Don't be fooled by food labels! While many branded products make all sorts of health claims new rules from the European Food Safety Authority mean that it is essential to provide scientific evidence of a positive impact on health.
Research by scientists at the University of Aberdeen is focusing on the effect of novel carbohydrates, found in products such as pre-biotic yoghurts and cereals, on the human gut bacteria. Many such products are advertised as being revolutionary for digestive health.
Dr Petra Louis from the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health said: “Developing food ingredients and products that are beneficial to the human gut and immune system is crucially important because of their potentially positive impact on quality of life.
“We will be establishing a model of the human gut bacterial community to test newly developed novel carbohydrates, and some which are already on the market, and analyse which types of bacteria – good or bad - are stimulated when these foods are ingested.”
This forms part of a wider pan-Europe study into health via nutrition, with a view to developing cohesive advice on what to eat.
“This would greatly benefit society as a whole but also be of particular importance in groups such as the elderly, who are more at risk from such diseases," said Dr Louis.