The University is leading a £6milllion European project to develop and test new food products with satiating qualities to help control appetite, manage weight and combat obesity.
Satiety-enhanced foods can help with energy intake and weight control. SATIN – SATiety INnovation – is a five year, EU funded project that draws together experts from academia and industry to produce new food products using the latest processing innovation techniques. Exploiting better understanding of the biological processes in the stomach and the brain that underpin what makes us feel “full”, the project will evaluate whether this approach is a viable weight management tool.
Obesity is a major public health issue facing the European Union and reducing it is a priority for all European governments. It is estimated that 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children in the UK will be obese by 2050. Obesity has a severe impact on people’s health, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and heart and liver disease. The direct costs to the NHS caused by obesity are estimated to be £4.2 billion per year in the UK. In several European countries, the cost of obesity has already reached 5% of public health expenditure.
Professor Jason Halford, Director of the University’s Human Ingestive Behaviour Laboratory, said: “People who are obese find successful weight loss and maintenance notoriously difficult. Obesity is typically a consequence of overconsumption driven by an individual’s natural sensitivity to food stimuli and the pleasure derived from eating high fat and high sugar foods. Obese and overweight people are less likely to feel full after eating, partly because of the energy-dense foods they prefer have a reduced impact on gastrointestinal hormone signals that help promote feelings of satisfaction and fullness. SATIN aims to draw upon our improved understanding of appetite expression – how the foods we eat affect eating behaviour and appetite. If we can produce foods that fill people up quicker and for longer and taste good then we can help moderate appetite whilst maintaining a healthy balanced diet.”
SATIN will use advanced food processing technologies (such as advanced forms of fermentation, vacuum technology, enzyme application, emulsification, ultra”filtration, drying, sublimation and freezing, heat treatment, protein modification and encapsulation) to modify the structure of the foods which accelerate satiation, enhance satiety and to reduce appetite.
To date, satiety-enhancing food products on the market have not been effective or appealing in terms of taste. Taste and hedonistic experience of food supercedes the health benefits of a food product which is why overweight consumers tend to reject low”energy, high”fibre diets although they promote weight loss. However, changes to the structure and viscosity of food structures have also been found to affect taste and reduce the pleasure of consumption.
SATIN – SATiety Innovation – represents a consortium of 18 academic and industrial partners from 9 European countries including leading research institutes, large companies and small and medium sized companies in the food and retail industry who specialise in novel food formulation and production. Partners include AXXAM, Coca”Cola, a number of universities from UK, Denmark and Spain.