Nutrition and Common Diseases

  • Carsten Carlberg
  • Stine Marie Ulven
  • Ferdinand Molnár


A significant lifestyle change has happened during the last 100–200 years with industrialization, rapid urbanization, economic development and market globalization. Changes in food intake and a more sedentary lifestyle both increase the risk of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD) and various cancers. Diet is one of the key environmental factors particularly involved in the pathogenesis and progression of most of these diseases. Together with physical inactivity, alcohol abuse and tobacco use, these four key environmental factors cause metabolic and physiological changes, such as overweight and obesity (Chap.  8), insulin resistance and β cell failure (Chap.  9), T2D (Chap.  10), hypertension (Chap.  11), dyslipidemia leading to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular failure (Chap.  11) and the metabolic syndrome (Chap.  12). However, not a single individual food component but the interaction between many of them and the overall quality of diet is responsible for the increased risk for these diseases.

In this chapter, we will provide a first overview of the role of nutrition in health and disease. We will describe the evidence of dietary factors in non-communicable diseases and the impact of exercise on the prevention of diseases. Moreover, we will describe low-grade chronic inflammation (Chap.  7) as the underlying cause of many non-communicable diseases. We will use obesity and cancer as examples, in order to describe the link between inflammation and nutrition-triggered diseases.


Nutrition Non-communicable diseases Cancer Obesity Physical activity Adipose tissue Inflammation 

Additional Reading

  1. Calder PC, Ahluwalia N, Brouns F, Buetler T, Clement K, Cunningham K, Esposito K, Jönsson LS, Kolb H, Lansink M, Marcos A, Margioris A, Matusheski N, Nordmann H, O’Brien J, Pugliese G, Rizkalla S, Schalkwijk C, Tuomilehto J, Wärnberg J, Watzl B, Winklhofer-Roob BM (2011) Dietary factors and low-grade inflammation in relation to overweight and obesity. Br J Nutr 106(Suppl 3):S1–S78Google Scholar
  2. de Roos B (2013) Personalised nutrition: ready for practice? Proc Nutr Soc 72:48–52CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Ezzati M, Riboli E (2013) Behavioral and dietary risk factors for noncommunicable diseases. N Engl J Med 369:954–964CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Gleeson M, Bishop NC, Stensel DJ, Lindley MR, Mastana SS, Nimmo MA (2011) The anti-inflammatory effects of exercise: mechanisms and implications for the prevention and treatment of disease. Nat Rev Immunol 11:607–615CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Hawley JA, Hargreaves M, Joyner MJ, Zierath JR (2014) Integrative biology of exercise. Cell 159:738–749CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Hensley CT, Wasti AT, DeBerardinis RJ (2013) Glutamine and cancer: cell biology, physiology, and clinical opportunities. J Clin Invest 123:3678–3684CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Lumeng CN, Saltiel AR (2011) Inflammatory links between obesity and metabolic disease. J Clin Invest 121:2111–2117CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carsten Carlberg
    • 1
  • Stine Marie Ulven
    • 2
  • Ferdinand Molnár
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of BiomedicineUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Department of NutritionUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.School of PharmacyUniversity of Easterm FinlandKuopioFinland

Personalised recommendations