Thought for Food Blog

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: acrylamide, processed food, saturated fat, cereals, sensory perception, cholesterol, fibre, dairy, cardiovascular health, additives, fatty acids, sugar and substitutes, consumer behaviour

A Matter of Taste – The Neuropsychology of Flavour Perception

Posted by Chris Cattini

01-Oct-2014 11:30:00

Most people enjoy eating. In this age of plenty, food has become a source of pleasure to an extent that goes way beyond its ability to provide us with sustenance. However, this sense of pleasure is a complex issue. Take cheeses for example. Each has its own particular combination of flavour compounds and sensory properties – Brie is clearly distinguishable from Cheddar, ripened cheese tastes different to fresh cheese, and so on. But why does my husband have to leave the room, retching dramatically, when the rest of my family salivate in anticipation as we sprinkle parmesan on our minestrone?

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Topics: flavour, sensory perception, neuroscience

A Matter of Taste – The Genetics of Flavour Perception

Posted by Chris Cattini

01-Aug-2014 11:15:00

In the sixties, a gloomy prediction was made: in the future, people wouldn’t eat foods, as such, but would rely on pills and nutrient-rich powders to provide them with sustenance. No longer would eating be regarded as entertainment. Future inhabitants of our world would eat to live, nothing else.

Thankfully, this turned out to be science fiction. Fifty years on, pills, powders and gels may be consumed as supplements, but the possibility that these could replace real food is still remote. Gastronomes are prepared to spend large amounts of money on fine dining in order to experience unusual flavour combinations. Chocolates full of sugar and fat are given as presents because we love them. Even the astronauts in the space station are provided with specially formulated foods (probably the closest we have come to the predicted powders) that have to be tasty and enjoyable as well as nutritious.

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Topics: texture, flavour, sensory perception, salt, nutrients, retail and marketing, polyphenols, consumer behaviour, supplements, genetics

How Important is Food Texture?

Posted by Dave Howard

29-Nov-2013 14:49:00

Most people obsess over flavour – everything from ice cream to cheese to chocolate. However, food professionals, from chefs to manufacturers, know that creaminess, crispiness and chewiness is just as important and crucial in making something appealing to consume.

Ingredion are a company whose Texture Centre of Excellence helps the food industry achieve the perfect consistency for their products - 'The magic begins here,' reads the website. Texture is big business and the science of food structure is known as food rheology.

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Topics: texture, sensory perception, food economics, consumer behaviour, cognitive function

How Do We Savour the Taste?

Posted by Dave Howard

09-Jul-2012 09:00:00

In relation to food and beverages, the basic tastes contribute only partially to the sensation and flavour of food in the mouth — other factors include:

  • smell, detected by the olfactory epithelium of the nose
  • texture, detected through a variety of mechanoreceptors, muscle nerves, etc
  • temperature, detected by thermoreceptors
  • ‘coolness’ (such as of menthol) and 'hotness" 'piquance), detected through chemesthesis
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Topics: texture, sensory perception

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