1 February 2013
SCI's Biotechnology Group in conjunction with the University of Westminster
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A high intake of fruits and vegetables (FV) has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of a number of chronic diseases. Blood biomarkers of intake of FV potentially offer an objective method of measuring intake, and could ultimately replace estimates of intakes based on traditional methods. A valid biomarker of overall FV intake would be able to confirm population intakes, and allow more precise evaluation of the association between intakes and health outcomes. A valid biomarker would also allow the confirmation of compliance in FV intervention studies.
Several substances found in FV have been proposed to be potential biomarkers of intake, and these include vitamin C, the caortenoids, the flavonoids and other polyphenolic compounds. Certain biomarkers are strong predictors of single classes of FV intake, e.g. lycopene and tomato consumption. However, proposed single biomarkers of FV consumption have, at best, been only modestly predictive of overall FV consumption. This is likely to be due, at least in part, to the complexity of FV and the large number of bioactive compounds present.
Whilst accurately measuring FV intake is important in nutrition research, another critical question is how best an increase in FV intake can be achieved. The way in which dietary change has been promoted in efficacy studies with clinical endpoints has been relatively intensive, which means that roll-out of such dietary advice to 'at risk' groups and the general population would be prohibitively expensive. Therefore, alternative, less intensive methods of encouraging FV consumption need to be tested. For example, peer support has been suggested as an effective strategy to promote dietary change. This seminar will outline possible novel biomarkers of FV consumption and will examine the feasibility of different approaches to encourage increased FV consumption.
University of Westminster
University of Westminster, School of Life Sciences, 115 New Cavendish Street London W1W 6UW
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SCI Comms Team
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Dr Jayne Woodside, Centre for Public Health, Institute of Clinical Science Block B, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Dr Woodside is a Reader within the Centre for Public Health at Queen's University Belfast. She specialises in the conduct of human nutrition intervention studies with whole foods and whole diets examining clinically relevant endpoints, and also in interventions to promote long term dietary change. She has published widely in the nutrition field and has current funding from the Medical Research Council, National Prevention Research Initiative, Food Standards Agency and World Cancer Research Fund.