Information for consumers

 

It is common sense, that our wellbeing is strongly determined by the food we ingest. "You are what you eat" is a broadly known proverb as well as "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". In fact, food has a considerable impact on our health.

Against this background it makes perfect sense that food with a proper composition shall support health and wellbeing of the consumer. Customers are well aware of this fact and the demand for food delivering appropriate health and wellbeing benefits is constantly growing.

Still, scientists detect a rise in the occurrence of the Metabolic Syndrome. This means that a growing number of persons have metabolic problems and suffer from abnormal levels of fats, glucose, and blood pressure potentially leading to severe diseases like coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2-diabetes.
In an approach to solve these problems, research into the effects of nutrients has been carried out and indeed a lot of potentially beneficiary properties of certain nutrients have been found. These bioactives in food are probably able to prevent the symptoms of the Metabolic Syndrome and contribute to health improvement.

The consortium of scientists of PATHWAY-27 aims to further investigate the mechanisms of action of bioactives.
To this end, different model-foods (bioactive-enriched foods, BEF) will be created and evaluated for their effect.

The selected bioactives to be tested in PATHWAY-27 are
•    docosahexaenoic acid,
essential fatty acid (cannot be synthesized by the human body) that seems to have an protective effect in cardiovascular problems
•    β-glucan,
dietary fibre present typically in oats and barley that is capable of lowering blood cholesterol
•    anthocyanins
water soluble pigments believed to increase the antioxidant response against biotic and abiotic stress factors

The three selected groups of food will be
•    Dairy-products
•    Bakery-products
•    Egg-products
all three kinds of products are widely consumed and therefore relevant for the approach in this research project.

The pan-European team of scientists collaborating in PATHWAY-27 aims to get insight in
•    how bioactives are interacting with the food
•    how the effects of the bioactives can be enhanced (possible synergies)
•    which factors determine bioavailability
•    what the impact on the Metabolic Syndrom is

These questions shall get answers by different studies in vitro (laboratory scale) and in vivo (human consumption tests).

The following results shall be achieved by the PATHWAY-27-consortium
•    BEF as model-foods
•    Generic protocols, best practices and guidelines for planning dietary interventions
•    guidance for producing health-promoting BEF
•    instructions for compiling health claim dossiers to EFSA
•    information for science, consumers and industry
•    interdisciplinary trainings

This way, PATHWAY-27 shall contribute to better understand the mechanisms of metabolism of bioactive nutrients in different food-environments and help to develop health-promoting food for the growing demand of the health-conscious consumer.

The research leading to the project results has received funding from the European Communities SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 311876.