Food Structure and Digestion: Effects on nutrient release and health outcomes


 Title:Food Structure and Digestion: Effects on nutrient release and health outcomes

 Speaker :Professor Peter Wilde   Quadram Institute Bioscience

 Time:April 29, 2019 (Monday) from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

 Location:Room 215 Academic Presentation Hall of Food Science and Technology College

 Brief introduction of the speaker:

 Professor Peter Wilde, Research Leader, Quadram Institute, Norwich UK. Has been researching the physical chemistry of food structures for more than 30 years. His initial work focussed on the interfacial properties of proteins and surfactants. More recently he has studied the fate of food during in vitro digestion to understand how food structures can impact on health by controlling nutrient release and absorption. He has published over 140 papers, h-index of 44. He is an Honorary Professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of East Anglia and a visiting professor here at ZGU. He is on the editorial board of Food Hydrocolloids and Colloids and Interfaces and is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Food Group. 

 Abstract: The debate surrounding nutrition and a healthy diet and what foods are considered healthy or unhealthy, generally focus on the nutrient composition of the foods themselves. This is not surprising as it is the presence (or absence) of the molecules themselves which are essential for the health of an individual or population. These nutrients include macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat all of which are important for energy, building tissues and many other critical physiological functions. They can also be in the form of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and other bioactive compounds in our diet that maintain health and prevent disease. Therefore, we focus purely by the nutrient composition of our foods. However, little time is given to the fact that we consume food and not pure nutrients. The food that we eat has a broad range of structures and physico-chemical attributes that control not only how the food appears, tastes and feels in the mouth, but also, and perhaps more importantly how it is digested, and how the nutrients are released and absorbed.

 Food structure and its physico-chemical properties relate more to how the individual chemical components of the food are assembled to form structures from the macromolecular scale upwards that give a food its unique characteristics. These structures could be natural or manufactured. Either way, the response of these structures to digestion will control the rate of digestion and nutrient bioaccessibility. Plant cell walls are highly resistant to digestion, and can encapsulate nutrients and prevent their absorption. Processing techniques which rupture cell wall structures can dramatically increase nutrient uptake without changing nutrient composition of the original food. Some researchers believe that the discovery of cooking by our early ancestors accelerated their physical development by increasing the nutrient availability. Similarly, early processing methods such as milling further increased the metabolizable energy from foods, allowing larger population groups to be fed and sustained more effectively. However, these energy dense foods are driving the modern global epidemics of obesity and type II diabetes, therefore can we utilise food structure to try and reverse this trend?

Contact: Dan Liu