Diet is a major issue facing humanity. To combat malnourishment and diseases associated with over nutrition, both research and technological breakthroughs are needed. Can science help us develop better ways to feed ourselves? This, of course, is a complex question with many potential answers—from innovations in agricultural sciences and crop production, to changes in livestock farming, to implementing and enforcing broad changes in the sustainable use of land and marine resources.
In this brief Essay, I will consider three attractive opportunities in my own field that may help provide solutions to these challenges: (1) understanding our brain circuits controlling appetite for sweet; (2) developing ways of producing intrinsically palatable, novel protein-rich nutrients in a low cost, self-sustainable, renewable, high-capacity platform; and (3) elucidating the links between our diet, the microbiome, gut-brain circuits, and metabolism. Ultimately, it may be possible to prevent disease through our diet.