Nutrients from food and beverages - such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water - play a fundamental role in people’s health, and can help to manage disease and reduce disease risk. NIDDK supports research on the way the body absorbs and responds to nutrients, how nutrient levels are regulated in the body through gut-brain signals, how nutrients affect the body from infancy through the aging process, and how over- or under-nutrition affect physical function and metabolism.

NIDDK also supports research that looks at how factors such as disease, stress, drugs, toxins, the gut microbiome, and bariatric surgery affect the absorption and metabolism of nutrients, and vice versa. The Institute also funds studies of how nutrition affects risk for many chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and fatty liver disease. Similarly, NIDDK supports research that looks for genes that influence nutritional disorders, the rate of metabolism, energy balance, food consumption and preference, and obesity. NIDDK research is enhancing knowledge of how inherited nutritional disorders develop and how they can best be treated.

In addition, NIDDK supports research on ways to help people achieve healthy lifestyles with an improved diet or dietary supplements, changes in eating patterns, and physical activity.

The Office of Nutrition Research, then part of the NIDDK, assisted the NIH Nutrition Research Task Force with the development and implementation of the first NIH-wide strategic plan for nutrition research. (The Office of Nutrition Research is now part of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives within the NIH Office of the Director.) NIDDK also participates in the NIH Nutrition Research Coordinating Committee, which promotes collaboration and coordination of nutrition activities across the NIH to accelerate progress in nutrition research.

In addition, NIDDK has congressional authorization for the Nutrition Disorders Program, which provides services via the NIDDK Health Information Center. NIDDK responds to questions and provides health information about diet and nutrition to health professionals and the public.

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What We Do

To achieve its mission, NIDDK supports, conducts, coordinates, and plans research. NIDDK also provides data and samples from NIDDK-funded studies and explains research findings to health professionals and the public.

Provide Access to Research Resources

NIDDK makes publicly supported resources, data sets, and studies available to researchers.

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Provide Health Information

NIDDK provides patient education information, practice tools for diagnosis and treatment, and statistics.

Last Reviewed May 2023