Thought for Food Blog

Is Stevia a Trend or the Answer?

Posted by Chris Cattini

15-Apr-2015 13:46:00

Stevia is the name given to extracts from leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana used as sweeteners or sugar substitutes. The two main compounds responsible for the sweetness of stevia are stevioside and rebaudioside A, both of which are derivatives of the diterpene, steviol.

  • Stevioside is 250-300 times sweeter than sugar, but possesses a bitter aftertaste. 
  • Rebaudioside A is 350-450 times sweeter than sugar and is less bitter than stevioside, making it a popular option for use in sweetener preparations.
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Topics: diabetes, bacteria, obesity, additives, sugar and substitutes, functional foods, confectionery, analytical techniques, hormones, appetite and satiety, supplements

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

3D Printing: Shaping the Future of Food

Posted by Naomi McGrath

05-Jan-2015 11:33:00

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: texture, nutrition, flavour, 3D printing, protein, nutrients, chocolate, sugar and substitutes, environment and sustainability, confectionery

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Posted by Chris Cattini

30-Nov-2014 12:16:00

Christmas means different things to different people. For children, of course, it means presents and the magic of the festive season, for the spiritual, it’s a time for prayer and reflection and for the exhausted, it’s an opportunity to hibernate and watch all the box sets that have accumulated during the year. 

But most of us have one thing in common. The festive season gives us an excuse to stuff our faces with as much food as we possibly can. Some of this food is ok. Turkey and sprouts, for example, are fine, upstanding healthy foods. But a great deal of our yuletide intake consists of sugary and salty snacks that at best make us put on weight and at worst may lead to one or more of the various unpleasant conditions that come under the umbrella of the metabolic syndrome. And because it’s Christmas, we allow ourselves to eat both good and bad food in humungous quantities. 

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Topics: caffeine, Christmas, saturated fat, protein, sugar and substitutes, hormones, appetite and satiety, central nervous system

Confused About Sugar?

Posted by Jenny Arthur

12-May-2014 11:08:00

Post from guest blogger, Jenny Arthur BA (Hons) MSc RNutr, Nutrition and Marketing Consultant

Sugary foods are close to most people’s hearts, including mine, and maybe we are all psychologically addicted to sugar? Babies are born to like sweet tastes, so are we pre-disposed to liking sugary foods? When you think about it most people will usually indulge on chocolate, sweets or alcohol, though I have a crisp muncher in my house!

Following the almost constant media attention on sugar over the last few months and with little or no distinction between sugars added to foods and naturally occurring sugars. In addition to little reference to realistic portion sizes when comparing the sugar content of foods. Only last week, the repeated call for a sugar tax in the UK and the World Health Organisation’s draft recommendation to ideally halve the current 10% guideline for sugar to about 25g or 6 teaspoons of sugar/day. It is no wonder people are confused about what they should be eating!

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Topics: processed food, nutrition, healthy eating, retail and marketing, sugar and substitutes, confectionery

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