 2008

      The Nestlé Research Center recently hosted the fifth annual Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium (NINS), October 23-24, 2008 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Continuing the legacy of the preceding symposia, the 5th NINS was attended by leading scientists from around the world to discuss emerging issues in Nutrition and Performance.

      The symposium, Nutrition and Performance, emphasized the scientific basis of performance from molecular biology to whole body physiology, and the opportunities to translate this science into nutritional interventions for performance throughout the lifecycle.

      The highly-interactive sessions resulted in the sharing of knowledge, critical issue identification and proposals for future research directions.

      In accordance with the Nestlé mission dating back over 140 years, the 5th NINS reinforced the need and opportunity for the Nestlé Research Center to continue with breakthrough scientific research, to pursue improvement of human health and to offer practical applications in Nutrition, Health and Wellness.

    • Nutrition and Cancer

      Lausanne, Switzerland. October 24-26, 2007

      The Nestlé Research Center recently hosted the fourth annual Nestlé International Nutrition Symposium (NINS), October 24-26, 2007 in Lausanne, Switzerland. A legacy built by the preceding symposia, the 4th NINS was attended by leading scientists from around the world to discuss critical issues surrounding nutrition and cancer.

      The topic of the symposium Nutrition and Cancer: Carcinogenesis, Cell Cycle, Biomarker and Therapeutics, prompted intensive discussions among scientists on the complex mechanisms underlying cancer and the potential role of nutrition for cancer prevention and intervention.

      Key learnings of the 4th NINS include the recognition of cellular mechanisms implicated in cell damage and cancerous processes. Diet can impact many of the biological targets involved in cell damage and can additionally influence the protection and repair of molecules implicated in cancer-related pathways. Today this knowledge is being used primarily to develop pharmaceutical strategies for the identified targets to potentially alter cancerous processes. Symposium discussions highlighted that cancer patients are in critical need of adequate nutrition; and scientists and clinicians further discussed the use of nutrition as a complement to therapies for improving the health and recovery of cancer patients.

      The highly-interactive Symposium resulted in the sharing of knowledge, critical issue identification and proposals for future research directions.

      Though many questions in the area of Nutrition and Cancer remain unanswered, the Symposium stimulated new ideas, research agendas and future collaborations.

      In accordance with the Nestlé mission dating back over 140 years, the 4th NINS reinforced the need and opportunity for the Nestlé Research Center to continue with breakthrough scientific research, to pursue improvement of human health and to offer practical applications in Nutrition, Health and Wellness.

      Associated Publication: Molecular cancer diagnostics

    • Nutrition and the Brain

      Lausanne, Switzerland. October 26-27, 2006

      The third Nestlé International Symposium hosted leading scientists from around the globe to address the subject of Nutrition and the Brain. The meeting opened a broad discussion on brain processes and the use of nutrition as a scientifically-based means to promote and maintain healthy neural signaling.

      Designed to be highly interactive, the symposium explored three aspects of brain function: peripheral input, central brain processing and behavioral output as it pertains to disease.

      Scientists representing different areas of neurological expertise engaged in interdisciplinary and Q & A session on the critical scientific questions that formal presentations identified as unanswered.

      Dimensions of Perception

      How we experience the world around us through, for example, sight, smell and taste is only made possible through a complex neural network. Stimulation of the eyes, mouth, nose, or even gut sends signals to the brain, creating a direct neural picture of the environment or setting off a cascade of spatio-temporal patterns designed to decode these complex sensations.

      The brain translates stimuli into perception through mechanisms of memory, feedback, reward and emotion. Science now recognizes that optimal functioning of this complex system requires a full complement of substrates and precursors to these processes, as well as an appropriate nutritional energy supply. Furthermore, research indicates that the balance of nutrients can affect the actual functioning of brain mechanisms.

      Prospects Function and Benefit

      Scientists today are only just beginning to understand the brain’s vulnerability to life-threatening and debilitating disease. Future research will undoubtedly bring more knowledge of cause and effect relationships, and to some extent, help to predict human behavior in the face of neurological disorders.

      The Nutrition symposium promoted dynamic, collaborative research among experts aspiring to map the brain’s complex circuitry—that which powers, enlivens, and excites our human existence. Undeniably, a greater understanding of the functioning brain will offer new avenues to improve the human condition.

      Bringing breakthrough scientific research to improve human health and offering practical applications in food nutrition has been the Nestlé mission for 150 years. This symposium continues its success into yet another facet of health and wellness.

    • Lipids and Health

      Lausanne, Switzerland. November 8, 2005

      Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company, is taking the lead in addressing key public health issues and is actively responding to the growing consumer demand for personalised nutrition. As evidence of Nestlé’s long-term commitment to these issues, the Nestlé Research Center (NRC), the scientific centre of Nestlé, hosted the 2nd International Nutrition Symposium (INS). One hundred and fifty global leaders in nutrition and life sciences came together to share the latest research and thinking in their field and address the impact of metabolic dysfunction as a contributor to some of today’s major global health issues.

      The symposium highlighted the fact that imbalances in diet combined with genetic predisposition can deregulate cellular metabolism. Although spectacular advances have been made in understanding how metabolism is regulated and how it can become imbalanced, it is still impossible today to distinguish clear mechanisms causing health issues related to increased body weight in individuals. The scientists were in consensus that nutrition has a much more complex role to play in maintaining good health. Furthermore, the findings of the symposium have provided a strategic vision for the NRC to guide its future efforts to understand the links between food and metabolism. This vision will open doors to new perspectives, using food as a means of maintaining health and preventing diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

      “The NRC is excited by the research presented at the symposium and we will continue to work and share knowledge with the world’s leading scientific minds to address such essential public health issues,” said Peter van Bladeren, Director of the NRC. “We are conscious that obesity and related diseases are much more complicated than thought before, but we are convinced that nutrition has an important role to play next to pharma.”

      Additional Information

      International Nutrition Symposium

      Among the findings presented at the meeting cell communication was identified as a key factor in the control of metabolic regulation. Adipocytes, or fat cells, are much more important than previously thought. We now know they produce signalling molecules that are a part of an elaborate endocrine communication system between tissues. Failures in this signalling process can not only lead to defects in energy storage and metabolism resulting in obesity, but also weaken the immune system.

      All energy competent cells even including neurological cells in the brain are capable of sensing nutrients using mechanisms that are only beginning to be understood. Communication between these various cell types causes energy to be managed successfully, but when nutrient sensing in one tissue fails, the effects can cascade to the entire body. These nutrient sensing mechanisms are emerging as the targets that explain why diet and exercise are seen to influence weight regulation.

      Global Prevalence of Diabetes and Obesity

      Today it is estimated that around 194 million people have diabetes, an increase of over 40 percent from the 1995 global estimation of 135 million published in a World Health Organization study in 1998. Of these, about 85 percent have Type 2 Diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes is still increasing at an alarming rate and is expected to rise to almost 333 million by the year 2025 and if left unchecked, promises to exceed the ability of public health services to manage the costs alone.

      Currently at least 300 million of the world’s one billion overweight adults are clinically obese and obesity rates have risen three-fold or more since 1980 in many areas of the globe*. Humans vary in their genetic predisposition to become overweight in response to particular environmental surroundings as does the tendency to become diabetic. Hence, each individual requires a specific dietary strategy tailored to his or her metabolism to prevent and reduce the impact of obesity and diabetes.

      Reference: Obesity and Overweight (pdf, 2Mb)
      Associated Publication: Obesity and Diabetes

    • Personalised Nutrition

      Lausanne, Switzerland. October 14-15, 2004

      The first International Nutrition Symposium was held on October 14 and 15, 2004, at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. Scientific leaders from across many disciplines and from Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia, addressed three key issues central to the future of diet and human health: - Is there sufficient scientific knowledge to begin predicting the future of human health based on the status of health and diets today?

      • Do humans differ in the way they respond to the same diet?
      • What technologies can distinguish between human metabolic states?

      The symposium began with presentations from 3 Nobel Laureates in Medicine and Physiology. Günter Blobel (Nobel Laureate, 1999), Joseph Goldstein (Nobel Laureate, 1985) and Michael Brown (Nobel Laureate, 1985), gave graphic proof to the first question: do we have sufficient biological knowledge to begin to predict how health will develop in the face of disregulated metabolism?

      Participants showed specific examples of genetic variation in humans that led to different responses to the same diets, lifestyles and exercise. There was a clear consensus that humans respond individually and differently to the same diet. Scientific evidence showed that in addition to genetic differences, phenotypic differences in humans again caused them to respond differently to the same diets.

      Science today gives us the ability to measure the properties of metabolites within body fluids such as blood and urine. This could be combined with genomic and proteomic data to build a comprehensive perspective of health as Systems Biology. This type of approach will enable researchers to document the mechanistic basis of pathology, toxicity in the future, as well as to detect and predict the consequences of the small changes in metabolism due to diet.

      Metabolic disorder affects the health of tens of millions of people. Although it is invisible, metabolism can be analyzed equally comprehensively using advanced technology and scientific information methods. The science of metabolic profiling cannot start before a substantial investment is made in describing normal and abnormal phenotypes. Once this is accomplished, however, this knowledge will be the basis for improving the health of millions of individuals.

      The symposium was closed by Mr Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, CEO of Nestlé S.A., who once again emphasized the role that Nestlé should play as a leader in helping the building and use of nutritional knowledge. Food should be an integral part of each person’s quality of life, and science should contribute to that. With scientific knowledge of how to assess and direct health, it will be possible to define the role of food in enabling each individual to pursue optimal health and wellness.

      The results of this symposium will serve to create a published document as a blueprint for the next steps.