Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Seaweed could make junk food healthier

27.09.2005


Junk food could be made healthier by adding an extract of an exotic type of seaweed, say British scientists.



The highly-fibrous seaweed extract, alginate, could be used to increase the fibre content of cakes, burgers and other types of food which usually contain large amounts of fat and a low degree of healthy nutrients, say the team.

Scientists at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne publish their findings in the academic journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, in a paper detailing alginate’s many benefits to the body. They believe it will be a valuable weapon in the international battle against obesity, diabetes and heart disease and diseases such as bowel cancer.


The research paper examines the properties of a brown-coloured seaweed called Lessonia and Laminaria, found in the Far East, South America and parts of Norway and Scotland. The seaweed is processed in the laboratory to produce the extract, alginate, a carbohydrate compound which is a tasteless and odourless off-white coloured powder.

The paper shows that alginate has been proved to strengthen mucus, the body’s natural protection of the gut wall, can slow digestion down, and can slow the uptake of nutrients in the body.

Moreover, alginate is high in fibre and has been proved to be palatable and safe, and as such is already in widespread use by the food industry as a gelling agent, to reconstitute powdered foods, and to thicken the frothy head of premium lagers.

Studies have shown that eating high-fibre diets can help reduce the incidence of diseases such as bowel cancer. Good sources of fibre are fruit and vegetables, brown bread and cereals like bran flakes.

One of the research team, Professor Jeff Pearson, of Newcastle University’s Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, said: "We’re just not eating enough fibre, yet we need this to keep us healthy. The problem is that a lot of people don’t enjoy many of the foods that are high in fibre, like fruit and vegetables, yet to consume the recommended daily amount of fibre they would have to eat a lot of these types of foods.

"We believe it’s hard to change people’s habits and that the most practical solution is to improve the food they do eat. With a burger, for example, you would simply remove some of the fat and replace it with the seaweed extract, which is an entirely natural product from a sustainable resource. You’d have a healthier burger and it’s unlikely to taste any different.

"This compound can also be added to any number of foods, such as synthetic creams and yoghurts. With pork pies, one of my favourite foods, it could replace the gelatine which usually covers the meat, as the seaweed extract has gelling properties too."

Prof Pearson, who has already made loaves of bread containing the seaweed extract which passed the taste test with colleagues, added: "Bread is probably the best vehicle to reach the general population because most people eat it. Adding the seaweed extract could quadruple the amount of fibre in white bread.”

Prof Jeff Pearson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>