What is a metabolic matrix and why should you care?

In June of 2020, the Pediatric Resilience program at Swedish Healthcare sponsored a major three day international (CME) symposium on metabolic health and nutrition. The symposium was inspired by something called the metabolic matrix.

“Metabolic health” is a term you will find frequently referenced on this website and is the primary marker and outcome of nutritional security. We need to be re-conceptualize metabolic health and nutrition as a fundamental organizing pillar of food system change. Chronic disease driven by processed food provides the backdrop for COVID-19 spiraling out of control, and it is estimated that type 2 diabetes and other diet related disease have dramatically increased during the pandemic. Fundamental and structural changes are needed in the way the food & beverage industry engineers foods, with metabolic health as the “North Star.” Linking good food, metabolism and health reduces or eliminates preventable, diet-related diseases and the financial burdens they foster.

A scalable, replicable framework for doing this is described in a “metabolic matrix,” a science-based template for designing foods that ensure metabolic health.

An overview of this concept is described in an article (Food meets health: How a new approach to metabolic health could tackle chronic disease) and a paper (Health Meets Food through a Metabolic Matrix) posted on the World Economic Forum website.

The metabolic matrix work is also described in this infographic in English and Arabic. A slide deck is also available in English & Arabic.

Metabolic health is the key to long-term nutritional and economic security. For this reason, the “metabolic reset” dialogue provides rich opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and alignment where food meets health.

A number of metabolical actors are involved with this model, and the intention is to encourage the investigation, development, scaling, and replication of the model as widely as possible. A methods paper detailing the development of the model is currently being written and will be published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2022.

The Pediatric Resilience program is a founding member of the M+ Alliance, a fast-growing network of individuals and institutions who see the fundamental links between metabolic health and nutrition.

Check out https://metabolicmatrix.info and learn more about this ground-breaking work.

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