Newsletter no. 1 – The healthy meal

The main goal of the project “Healthy meals and prevention of lifestyle diseases” is to study whether meals based on traditional Norwegian raw materials have the potential to prevent and treat lifestyle diseases.

The newly initiated research project is financed by The Research Council of Norway and will remain in force till the end of 2013.

The project is a multidisciplinary cooperation between the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) and Nofima.

In September 2010 an internal kick-off was arranged with representatives from the three cooperating partners. Plans and ideas from the various work packages (WPs) were presented and the scientists discussed how to achieve optimal interaction between the WPs.

In December 2010 the Norwegian food-sector were invited for an official kick-off in Stavanger. Approximately 30 persons participated. Tore Midtvedt, a medical microbiology specialist, gave a lecture on “Healthy food – aspects of intestinal microflora”. The WP leaders presented their research activities and representatives from the food companies Findus, Mills and Tine each gave a speech on what they expect from the project.

Institute of Gastronomy served a delicious lunch based on the same ingredients that the scientists will study during the project; barley, broccoli, salmon and low-fat dairy products.

Research focus
The project will focus on the increase in obesity and metabolic syndrome, and what the food industry can do to reverse this trend. The research focus will be on the meal as a whole, and possible interactions between various components in a meal. The project is divided into four work packages, focusing on the different stages of the value chain from raw food quality and processing to digestion and health effects.

Work packages:
WP1. Effects of processing
WP2. In vitro digestion
WP3. In vitro colon fermentation
WP4. Effects on the immune system

The goal is to help the Norwegian food industry to:

  • Develop products, semifinished products and readymade dinners which can be part of a tasteful and healthy diet that will prevent metabolic syndrome. Innovative products will be manufactured through careful processing retaining the nutritive value (high contents of fibre, antioxidants/polyphenols, unsaturated fat).
  • Convince the consumers that industrial processed food can be as nutritious as home made food.
  • Promote the use of regional products.

The project team:
Project leader: Bente Kirkhus, Nofima

WP leaders:
WP1 – Effects of processing: Jan Thomas Rosnes, Nofima
WP2 – In vitro digestion: Gerd Vegarud, UMB
WP3 – In vitro colon fermentation: Ida Rud/Ola Johnsborg, Nofima
WP4 – Effects on the immune system: Tor Lea, UMB
WP5 – Communication and technology transfer: Ida Synnøve Grini, Nofima

The project team wishes to keep all parties continuously informed on progress and achieved results of the project. Our aim is distributing a newsletter approximately every 6 months. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact our project leader Bente Kirkhus.

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