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The more than 8500 nutrition scientists and researchers that make up the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) use a wide variety of methodologies in their research. Each has a place and, when used and interpreted appropriately, helps to build the evidence base required to make informed decisions in basic research and clinical practice, as well as in policy development and implementation. To emphasize this point, in May 2020, the ASN Board of Directors commissioned a task force to prepare a white paper to highlight the strengths, limitations, and interpretations of the broad spectrum of methods used in nutrition science and how they work synergistically. The white paper, "Valuing the Diversity of Research Methods to Advance Nutrition Science," is published in the Society section of Advances in Nutrition (1).


While the primary audience for this white paper is the world of nutrition researchers and other nutrition professionals, improved understanding of the many methods used in nutrition research is also important for the various audiences that translate nutrition research, including journalists, educators, clinicians, and policy-makers. In fact, the genesis of this white paper was a growing concern by the ASN Board of Directors regarding polarization within the nutrition science community and other audiences and the negative implications that this discord can have on the translation and application of nutrition science. Too often, differences of opinion are shaped as conflicts when they should be considered as areas of needed collaboration, where all methods in nutrition science may be used in a complementary fashion to advance health and well-being.


The ASN assembled a task force made up of 15 ASN members in July 2020, led by 2 cochairs, and tasked the group with drafting this white paper. The review of research methodologies was completed through the lens of precision nutrition, as this has been identified as a high-priority future research direction. This was done to emphasize the essentiality of data harmonization, rather than speaking to the specific issue of precision nutrition. To support this view, the task force identified 7 broad categories in nutrition science in which to review common research methods:


* Health disparities


* Cognitive performance and behaviors


* Dietary assessment


* Nutritional status


* Genetics and epigenetics


* Microbiome


* Cross-cutting considerations



The authors note how each category of nutrition research methodology provides important and unique information; however, they also identified limitations in the methods and the conclusions that can be drawn from different research approaches. These limitations underscore the fact that no single approach is sufficient to comprehensively address many of the questions in nutrition science. In many sections of the report, therefore, it is noted that the greatest value comes from combining research methods.


"Valuing the Diversity of Research Methods to Advance Nutrition Science" is a crucial document to help understand research methods and areas of study within nutrition science beyond their own. We urge all Nutrition Today ASN members to embrace and communicate the main message of this report: that all research methods used by nutrition scientists have value and, when combined, build the strongest evidence base to support advancement of our field.


Paul M Coates,. Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 6, Issue 7, July 2022, nzac081,


Mattes RD, Rowe, SB, Ohlhorst, SD, Brown, AW, Hoffman, DJ, Liska DJ et al. Valuing the diversity of research methods to advance nutrition science


Adv Nutr, 2022; doi: 10.1093/advances/nmac043



Martha Belury, PhD, RD, has been elected as President of the ASN's Board of Directors. Dr. Belury is the Carol S. Kennedy Professor and Program Chair of Human Nutrition at The Ohio State University. Her specialty is conducting translational research on dietary components that impact skeletal and cardiac muscles and energy metabolism. Dr. Belury's research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed publications, and she also interprets research findings to non-scientists, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals. She has been a member of ASN since 1989, serving as Vice President and Nutritional Sciences Council Chair. In 2014, ASN awarded her the Robert H. Herman Memorial Award for Outstanding Research. She is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). ASN also welcomed the following new board members and changes in leadership:


Vice President -Kevin Schalinske, PhD, Iowa State University


Vice President-Elect-Sarah Booth, PhD, Tufts University


Treasurer- April Stull, PhD, RD, FAND, Baylor University


Director-At-Large, Food & Nutrition Policy- Amanda MacFarlane, PhD, Texas A&M AgriLife


Director-At-Large, Nutrition Science Mechanisms- Saame (Raz) Raza Shaikh, PhD, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health


Director-At-Large, Nutrition Science Translation- Nana Gletsu Miller, PhD, Indiana University


Ex Officio Members


Early Career Nutrition Representative


Nadeeja N. Wijayatunga, MD (MBBS), MPhil, PhD, University of Mississippi


NBPNS Representative


Ken Fujioka, MD, Scripps Clinic


Sustaining Partner Roundtable Chair


Kristin Rubin, PhD, MARS, KIND International



Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Food & Nutrition Virtual Conference & Expo October 8-11 2022


Orlando, FL


APHA 2021- Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness


November 6-9 2022


Boston, MA


The Obesity Society ObesityWeek(R)


November 1-4, 2022


San Diego, CA


School Nutrition Association School Nutrition Industry Conference January 16-18, 2023


San Antonio, Texas


American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Virtual Annual Meeting February 25 - February 28, 2023