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Táplálkozás
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Science Briefs

In recent years, both functional food and organic food products have become increasingly popular, not least due to the health benefits, or perceived health benefits, associated with them. Studies, however, have also shown that food carrying nutrition or health claims can sometimes be perceived as unnatural, especially if they have been altered to provide added nutrition or health benefit.

Researchers from Aarhus University (Denmark) and the University of Kassel (Germany) investigated how consumers of organic food react to a combination of organic and functional food, i.e. their attitudes towards and their buying behaviour of an organic product bearing a nutrition or health claim. While no significant difference was observed with regards to choosing a product with or without a claim, occasional buyers of organic food were more likely to choose an organic food product with a claim. Furthermore, opting for a product with a claim was associated with reading the claim and perceiving the product as healthier when compared to the other options available.

Researchers from the National Consumer Research Centre and the University of Helsinki published a recent study as part of a Finnish research project on weight management (KULUMA, 2009-2011). They analysed attitudes of middle-aged and elderly Finns towards products designed for weight management and found that consumers can have less favourable views towards ‘light’ products in general but still opt for them when being on a diet to lose weight.

A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that pregnant women who fail to reduce their caffeine intake are at increased risk of having a baby with a lower birth weight.

The study, from the Journal of Consumer Research, suggests having to come up with options from memory led to more impulsive decisions.
The regulation of body weight and energy balance in animals depends on the central nervous system capacity to read the body’s metabolic state and respond accordingly. But how does the brain process and integrate information to regulate feeding behaviour in order to sustain the energetic needs of the organism? In an article now published on the journal "Neuron", scientists from the US and Portugal study the brain activity of rats during a feeding cycle - consisting of an episode of hunger, satiety and hunger again - and found that, while individual neurons respond to parts of the cycle, the pooled activity of the neurons in entire brain areas is always high throughout hunger, diminishing after the animal is fed and satiated, and again increases when the animal is hungry again, a variation that most probably underlies the activation of the mechanism associated with feeding motivation in these animals.

FOOD is a sensitive issue for many women in the west, not least because of pressure to diet, and the way food advertising is targeted. Now it seems this may be showing up in how women’s brains react to food.

In a recent study, Dr Skafida from the Centre for Population Health Sciences and the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (University of Edinburgh) explored why family meals lead to better food choices among children. Eating the same food as their parents was most strongly associated with healthier diets in children. Food choice issues seem to play a more important role than type and place of meal.
Children from families that encourage fruit and vegetable consumption are more likely to report eating fruits and vegetables each day. This association was most apparent for vegetable intakes in countries where children do not receive a free school lunch. The data come from the Pro Greens project and are reported by a team of researchers from Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Norway.
Health benefits are the key message of functional foods bearing health claims. Actual food choice, however, is influenced by various other motives. Scientists from the University of Belgrade and IPSOS Strategic Marketing researched the effect of food choice motives, nutritional knowledge, and the use of food labels on consumer attitude towards foods with health claims. The expectation of a functional food benefitting one's health is strongly influenced by a person's trust in food labels. At the same time, consumers also expect functional foods to be tasty and pleasant in the sense of enhancing one's mood.
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AZ EUFIC-RÓL
Az Európai Élelmiszer Információs Bizottság (EUFIC) egy olyan non-profit szervezet, amely az élelmiszerbiztonság és –minőség, valamint az egészség és táplálkozás kapcsolatáról nyújt tudományon alapuló információkat a médiának, egészség- és táplálkozásügyi szakembereknek, oktatóknak, valamint a közvéleményt formáló személyeknek közérthető formában.

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