Survey reveals consumers’ confusion over foods

Consumers are confused about what foods are good for digestive health, a new survey by consultancy New Nutrition Business reveals. The number of people who believe bread, meat and milk are good for digestion is almost equal to the number of people who believe they are bad.

The survey asked 3,000 people from the UK, Australia, Spain, Brazil and the US to rank some common foods as good or bad for their gut health.

While 38 per cent of respondents singled out bread as the key culprit behind gastrointestinal distress, 24 per cent said it was good for digestive wellness.

And despite kefir and fermented vegetables being hyped as gut health heroes, more people believed bread was good for digestion than believed kefir (17.6 per cent) or fermented vegetables (15.8 per cent) were good.

Consumers are just as divided over the gut health benefits of milk and meat.

  • Nearly half of those surveyed, 46.6 per cent, believed dairy milk was good for digestive health, while 30.6 per cent thought milk was bad for their digestion.
  • Just over half, 55 per cent, said they choose lactose-free foods for their digestive health (although only 15 per cent claim to be lactose-intolerant).
  • For meat, 27 per cent of respondents said it was good for digestive wellness, while 33 per cent believed it was bad.

“Contradictory consumer beliefs about which foods are good or bad for digestive health indicate how strongly attitudes about food and health are fragmented,” says Joana Maricato, research manager at New Nutrition Business. “Most people are adopting a wide variety of behaviours in relation to diet and health.”

This is a result of growing mistrust in official dietary guidelines, according to Maricato, and people’s desire to take back control of their diets. “Changes in dietary advice over the past 15 years have created consumer scepticism about the ‘expert’ opinions of dieticians and nutrition researchers, just at the moment that technology has made it easier for people to find dietary information for themselves,” Maricato adds.

Most respondents, 76 per cent, said they thought messages about diet and health were confusing. Asked where they learn about healthy eating and diet, most said they searched online and read blogs, while only 28 per cent asked a nutritionist or a dietician.

Carbohydrate research centre established in SA

A NEW research laboratory will explore the potential benefits of complex carbohydrates that include natural immune system enhancers and high quality cosmetics.

Adelaide Glycomics in South Australia was launched today and is a collaboration between the University of Adelaide and Agilent Technologies Australia Pty Ltd.

It will be the largest research centre of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will host cutting edge research in the field of glycoscience (the study of structure and function of glycans).

Director of Adelaide Glycomics Vincent Bulone said complex carbohydrates were critical in every area of biology and were vital in the production of more high function foods.

“We want to turn this into the centre of gravity for carbohydrate analysis in the southern hemisphere and we already have a lot of international collaboration from industry to do a lot of applied research with high potential in a whole range of sectors and industries,” he said.

“Carbohydrates are the most abundant molecules on earth but almost the most complex and heterogeneous. They are also the least understood.

“Because of this we cannot control very easily the properties of the application products we develop and to do this we need to understand the structure and biological properties – with this facility we will be able to do that.”

Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients and are the most important source of energy in the human body.

Adelaide Glycomics will serve as a hub for national and international collaboration in the field of complex carbohydrates across multiple industries.

Some of the potential benefits the centre will explore include new texturing agents for food, creating bioplastics, new drug delivery systems, helping control the composition and quality of wines, producing hair gels and cosmetics, and developing biosensors.

“You can use carbohydrates as a metric and modify them with biomolecules that can be used as sensors. You can use them to couple as protein receptors for sensing pollutants that bind to proteins in polluted water,” Professor Bulone said.

“There is carbohydrate research already happening in Australia, but what we want to do here is have something really comprehensive and world class equivalent to the only other centre of its kind in the world in Georgia, USA.

“The other thing we will do is organise training for the future leaders in R&D in Australia in that area which is going to constantly expand and our society is growing more towards green chemistry, green materials, sustainability, converting waste into products.”

Agilent’s Academia and Collaborations Manager for the South Asia Pacific and Korea region David Bradley said the company was proud to work with the University of Adelaide.

“This collaboration underscores the importance Agilent places on academia, working together to boost scientific outcomes that will provide economic and societal benefits,” he said.

“We have since developed many spectroscopy-based laboratory instruments, and continue to be committed to working with researchers across various industries to develop new applications from insight to outcome.”

Pure Blonde gets a carb make over

Pure Blonde, the original low carb beer, has had a makeover, now boasting an even lower carb content.

 Called ‘Pure Blonde Ultra Low Carb’, it’s a lager that contains 80% less carbohydrates than regular beer. 

According to Carlton & United Breweries, with 30% less calories than a regular beer; and 50% less calories than wine (per mL), it is “the perfect tipple for men and women who live a healthy balanced lifestyle.”
The first ultra low carb, lower calorie, and low gluten beer on the market, Pure Blonde Ultra Low Carb Lager contains no artificial additives or preservatives, the brewer said.