Nutrition

Good health requires a good diet, and diseases of under-nutrition and over-nutrition (e.g. heart disease and diabetes) are some of the major challenges in modern medicine.

A new study, published in Climatic Change, analyses the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the diets of meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans using the EPIC-Oxford baseline dataset.

It shows that the greenhouse gas emissions for a meat-based diet are approximately twice as high as those for vegans and about 50% higher than for vegetarians.

The study by researchers at the British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, both part of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, looked at the diets of 2,041 vegans, 15,751 vegetarians, 8,123 fish-eaters and 29,589 meat-eaters aged 20-79 using a food frequency questionnaire.The greenhouse gas emissions of these diets were then estimated using a dataset of greenhouse gas emissions for 94 food commodities in the UK, with a weighting for the global warming potential of each component gas.

The authors concluded that "dietary GHG emissions in self-selected meat-eaters are approximately twice as high as those in vegans. It is likely that reductions in meat consumption would lead to reductions in dietary GHG emissions."

The study used data from EPIC-Oxford, a cohort study of 65,000 men and women living in the UK, many of whom are vegetarian, which examines how diet influences the risk of cancer.

Read the full article in Climatic Change.

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Mike Rayner, Director of the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, was quoted in the Guardian on Saturday in an article about sugar, obesity, and the pros and cons of a tax on sugary foods and drinks.

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Mike Rayner outlines the need for a tax on sugary soft drinks in the UK in the Food Programme on BBC Radio 4, in the edition entitled: Can Andrew Lansley change your diet?
 

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Weight of Modernity: An Intergenerational Study of the Rise of Obesity

By Banwell, C., Broom, D., Davies, A., Dixon, J.

A new book by three leading Australian academics takes a fresh look at the obesity problem, seeing it as a social phenomenon as well as a public health problem.

Weight of Modernity is published by Springer

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What makes for the perfect dining experience? New book reveals how there is so much more to eating out than the food on our plates.

The Perfect Meal - The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining

By Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman

Published: 18th September 2014

What exactly makes the act of eating out so enjoyable? For some, it’s the flavour of the food, for others, the people they are sharing it with. The reality, however, is far more multisensory. Delivering great food means understanding how one sense affects another and knowing exactly how to bring each of those components together. Welcome to ‘gastrophysics’, a revolutionary new approach to the science of the perfect meal. Providing the latest insights from a diverse range of fields, including experimental psychology, design, neuroscience, sensory marketing, behavioural economics and the culinary and sensory sciences, Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman draw on expert opinion, delve into the latest research and make reservations at some of the world’s most cutting-edge restaurants in order to investigate of all of the elements that contribute to a diner’s enjoyment of a meal.

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FoodSwitch, a free app for smartphones, was launched last week. The app help shoppers make better food choices by allowing users to scan barcodes of tens of thousands of food products and instantly see whether there are healthier alternatives available.

The app has been created by Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH), in collaboration the George Institute of Global Health, the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research, The British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group, Nuffield Department of Population Health & Nuffield Department of Primary Care, University of Oxford.

FoodSwitch allows people to use their smartphone camera to scan the barcode of a product and get clear nutritional information on over 80,000 packaged food and drinks sold in supermarkets.

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Scientists in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics have discovered a previously unknown mechanism behind how the fat mass and obesity associated (FTO) gene promotes obesity.  Their findings may have important implications for future therapeutic strategies to combat obesity.

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A consortium brought together by the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food has received a major award from the Wellcome Trust as part of their 'Our Planet, Our Health' programme.

The project will look at the consequences of the global increase in the consumption of meat, dairy and other animal-sourced foods and how it affects the environment and human health.  It will focus on how to achieve changes towards more sustainable and healthy diets.

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The Preventable Risk Integrated ModEl and Its Use to Estimate the Health Impact of Public Health Policy Scenarios

A new paper has been published this week by researchers in the British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches to Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Nuffield Department of Population Health.

This paper describes the PRIME (Preventable Risk Integrated ModEl) model, an openly available non-communicable disease (NCD) scenario model that estimates the effect of population-level changes in diet, physical activity, and alcohol and tobacco consumption on NCD mortality.

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A number of journal articles have recently been published by members of our Food Research Network on the topic of nutrition and obesity.

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