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Understanding food

Science Briefs

UK researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University set out to examine whether chewing gum could positively  influence perception of hunger and fullness, and impact on short-term energy intake.

Health benefits associated with wholegrains may be, in part, due to their prebiotic effect. This is the conclusion of a 3-week intervention study conducted by UK scientists at Reading.

A new US study shows that high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) used to sweeten certain beverages has a similar impact on hunger and satiety as sucrose.

The anti-cancer properties of Brassica vegetables, namely broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, are well-known. However, boiling such vegetables severely impairs their potential health benefits, as a new UK study has reported.

A research group of the Animal Nutrition Unit at Zaidín Experimental Station, which is owned by the Higher Board of Scientific Research, located in Armilla (Granada), have demonstrated that leguminous plants can have beneficial effects on the body. Amongst others, eating these foods can reduce the probability of suffering cancer of the colon, as they reduce the replication ratio of tumour cells.

Antioxidants are believed to have substantial health benefits and raspberries in particular are a good source. In fact, raspberries may have 10 times more antioxidants than tomatoes or broccoli. Further, raspberries contain some specific antioxidants that are found almost nowhere else.

A research team from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham, UK, found that moderate daily coffee drinking did not lead to dehydration in young adult men. No differences in the body fluid balance were found between coffee and water consumption. The researchers suggest that, while caffeine in large quantities can dehydrate, drinking coffee in moderation provides similar levels of hydration as water in regular coffee drinkers.

Researchers from University College London, UK, performed a large-scale twin study to investigate the relative contribution of genetic and shared environment factors to children’s preferences for certain food groups. The study revealed a substantial genetic influence on preferences for fruits, vegetables and proteins. Further analyses showed that a shared environment has more impact on preferences for dairy, starch and snacks. Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that both genetics and environment may influence children’s food preferences.

A team of researchers from a variety of Italian universities investigated methods of effectively communicating food safety risks to children. The researchers conducted a study in primary schools to evaluate children’s understanding of microorganisms, following either a practical or theoretical teaching approach. After the study, all the children were found to have an improved understanding of microorganisms and their functions. Furthermore, it was found that children who were given the opportunity to actively participate in practical classes were more likely to have a stronger understanding of the context in which microorganisms are found, and their impact on people and the environment.
A recent review by Belgian researchers from a variety of universities and organisations, published in the international peer-reviewed journal Food Control, examined the risks and benefits associated with the consumption of raw and heat treated cow’s milk. The Review addressed microbiological, nutritional and health aspects. Raw milk is perceived to be associated with health benefits that are destroyed upon heating. However, the authors refute these perceptions and conclude that consumption of raw milk poses a realistic and unnecessary health threat from possible contamination with pathogenic microorganisms. Furthermore, they conclude that heat treatment does not alter the nutritional value of raw milk and it remains the most effective method to increase the microbiological safety of raw milk.
 
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The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is a non-profit organisation which communicates science-based information on nutrition and health, food safety and quality, to help consumers to be better informed when choosing a well-balanced, safe and healthful diet.

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This site was last updated 24/07/2014
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