Thought for Food Blog

Iodine deficiency and the developing brain

Posted by Naomi McGrath

02-Mar-2015 14:45:50

It is estimated that around 2 billion people worldwide may have an insufficient intake of iodine. Iodine is essential for the synthesis of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3), and there is increasing evidence for its importance in the early growth and development of many organs, including the brain and central nervous system. 

A deficiency of iodine during pregnancy can lead to conditions such as maternal and foetal goitre, hypothyroidism, intellectual impairment, psychomotor defects and cretinism, a severe and irreversible form of mental retardation characterised by multiple neurological defects such as deaf-mutism, diplegia and squint, as well as dwarfism. On top of this, the risk of miscarriage, still birth and infant mortality is increased. Goitre, hypothyroidism and impaired cognitive function do not just affect infants either – they have also been noted to occur in childhood, adolescence and adulthood when iodine intake is insufficient. 

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Topics: nutrition, food information, seafood, pregnancy, iodine, thyroid, tri-iodothyronine (T3), foetal development, eggs, iodized salt, dairy products, thyroxine (T4)

The hidden threat in plant foods

Posted by Naomi McGrath

16-Feb-2015 13:42:44

Fresh fruit and vegetables form an essential part of a healthy diet. However, while they are undeniably good for us, their consumption may, on occasion, pose a risk to our health. The contamination of plant foods by bacteria tends to be less well known about than that of animal-derived foods, but is, nevertheless, a matter of great importance for food safety.

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Topics: food safety, hygiene, bacteria, contamination, fruit, pathogens, plant foods, disinfection, vegetables

Nanotechnology – not a big deal?

Posted by Chris Cattini

28-Jan-2015 14:39:00

What is nanotechnology?

The UK Food Standards Agency defines nanotechnology as the manufacture and use of materials and structures at the nanometre scale. A nanometre is one millionth of a millimetre. If you shrink a grain of rice one thousand times, stop for a minute to admire your supernatural size-reducing powers and then proceed to shrink the grain a thousand times again, you will have conjured up a nanoparticle.

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Topics: food safety, food labelling, nanotechnology, packaging, bioaccumulation, food information, food science and technology

Taking the fat out of processed foods

Posted by Chris Cattini

14-Jan-2015 15:37:00

Since the discovery that dietary saturated fats increase plasma cholesterol levels, low fat foods have been an important area of research, mainly because a link was assumed between plasma cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease risk.

Recent studies have suggested that the connection between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular health is more tenuous than was previously thought. Despite this, advisory bodies, such as the British Heart Foundation, still recommend that people should avoid saturated fats as much as possible and eat small amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats.

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Topics: palatability, low fat, processed food, fat reduction, saturated fat, food science and technology

3D printing: shaping the future of food

Posted by Naomi McGrath

05-Jan-2015 11:33:12

Imagine a world where you could have any food you liked in any shape you desired at the touch of a button. Rocket-shaped pasta? Easy. A bowl of dinosaur-shaped cereal? No problem. Or how about some chocolate, sculpted into an assortment of intricately shaped snowflakes? Well, with 3D food printing this could be a reality. And, as the technology has started to make some real progress in recent times, it could happen sooner than you might think. Its potential does not end at just printing individual foods like pasta and breakfast cereal, though. Scientists envision a future where entire meals could be printed using a 3D printer.

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Topics: additive manufacturing, dysphagia, nutrition, food information, 3D printing, food science and technology

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