• Anne Nilsson has conducted research on how diet can prevent imbalance in the body for a long time.
    Anne Nilsson has conducted research on how diet can prevent imbalance in the body for a long time.

Recipe for success: Breed friendly bacteria with the right food!

Obesity is an increasing problem and the health care costs for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases are rocketing. At the Antidiabetic Food Centre, researchers are developing new preventive foods.

Metabolic syndrome – obesity, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood fats and insulin resistance – is becoming increasingly common in the Western world. Anne Nilsson, a Doctor of Applied Nutrition, who works at the Antidiabetic Food Centre (AFC) in Lund, has spent many years researching how diet can prevent this disturbance in the body and has taken a particular interest in how different types of fibre-rich food affect the bacteria of the large intestine. Researchers seem increasingly convinced that there is a connection between disturbed bacterial flora and lifestyle diseases.

“We must feed our gut bacteria with the right food. Too much saturated fat has a negative impact on the bacteria. Beans are a good food and it has been shown that fibre in barley, rye and oats lowers blood sugar and also stops inflammation. Certain fibre-rich foods also increase the levels of specific intestinal hormones, for example GLP-1, which affects feelings of satiety”, explains Anne Nilsson.

Eat to stay healthy

A healthy diet rich in special dietary fibre has been shown to have positive effects in a large-scale study in Dalby, a village near Lund. Some 40 slightly overweight individuals aged between 50 and 70 ate an ‘anti-inflammatory’ diet comprising a lot of beans, barley bread, products rich in oat fibre, vegetables, oily fish, cinnamon, bilberries and probiotic bacteria*. After just one month, the research subjects had lowered their dangerous cholesterol, blood fats, blood pressure and risk of blood clots.

“The study shows that a good diet can in some cases produce as good a result as medication”, says Anne Nilsson, explaining that she has just recently completed a study in which 40 middle-aged and over individuals ate 3 grams of fish oil a day for five weeks.

“The results showed that their blood pressure and blood fats were lowered and their working memory improved.”
At the Antidiabetic Food Centre, the aim is for the research to lead to new knowledge that can help develop new, healthy products. Anne Nilsson has developed a bread roll fortified with guar gum flour.

Compared with normal white bread, it produces a much lower, slower and more even blood sugar increase, and also increases the subjects’ cognitive performance.

“We have a lot of patents pending and hope that the industry will take an interest. It is important to us that the new knowledge we generate can lead to new antidiabetic foods. The more alternatives there are on the market, the easier it is for people to make intelligent choices.”

Text: Liselotte Fritz

Photo: Kennet Ruona

Published: 2013


Probiotic bacteria

Probiotic bacteria (Probiotics) are healthy intestinal bacteria.

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