Washington: A recent study has revealed that the health effects of a particular food product cannot be determined on the basis on the individual protein, fat and fibre content, instead it should be evaluated with other item eaten at the same time.
According to the University of Copenhagen researchers in Denmark, the composition of a food can alter the properties of the nutrients contained within it, in ways that cannot be predicted on the basis of an analysis of the individual nutrients.
Yoghurt and cheese have a different and more beneficial effect on bone health, body weight, the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, than would be expected on the basis of their saturated fat and calcium content.
First author Tanja Kongerslev Thorning said that when we eat, we do not consume individual nutrients, we eat the whole food – either alone or together with other foods in a meal. It is therefore, obvious that we should assess the food products in context.
There are interactions between the nutrients in a food that are significant for its overall effect on health.
Thorning explained that almonds, which contain a lot of fat, but release less fat than expected during digestion, even when chewed really well. The effects on health of a food item are probably a combination of the relationship between its nutrients and also of the methods used in its preparation or production. This means that some foods may be better for us or less healthy than is currently believed.
The expert panel behind these conclusions consists of 18 experts in epidemiology, food, nutrition and medical science.
Discussions focussed on dairy products and on how the complex mixture of nutrients and bioactive substances, such as minerals and vitamins, can affect digestion and ultimately change the overall nutritional and health properties of a particular food.
Researcher Arne Astrup concluded that the example of cheese is good to illustrate that a food’s health effects cannot be judged by single nutrients.
Astrup added that all the positive effects are due to a complex interaction between beneficial bacteria, minerals and bio-active cheese ingredients.
The findings appeared in journal of Clinical Nutrition. (ANI)