Thought for Food Blog

Most milk substitutes are low in iodine - here's why it matters

Posted by Shira Rossiter

04-Oct-2017 22:45:00

This post was originally published on The Conversation, and was written by Sarah Bath, a lecturer in Public Health Nutrition and Margaret Rayman, a professor of Nutritional Medicine, both based at the University of Surrey.

Milk and dairy products are the main source of iodine in many diets, and an important iodine source in many countries. However, our latest research found that the iodine concentration of most alternatives to cows’ milk – such as soy and almond “milk” – is very low. This matters because deficiency of iodine, especially during pregnancy, affects brain development and is linked to lower intelligence.

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Topics: milk and milk substitutes, labelling, fish, nutrition, allergies and allergens, seafood, pregnancy, iodine, eggs, soy, dairy, nuts, vitamins and minerals, health, cognitive function, plant-based diets, supplements

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

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

Iodine Deficiency and the Developing Brain

Posted by Naomi McGrath

02-Mar-2015 14:45:00

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.

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Topics: organic, salt, seafood, nutrients, pregnancy, iodine, thyroid, eggs, dairy, vitamins and minerals, hormones, cognitive function, central nervous system, supplements

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

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