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 Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>