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Science Briefs

In this section, we feature scientific publications of new research from Europe and the rest of the world, that may be of interest to EUFIC readers. EUFIC was not involved in this research, unless stated otherwise.

29/07/2014

A team of researchers from eight European countries have found that a diet that is very similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with lower body weight and fat percentage in children. They also found that this diet is not common among children in Mediterranean countries. The researchers were partners in the EU-funded IDEFICS study (2006-2012), one of the largest studies to investigate health effects of a changing diet, lifestyle, and social environment and develop intervention approaches for two to ten-year olds.

01/07/2014

A broad range of foods in a child’s first year of life may help to prevent the development of allergic diseases. A team of European researchers studied feeding practices by parents in Austria, Finland, France, Germany and Switzerland to measure the diversity of children’s diets against diagnoses of asthma, food allergies and allergic rhinitis. This is the first study that shows an association between increased exposure to certain foods in the first year of life and protection against later development of allergies.

17/06/2014

Physical activity facilitates good health, weight management and prevention of chronic diseases. It is recognised as beneficial to social, emotional and cognitive states. To support and inform European health promotion policy, a recent survey carried out for the European Commission examined participation in physical activity in the European Union. The survey highlights that the majority of Europeans do not engage enough in sport and health-enhancing physical activity. Women in general – and young women in particular – are far less active than their male counterparts. Also of concern is the extremely high level of inactivity above the age of 55.

04/06/2014

Excessive meat consumption is considered to have a high impact on the environment but also poses a risk factor for human diseases such as cancer and type II diabetes. A study by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Studies in VU University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, investigated consumer habits related to meat consumption and their attitudes toward strategies for change. Results showed that these strategies should be applied carefully depending on the consumer segment, and that consumer preferences should be taken into account to better facilitate a gradual change in the amount and sources of protein consumed.

20/05/2014

Research conducted by the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), investigated what happens in household kitchens to assess food safety risks in domestic environments. The study revealed that food safety was not a priority for most households and in some cases ‘lay’ or ‘common sense’ knowledge took precedence over expert advice.

06/05/2014

Researchers from the NU-AGE project have published a special issue in the journal Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, which summarises new methods to tackle a key factor of ageing in elderly people - inflammation. This process plays a key role in frailty and other disabilities that lead to further disease and eventual death. Research suggests this process can be halted and even reversed through changes in diet and lifestyle.
 

25/04/2014

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.

10/04/2014

This paper, commissioned by the ILSI Europe Food Allergy Task Force and published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, outlines a risk analysis framework to underpin decision-making in the area of allergen cross-contact. The latter may arise for a number of reasons, for instance the presence of residues in inaccessible shared equipment and airborne dust. The paper identifies challenges relevant to each component of the risk analysis framework. These are risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. It concludes that risk management decisions must be informed by a clear understanding of the risk assessment’s outputs and limitations. Clear, consistent and trustworthy communications involving all stakeholders underpin these activities. This is the third paper in a three-part series.

10/04/2014

The risk from the unintentional presence of an allergen in a food product must be assessed before it can be managed effectively. Using probabilistic modelling, the risk can be assessed by combining data on the minimum eliciting doses (MEDs) in the allergic human population with exposure data (consumption and contamination data). This paper, commissioned by the ILSI Europe Food Allergy Task Force and published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology,discusses the strengths and limitations of this approach. It is the second paper in a three-part series.

10/04/2014

This paper, commissioned by the ILSI Europe Food Allergy Task Force and published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, discusses advances in the risk management of allergens which are unavoidably present in food products as a result of cross-contact. The latter may arise for a number of reasons, for instance the presence of residues in inaccessible shared equipment and airborne dust. The conclusion is that precautionary labelling based on quantitative action levels (i.e. maximum levels of unintended allergens above which precautionary labelling is deemed necessary) provides optimal protection for allergic consumers. This is the first paper of a three part series.

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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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