Thought for Food Blog

Gut Feelings: The gut-brain axis and mental health

Posted by Chris Cattini

01-Sep-2017 12:12:02

Our second brain

We have a second brain in our guts. Known as the enteric nervous system, it consists of a mesh-like network of around 100 million neurons lining the entire gastrointestinal tract. These neurons include a range of cell types operating via a complex system of circuitry largely independent of the central nervous system.

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Topics: zinc, sleep, fish, cereals, seafood, bacteria, fruit, vegetables, eggs, fibre, soy, meat, dairy, immune system, amino acids, neuroscience, fatty acids, nuts, tryptophan, gut health, cognitive function, mental health, central nervous system, fermented foods, supplements

Why buy local food?

Posted by Naomi McGrath

09-Dec-2016 12:25:17

Interest in local food is growing. Consumers choose to buy local foods for a wide variety of reasons, including their perceived nutritional superiority and health benefits, advantages for the local economy, and to help protect the environment.

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Topics: labelling, food quality, Christmas, organic, packaging, flavour, nutrients, fruit, vegetables, meat, retail and marketing, food production, environment and sustainability, food economics, consumer behaviour, local foods, plant-based diets

Food Fraud Costs the Global Food Industry $10-15 Billion Annually

Posted by Chris Cattini

04-Apr-2016 10:00:00

In 2008, melamine was added to milk and infant formula to increase its protein content. This led to the hospitalisation of around 54,000 infants, 6 deaths from kidney stones and, ultimately, a number of criminal prosecutions, resulting in 2 executions.

In 2013, horsemeat was found in burgers and ready meals sold in UK supermarkets. Although not physically harmed, consumers – who thought they were eating beef – were less than happy. The incident highlighted the vulnerability of the food supply chain and Tesco, one of the supermarkets selling the adulterated meat, underwent – €300 million drop in market value.

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Topics: milk and milk substitutes, food safety, labelling, organic, honey, meat, dairy, regulations and guidance, contaminants, traceability, food fraud, food economics, analytical techniques

One Man's Meat is Another Man's Poison

Posted by Chris Cattini

01-Jun-2015 12:08:00

Meat consumption trends

In recent years, consumers in western countries have reduced their meat intake, due largely to ethical, sustainability, health and religious issues. However, in 2014, global meat sales increased by 3%, reaching 225 million tonnes. This increase was fuelled by growing demand in developing markets. For example, meat intake in India has increased by almost 50% since 2009. Overall, poultry is the most popular meat, but consumer preference for particular types of meat varies between different countries. In China, sales of beef and veal have overtaken those of pork, whereas in Poland, consumption of pork is higher than that of beef or poultry.

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Topics: food safety, labelling, pet food, meat, regulations and guidance, contaminants, food fraud, environment and sustainability, analytical techniques, consumer behaviour, India

Reducing Meat Consumption for Sustainability

Posted by Naomi McGrath

05-May-2015 16:30:00

What changes could we make to “meat” the need for more sustainable food choices?

Meat often dominates the dinner plate. Whether it’s a juicy steak, a roast on a Sunday, or some sizzling sausages served up with a mountain of mash, meat regularly forms the central part of the meal, and for many people it is something they would certainly not want to go without. Unfortunately, though, while our enthusiasm for digging into meat-filled meals might leave our stomachs satisfied, it is having rather less positive consequences for the environment.

Meat production and the environment

Meat production is one of the main sources of human pressure on the environment, and its consumption accounts for a significant proportion of the ecological footprint of those who eat it. As well as being a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (it is claimed that the global livestock industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trains, ships and planes put together), raising animals for food is inefficient. It requires vast areas of land – not just for grazing, but for growing crops for feeds too, as well as large amounts of energy and water, all to produce only a relatively small amount of meat.

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Topics: food security, cancer, animal welfare, protein, diabetes, grains, obesity, agriculture, meat, cardiovascular health, food production, environment and sustainability, consumer behaviour, plant-based diets

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