SNFS Dialogue

SNFS Dialogue is a series of symposia addressing current topics of interest in the nutrition and food sciences. They usually take place in german language.

Past SNFS Dialogue:

Food intolerances and allergies - Lifestyle diseases or metabolic disorders of increasing importance?

On October 21, 2019, SNFS, together with recognized experts, reviewed "food intolerances and allergies" and examined the diverse adverse reactions to foods, their pathophysiological basics, frequencies in the population, and agreed on recommendations for actions. 

Fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, allergies to milk protein, fish, nuts and so on... More and more people, or so it seems, report that they do not tolerate one or more food items in their diets. This is mirrored by a growing number of "Free of"-foods offered in supermarkets.

The causes of these food intolerances are manifold, as are their symptoms. The constant presence of nutrition topics and cooking shows in the media and the resulting growing awareness of consumers for health and nutrition topics may contribute to a heightened sensitivity of the population and increasing numbers of self-diagnosed intolerances and allergies. 

Prof. Dr. Jan Frank, President of SNFS and Professor of Food Biofunctionality at the University of Hohenheim, chaired the event and the lively discussion around the topic among journalists, nutrition experts and the general public. 

Dr. Claudia Laupert-Deick, Head of the Practice for Nutrition Therapy and Coaching in Bonn, talked about the current trends towards food intolerances and explained for whom it really makes sense to omit foods. "More and more people believe that they can no longer tolerate certain foods. But this assumption cannot be confirmed scientifically“, she affirmed. But for humans without a diagnosed allergy or intolerance “Free of “-products do not necessarily provide a health benefit; on the contrary. If, for example, gluten (from wheat) is eliminated from the diet, the consumption of whole grain products and simultaneously of dietary fibre may be reduced. Only a small percentage of the German population has a food allergy. Dr. Laupert-Deick stressed: "It requires a differentiated procedure to diagnose food intolerances and to treat them properly and in a health-promoting way".

Prof. Dr. Jörg Kleine-Tebbe from the Allergy and Asthma Center Westend in Berlin spoke about food allergies and intolerances and highlighted the boundary between fashionable indisposition and life-threatening disease. "Food allergies are immunological reactions against food constituents," he explained. One differentiates between primary and secondary food allergies. "Primary food allergies manifest early in life, in infants and young children, and are immunological reactions to proteins from e. g. cow milk, chicken eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and fish", the expert said. Secondary food allergies are different, Prof. Dr. Kleine-Tebbe explained: "They manifest later in life and typically in persons who are allergic to airborne allergens, such as pollen. The presence of structurally related allergens in foods then causes the cross-reactivity also referred to as secondary food allergies." Even though 14% of the European population have a self-reported food allergy, only 1% of the population has this confirmed by a physician through the presence of antibodies in the blood. However, only 0.2% of Europeans show allergic reactions when ingesting the respective allergen. Prof. Kleine-Tebbe concluded: “The presence of antibodies alone does not make an allergy. Only in combination with allergic reactions to the food in question, can a food allergy be confirmed.” Avoiding certain foods is only necessary for persons with a confirmed allergy and not recommended for the general public.

Prof. Dr. Nanette Ströbele-Benschop from the Institute of Nutritional Medicine at the University of Hohenheim talked about the psychological and social aspects of food intolerances and allergies. People suffering from these disorders find themselves in a difficult situation: "Depending on the severity of the food allergy, the emotional and social burden can be very high, in particular for sick children and their relatives - especially the mother", she stressed. Children may be singled out at social events as the “odd ones who need a special diet” and parents may experience the need to explain the dietary restrictions of their children to strangers and caterers as stressfull. Or they may suffer from anxiety when being forced to leave the welfare of their children, who may suffer life-threatening consequences upon exposure to, for example, peanuts, in the hands of others. The quality of life of allergy patients and their close relatives may be severely reduced, studies find. But the extent of the psychological burden is rarely recognised or properly addressed by physicians, who focus on treating the allergic reactions. “Tending to the psychological component in order to reduce the emotional burden, may be just as important for ensuring the wellbeing and health of patients in the long run”, concluded the expert.

Overview speakers and presentation titles: 

Dr. Claudia Laupert-Deick (Practice for Nutrition Therapy and Coaching, Bonn): 
Nutrition trend Food intolerances - For whom does it really make sense to omit food?

Prof. Dr. Jörg Kleine-Tebbe (Allergy and Asthma Center Westend, Medical Practice Hanf, Ackermann & Kleine-Tebbe, Berlin): Allergies and food intolerances: between lifestyle diseases and death risk

Prof. Dr. Nanette Ströbele-Benschop (University of Hohenheim, Institute of Nutritional Medicine, Stuttgart): Psychological and social aspects of food intolerances and allergies

Publications cited by the speakers:

Prof. Dr. Kleine-Tebbe:

Prof. Dr. Ströbele-Benschop:

Further information can be found here:

  • German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Allergologie und klinische Immunologie):
  • Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund (German Allergy and Asthma Association):

Press release:

Please read the joint press release of SNFS and the University of Hohenheim for further details.

Past SNFS Dialogue: 

Fats and oils in foods - from food technology to nutritional physiology


On February 20, 2018, SNFS, together with dedicated experts,  shed some light on the importance and role of fat in the diet and foods. Why do we need fats in our diet? What is their role in health and disease? Do we eat too much or the wrong kinds of fats? Why are certain fats frequently used by the food industry? These questions and more were addressed by our experts Dr. Sarah Egert, Professor Stefan Lorkowski and Professor Eckhard Flöter and intensively discussed with the audience. 

Prof. Dr. Jan Frank, President of SNFS and Professor of Food Biofunctionality at the University of Hohenheim, moderated an intensive discussion on the topic of fats with many nutrition and food scientists, journalists and representatives of professional societies and associations. 

"It is not the quantity but the quality of the dietary fats that is decisive for human health," concluded the nutrition and food experts at the end of the event. And palm fat also fulfils important technological functions in many foods and therefore cannot be easily replaced. 

Speakers and presentations:

PD Dr. Sarah Egert (German Nutrition Society & University of Bonn): 
The role of fats in nutrition

Prof. Dr. Stefan Lorkowski (University of Jena): 
Fats: What do nutrition societies currently recommend and do we need to reformulate recommendations based on findings from recent studies?

Prof. Dr. Eckhardt Flöter (Technische Universität Berlin):
The food technology of fats

Please read the joint press release (in German) of SNFS and the University of Hohenheim for further details.

Past SNFS Dialogue: 

Communication between scientists and (science) journalists - Pitfalls and solutions

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Simplifying scientific data and  and communicating them through media to the general audience without distorting the findings can be a challenge for both scientists and journalists. This symposium was held September 22, 2016, in Berlin and brought together researchers and (science) journalists, highlighted pitfalls and present some solutions for improved communication between them to ensure accurate presentation of research and scientific findings in the media.

Speakers and presentations:

Prof. Dr. med. Jörg Hasford (Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich)

presented common types of human studies, explained basic principles and methodology and gave an overview of their significance and permissible and impermissible conclusions.

Kathrin Zinkant (Editor in the Knowledge Department of the Süddeutsche Zeitung):

talked about her work as a science journalist and explained how she selects scientific topics for the media, reviews study results and conclusions and prepares them for the reader.

Prof. Dr. Peter Stehle (Institut für Ernährungs- und Lebensmittelwissenschaften, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

talked about his personal experiences as a scientist in his communication with journalists and how he prepares and presents his research data for journalists.

Click here to read a brief report (in german) on this SNFS Dialogue.