The 5-year NU-AGE project will start by designing a new food pyramid for those over 65 years old. This will be developed from food based dietary guidelines used in Europe, illustrating the proportions of different foods that should be included in a balanced diet.
Currently, there are no dietary guidelines designed to specifically address the nutritional needs of the elderly.
The researchers from the NU-AGE project combined existing dietary reference values, a set of references for nutritional intake that is based on currently available scientific knowledge, as well as food-based dietary guidelines, to create new recommendations relevant to the elderly.
Special attention was paid to selected nutrients that could be of concern in the aging population, such as vitamin D, B12, and calcium, along with water and dietary fibre. Then, the scientists translated these dietary reference values into the ‘NU-AGE food-based dietary guidelines’ in order to inform consumers what and how much they should eat from a certain food group. For example, instead of saying eat more polyunsaturated fatty acids, the researchers advised on how much oily fish containing this specific nutrient should be consumed.
NU-AGE has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (contract n° 266486).