The project will focus on the value chain from raw materials and processing to digestion and cells in the body.
In Norway, as in the rest of the industrialised world, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased dramatically in recent years and the health consequences of this trend present a major challenge. Obesity is associated with the metabolic syndrome (defined as a cluster of disorders, including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, impaired cholesterol and abdominal obesity) and poses increased risk of lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Norway used to be very low compared to other European countries.
Along with the increased prevalence, changes in meal patterns and food culture have taken place in the direction of a more Western diet, and it is therefore of great interest to explore the health potential of meals based on traditional Norwegian raw materials and Norwegian food production. In order to provide an understanding of how meals, and interactions between meal components, affect the development of metabolic syndrome, the project will include use of in vitro and in vivo models to study biological mechanisms.
The present project aims to provide a better understanding of the effect of diet on various functions of the gastrointestinal tract, including digestion of bioactive components (fibre, polyphenols, milk proteins, unsaturated fat), satiety signalling and immuno modulation, all relevant for the development of metabolic syndrome.
The main target is to provide Norwegian industries with expertise which make them better prepared to:
- Develop palatable and attractive products and meals composed and processed so that they can be a part of a healthy diet in the prevention of obesity and metabolic syndrome
- Change the costumers opinion of industrial processed food
- Promote the use of regional raw materials
- Stability of bioactive components during processing and storage
- Bioactive components during digestion
- In vitro colon fermentation
- Effects on the immune system
The project is a interdisciplinary co-operation between University of life science (UMB), National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (Nifes) and Nofima.