The potential for gastrophysics to aid in improving the world’s growing health/dietary issues.

Those researching gastrophysics are interested in studying people’s real-world food behaviours, and this gives us key insights into our relationship with food which may help us to develop foods which are not only healthier and more sustainable, but which do not mean compromising on perceived taste and flavour.

Obesity

Source: World Bank

For anyone who has been on a diet (for weight loss reasons or otherwise) will understand that much of the difficulty in sticking to a diet is psychological. So physically you can stop yourself from reaching for that extra biscuit or adding that extra spoon of sugar to your coffee, but sometimes the difficulty is more in the emotional and psychological issues that one must overcome to resist such temptations.

So with that said it is easy to see how having an understanding of food and eating perception/relationships can potentially help in solving some of the increasing health issues we are facing globally. Obesity and malnutrition have already become a serious issue on a global scale. Even in what are regarded as developed countries such as the UK a study published in The Lancet (Sept 2015) outlined:

Britain’s junk food diet has become the leading cause of death and ill-health, ahead of smoking. The research shows that 40 per cent of NHS resources are spent dealing with ills caused by potentially preventable lifestyle factors such as unhealthy eating habits, obesity, alcohol and smoking.

In the meantime Prof Kevin Fenton, the PHE director of Health and Wellbeing, said:

“As a nation we are eating far too many fats and far too much sugar. Our salt intake, although it has been decreasing over time, is still at a level where we would like to see further decreases because that is going to have a huge impact on cardiovascular disease, blood pressure and stroke outcomes. We do recognise that this is not going to be down to families alone. We have much greater gains that can be made in working with the industry.”

Most people needed to reduce their calorie intake, he said, given that 62 per cent of adults are overweight or obese. (see full article The Telegraph).

What is most concerning is

“Almost one in 10 children in Reception are obese – but what’s even more shocking is that by the time they leave primary school, this doubles to nearly one in five.” (see the full article BBC).

Now enough of the depressing outlook! On the next page we look at how Gastrophysics can potentially be a part of the solution in combating diet and nutrition related health issues.