FoodPro ForHealth will develop rational strategies to formulate and process foods to control lipid digestion, and combines the Fellow’s food science skills with expertise and techniques at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in the colloids, interfacial, model gut and health areas.
Obesity is a major health problem in Europe/developed countries and a risk factor for chronic diseases (diabetes and cardiovascular disease, CVD) leading to anti-obesity campaigns promoting healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Lipids are the most energy dense of macronutrients and excess consumption has been linked to obesity. Most people find it difficult to change their diets to eat healthily. Changes in food manufacturing are needed to develop healthier products and ingredients. Lipids are water insoluble and their breakdown in the digestive tract occurs at the fat/water interface so the composition at the fat interface can affect lipid digestion in vitro. If lipid digestion is controlled, energy release during digestion is prolonged and hyperlipidaemia, a CVD risk factor, reduced. Slowly-digested lipids can also increase satiety, control energy intake and help manage weight loss. State-of-the-art physicochemical techniques will be used to study how common food structures in emulsified foods influence the breakdown/digestion of lipids in vitro. The interaction of these structures with digestive enzymes, surfactants and lipids will be studied in the gastric and duodenal environment. Better understanding the factors affecting the nature/extent of lipid breakdown in model systems and real food models will allow science-based strategies to modify food products or develop new products to optimise fat digestion. The project will assist the Fellow to develop new research projects on her return to Spain and to transfer knowledge to industry. Complementary skills (e.g communication, resource management, IP and awareness of the needs of industry and society) will be transferred to the Fellow
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