Latest Briefing for 2012

Fibre-rich foods

Dietary Fibre and Satiety

Obesity is a major public health issue with current trends leading to estimated UK incidence in 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children by 2050. It has a severe impact on people’s health, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and heart and liver disease. The direct cost to the NHS is estimated to be over £4 billion per year, and decreasing the incidence of obesity is therefore a priority for Government. Obesity results from a sustained excess net energy intake. The western diet of tasty, energy dense, high fat, high sugar foods appears to have reduced impact on the gastrointestinal signals that help promote feelings of satiety and fullness, leading to widespread overconsumption. Increasing the inclusion of dietary ingredients with enhanced effects on satiety may therefore provide an effective strategy to decrease energy intake, improve healthy body weight regulation and reduce incidence of obesity.

One such natural dietary macronutrient with enhanced satiating properties is dietary fibre. However there are many types of dietary fibre, with rigorous on-going debate as to its precise definition, and attempts in the scientific literature to quantify its effects on satiety in human subjects are equivocal. “Dietary fibre” comprises a myriad of complex carbohydrates that are indigestible by mammalian gut enzymes. They pass through to the large intestine where those that are soluble are broken down (fermented) by the resident gut microorganisms whereas those that are insoluble remain intact. Insoluble dietary fibre provides the physical bulk to gut contents that aids laxation. However, further knowledge is needed of the consequences of soluble dietary fibre and its fermentation products on gut physiology and hormone secretion.

Satiety (feeling full after consumption of food) is critical since it determines the cessation of feeding and delays and/or reduces consumption at the next meal, thereby limiting overall caloric intake. This is achieved in part by the presence of food in the gut stimulating specialised enteroendocrine cells in the gut wall to secrete “gut satiety hormones” which then signal to feeding centres in the brain. Some successful current pharmacological approaches to appetite (and obesity) suppression involve exogenous administration of gut satiety hormones or their mimetics. However, encouraging enhanced endogenous gut satiety hormone secretion through appropriate macronutrient composition of the diet offers a potentially more sustainable, natural physiological approach. Indeed the ability to eat until satiated without overconsumption of calories is clearly an attractive proposition.

However, an increased understanding of the interactions between dietary fibre and gut satiety hormone signalling is required before we can offer properly informed nutritional advice on inclusion of dietary fibre for appetite suppression and healthy weight management.

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Published on 13 November 2012 in Food, health and wellbeing

Briefings for 2012

Ovine chlamydiosis - the most common infectious cause of prenatal lamb death in the UK

Ovine Enzootic Abortion (OEA) is one of the major infectious causes of abortion in sheep and goats worldwide, and the most common cause in the UK. Read more

Published on 22 October 2012 in Sustainability and Communities , Food, health and wellbeing

Parachlamydia - an emerging potential cause of abortion in cattle in the UK

Reproductive failure in cattle is a major concern to livestock producers worldwide. An emerging group of bacteria known as Chlamydia-like organisms have been associated with cases of bovine abortion, as well as with human respiratory and reproductive infections. Read more

Published on 9 October 2012 in Sustainability and Communities , Food, health and wellbeing

Diet, phytochemicals and age-related diseases

Ageing is associated with reduced insulin sensitivity, increased inflammation and reduced ability to respond to metabolic stress. Read more

Published on 25 September 2012 in Food, health and wellbeing

Sustainability-oriented innovation for competitive advantage: Does the business environment matter?

Sustainability-oriented innovation within firms, such as the development of eco-friendly production methods, is seen as a route for product differentiation, value creation and as a way for firms to enhance their bargaining power within the supply chain. Read more

Published on 11 September 2012 in Sustainability and Communities , Ecosystems and biodiversity

Evidence of pain in broiler chickens

The gait or walking style of meat (broiler) chickens differs from that of laying hens. The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which pain, as opposed to say conformation, was associated with or influenced walking style in broilers of gait score 3 (i. Read more

Published on 30 August 2012 in Food, health and wellbeing

Neosporosis - A major cause of abortion in cattle

Neosporosis - a major cause of reproductive failure in cattle . Read more

Published on 13 August 2012 in Food, health and wellbeing

Obesity and Colon Cancer

Rising obesity levels are set to increase cancer risk in the future. This may be caused by the foods and lifestyle factors that lead to obesity, such as consumption of high levels of dietary fat and a sedentary lifestyle. Read more

Published on 8 August 2012 in Food, health and wellbeing

Long-Term Land Use Change on the Machair and its Impact on Biodiversity

Machair is a distinctive type of coastal grassland restricted to about 25,000 ha in world-wide extent; 17,500 ha of this resource are in Scotland. Read more

Published on 3 May 2012 in Sustainability and Communities , Ecosystems and biodiversity

Bracken and the Asulam ban

Bracken is well known as an agricultural, ecological and health problem with little in the way of redeeming features. Read more

Published on 2 May 2012 in Sustainability and Communities , Ecosystems and biodiversity

KE of science - changing behaviours that challenge society

Society today faces a number of challenges, such as climate change, that require individuals to collectively change their behaviour in ways that incur additional costs (financial and/or non-financial). Read more

Published on 25 April 2012 in Sustainability and Communities

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