Diet & Health

The diet and health theme focusses on understanding the impact of food and dietary components on health, and food processing to maintain nutritional quality. The theme is led by Surrey, building on its reputation for understanding the metabolic demands for nutrients in health and disease, nutrition and chronobiology, and understanding how to change food-related behaviour.

This is augmented by the expertise in food quality and health at Reading, and maternal nutrition and a child’s subsequent health at Southampton.

Research priorities within this theme include:

 The effects of dietary modifications on health in a variety of metabolic phenotypes

  • Effects of diet on: lipid kinetics; body weight regulation; cardiovascular; liver and metabolic functions; vitamin D status and bone health; and cognitive function.
  • Focus on gut and colonic physiology.
  • Understanding the metabolic actions of dietary fibre as a functional foods.
  • Bacterial interactions that promote intestinal health.

Interaction between chronobiology and nutrition

  • The effects of shift work and diet: circadian rhythms in postprandial metabolism.
  • The effects of diet on sleep: circadian aspects of nutrition.
  • Health in the elderly and young: circadian regulation of adipose physiology.
  • The interactions between the human circadian genotype and metabolism.

Food quality

  • Evaluation of bioactive components in food and maximizing these in plant foods by manipulating growth condition and minimising post-harvest losses.
  • Food processing for health and quality enabling the provision of nutrients required for health in the form of safe and appropriate foods.
  • Exploiting novel crops with optimised compositions for health benefits.

Food safety

  • Pathogens in the environment e.g. water quality and food safety and the health impacts of M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis.
  • Subclinical infection is widespread in domestic livestock especially cattle, sheep, and goats and the pathogen is occasionally transmitted to human populations in milk.

Developmental origins of adult disease

  • The effect of maternal nutrition on a child’s subsequent health, spanning fundamental developmental biology through to public health & epidemiology.

Understanding how to change food-related behaviour and communicate effectively about food-related risks and benefits

  • Food labelling and signposting.