evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

Posts Tagged ‘food’

State of the art of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food: A tool for nutraceuticals addition to foodstuff

In Under-nutrition on June 1, 2013 at 8:25 am

by Santini A, Novellino E, Armini V, Ritieni A.

Food Chem. 2013 Oct 15;140(4):843-9


Therapeutic foodstuff are a challenge for the use of food and functional food ingredients in the therapy of different pathologies. Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) are a mixture of nutrients designed and primarily addressed to the therapy of the severe acute malnutrition. The main ingredients of the formulation are powdered milk, peanuts butter, vegetal oil, sugar, and a mix of vitamins, salts, and minerals. The potential of this food are the low percentage of free water and the high energy and nutritional density. The high cost of the powdered milk, and the food safety problems connected to the onset of toxigenic moulds on the peanuts butter, slowed down considerably the widespread and homogenous diffusion of this product. This paper presents the state of the art of RUTF, reviews the different proposed recipes, suggests some possible new formulations as an alternative of novel recipes for this promising food.

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Nutrition for a Better Tomorrow: Scaling Up Delivery of Micronutrient Powders for Infants and Young Children

In Under-nutrition on April 19, 2013 at 10:55 am

Results for Development Institute

By Kanika Bahl, Emilia Toro, Claire Qureshi, and Pooja Shaw

Click to download the summary or the entire document.



Development, acceptability, and nutritional characteristics of a low-cost, shelf-stable supplementary food product for vulnerable groups in Kenya

In Uncategorized, Under-nutrition on October 15, 2012 at 8:14 am

 Kunyanga, Catherine; Imungi, Jasper; Okoth, Michael; Vadivel, Vellingiri; Biesalski, Hans Konrad

Food & Nutrition Bulletin, Volume 33, Number 1, March 2012 , pp. 43-52(10)


Background. Food-based approaches have been advocated as the best strategies to curb hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. The use of low-cost, locally available, nutritious foods in the development of supplementary foods has been recommended.

 Objective. To develop low-cost food supplements using different traditionally processed local foods, consisting of cereals, legumes, nuts, fish, and vegetables, to meet the nutrient requirements for vulnerable groups in Kenya.

 Methods. Four food supplements were developed and evaluated by taste panel procedures. The product containing amaranth grain, pigeon pea, sweet potato, groundnuts, and brown sugar was found to be the most acceptable supplement. Evaluation of nutritional composition, shelf-life, and cost analysis of the acceptable supplement was carried out to assess if it could satisfactorily provide more than 50% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) of the basic nutrients for vulnerable groups.

 Results. The acceptable supplement contained 453.2 kcal energy, 12.7 g crude protein, 54.3 g soluble carbohydrates, 20.8 g crude fat, and 10.1 g crude fiber per 110 g. The micronutrient contents were 93.0 mg calcium, 172.4 mg magnesium, 2.7 mg zinc, 5.7 mg iron, 0.8 mg vitamin B1, 0.2 mg vitamin B2, 7.9 mg niacin, 100 μg folic acid, and 140 μg retinol equivalent per 110 g. The supplement also contained 21% total essential amino acid in addition to appreciable levels of palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, and α-linolenic fatty acids. The shelf-life study showed that it could be stored in different packaging materials (polythene bags, gunny bags, and kraft paper) at 26°C without deleterious effects on its chemical composition for up to 4 months. Cost analysis of the supplement indicated that the product could be competitively sold at US$0.812/kg (KES 65.50/kg).

 Conclusions. Locally available indigenous foods can be used in the formulation of acceptable, low-cost, shelf-stable, nutritious supplementary foods for vulnerable groups.

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(Chinese trial:) β-Carotene in Golden Rice is as good as β-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children

In Under-nutrition on September 20, 2012 at 8:46 am

Guangwen TangYuming HuShi-an YinYin WangGerard E DallalMichael A Grusak, and Robert M Russell

Am J Clin Nutr September 2012 



Background: Golden Rice (GR) has been genetically engineered to be rich in β-carotene for use as a source of vitamin A.

Objective: The objective was to compare the vitamin A value of β-carotene in GR and in spinach with that of pure β-carotene in oil when consumed by children.

Design: Children (n = 68; age 6–8 y) were randomly assigned to consume GR or spinach (both grown in a nutrient solution containing 23 atom% 2H2O) or [2H8]β-carotene in an oil capsule. The GR and spinach β-carotene were enriched with deuterium (2H) with the highest abundance molecular mass (M) at Mβ-C+2H10. [13C10]Retinyl acetate in an oil capsule was administered as a reference dose. Serum samples collected from subjects were analyzed by using gas chromatography electron-capture negative chemical ionization mass spectrometry for the enrichments of labeled retinol: Mretinol+4 (from [2H8]β-carotene in oil), Mretinol+5 (from GR or spinach [2H10]β-carotene), and Mretinol+10 (from [13C10]retinyl acetate).

Results: Using the response to the dose of [13C10]retinyl acetate (0.5 mg) as a reference, our results (with the use of AUC of molar enrichment at days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 after the labeled doses) showed that the conversions of pure β-carotene (0.5 mg), GR β-carotene (0.6 mg), and spinach β-carotene (1.4 mg) to retinol were 2.0, 2.3, and 7.5 to 1 by weight, respectively.

Conclusions: The β-carotene in GR is as effective as pure β-carotene in oil and better than that in spinach at providing vitamin A to children. A bowl of ∼100 to 150 g cooked GR (50 g dry weight) can provide ∼60% of the Chinese Recommended Nutrient Intake of vitamin A for 6–8-y-old children. This trial was registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00680212.

Feel free to suggest web sites which debate the results from this study. Thanks. fil

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Literature Review and Institutional Analysis: Toward an Integrated Approach for Addressing Malnutrition in Zambia (IFPRI)

In Under-nutrition on August 28, 2012 at 8:09 pm

by Jody Harris and Scott Drimie

IFPRI Discussion Paper 01200 – August 2012



Due to the predominance of direct, specific interventions in nutrition for development, the health sector tends to own nutrition, with interventions customarily implemented through health programs. That the agriculture sector should also be a vehicle for improved nutrition is intuitive, but this sector often delivers neither good nutrition nor food security to the most vulnerable in the population. The complex and multisectoral nature of malnutrition may explain why it has not been effectively addressed, even though we know many of the solutions; intersectoral action is critical to addressing this complexity, but to date there is no consensus on how intersectoral solutions are best implemented or institutionalized. This review brings together experiences from across Sub-Saharan Africa in order to draw out recommendations for improved intersectoral implementation going forward, and assesses how these findings apply specifically to the Zambian context.

The experiences reviewed suggest three broad barriers to intersectoral collaboration for nutrition: low political commitment and mobilization; sector-bound organizational structures and weak coordinating bodies; and lack of human resources and capacity. Key lessons for improved intersectoral implementation include the role of advocacy in framing the problem in context and highlighting mutual gains for different sectors, to create the political will and working space for nutrition action; the importance of organizational arrangements, including convening or coordinating bodies with multisectoral credibility to facilitate mobilizing and resourcing power; and the importance of building not only technical but also strategic capacity to manage multisectoral relationships for improved nutrition outcomes. Ultimately, these solutions will have to be tailored to country contexts.

Zambia is an ideal candidate for a country that could make a significant impact on its malnutrition problem. With the emergence of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement in the country, nutrition has received some high-level political attention, and the multi-sectoral nature of nutrition is recognized in overarching development policies and strategies. However, political attention has not moved into concrete action, and nutrition strategies, policies, and plans are essentially wish lists noting best practice, confined mainly to the health sector, created with substantial input from external actors, and without the backing of political commitment, budgetary or human resources, or capacity; implementation of these grand ideas is severely lacking. Several vital but attainable processes would improve intersectoral coordination for nutrition in Zambia and enable its potentially strong policy to be implemented across sectors. These include strategic lobbying for real political and social commitment to nutrition in sectors outside of health; strengthening the National Food and Nutrition Commission both in terms of its power to convene the different actors and the strategic capacity of its leadership; and improved technical training outside of core nutrition competencies in nutrition workers in general. These recommendations are interlinked; one cannot happen without the other, and all are necessary but not sufficient to improve the nutrition situation in Zambia. Movement should start in all areas at once, and the high-level momentum created by the SUN movement is an opportunity, providing the potential for cross-sectoral dialogue and increased resources, that should not be missed.

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The evolution of human adiposity and obesity: where did it all go wrong?

In Over-nutrition on August 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm

by Jonathan C. K. Wells

Dis. Model. Mech.September 2012, vol. 5; no. 5; pages: 595-607

(download the entire paper)


Because obesity is associated with diverse chronic diseases, little attention has been directed to the multiple beneficial functions of adipose tissue.

Adipose tissue not only provides energy for growth, reproduction and immune function, but also secretes and receives diverse signaling molecules that coordinate energy allocation between these functions in response to ecological conditions. Importantly, many relevant ecological cues act on growth and physique, with adiposity responding as a counterbalancing risk management strategy.

The large number of individual alleles associated with adipose tissue illustrates its integration with diverse metabolic pathways. However, phenotypic variation in age, sex, ethnicity and social status is further associated with different strategies for storing and using energy. Adiposity therefore represents a key means of phenotypic flexibility within and across generations, enabling a coherent life-history strategy in the face of ecological stochasticity.

The sensitivity of numerous metabolic pathways to ecological cues makes our species vulnerable to manipulative globalized economic forces. The aim of this article is to understand how human adipose tissue biology interacts with modern environmental pressures to generate excess weight gain and obesity.

The disease component of obesity might lie not in adipose tissue itself, but in its perturbation by our modern industrialized niche.

Efforts to combat obesity could be more effective if they prioritized ‘external’ environmental change rather than attempting to manipulate ‘internal’ biology through pharmaceutical or behavioral means.

Find other posts related to obesity on this blog.


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Context-specific choice of food aid items (USAID)

In Under-nutrition on August 12, 2012 at 10:22 am

(click directly on the flowchart for an enlarged view)

In a recent document (2011), USAID, in collaboration with the UN Global Nutrition Cluster, UNHCR WFP and other organizations, suggest which type of programme and food commodities are more adequate.

However, it was concluded that there is no one food product that can meet every kind of programming goal, and no one programming approach that fits all needs.

The same panel  developed decision trees and few flow charts to help policy makers and donors in taking more informed decisions about programmes and choice of food-products.

The original program guidance is available here, whereas another version of the same, visible above, was adjusted in one chapter of my PhD thesis.

Open Source: a spread sheet application for planning, calculating and monitoring the Nutritional Value of food

In Under-nutrition on August 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

The planning, calculation, and monitoring application for food assistance programmes, NutVal 3.0 has an expanded database of commodities and products, and new population sub-groups to use for asssessing the adequacy of food assistance. NutVal is designed to run on Excel 2003 and later versions.

Download the most recent version of NutVal

NutVal was developed UNHCR, WFP, IGH/UCL and Global Nutrition Cluster.

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This blog hosts other posts related to the use of nutritional software.

Book – “Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity Directions and solutions for policy, research and action”

In Under-nutrition on August 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

from the FAO web site in collaboration with Bioversity International an interesting book was recently launched.

(download the entire pubblication)

“This book presents the current state of thought on the common path of sustainable diets and biodiversity and addresses the linkages among agriculture, health, the environment and food industries.

“The alarming pace of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation and their negative impact on poverty and health makes a compelling case for re-examining food systems and diets. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop and promote strategies for sustainable diets, emphasizing the positive role of food biodiversity in human nutrition and poverty alleviation.

“Sustainable Diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.

“The contents of this book represent the presentations given at the International Scientific Symposium on Biodiversity and Sustainable Diets, organized by FAO and Bioversity International and held at FAO, Rome, from 3 to 5 November 2010.”

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The origin of Guideline Daily Amounts and the Food Standards Agency’s guidance on what counts as ‘a lot’ and ‘a little’

In Over-nutrition on July 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm

by Mike Rayner, Peter Scarborough and Carol Williams

download the entire paper from Public Health Nutrition: 7(4), 549–556 (2003).

Objective: This paper provides the rationale for the Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) for fat, saturated fat and other nutrients that appear on food labels in the UK. These GDAs are provided voluntarily by manufacturers and retailers and were developed to help people make better use of nutrition labelling – the format of which is prescribed by the European Union’s nutrition labelling directive. The paper also describes the basis to some Rules of Thumb for what counts as ‘a lot’ or ‘a little’ of fat, saturated fat and other nutrients, in an individual food.

Design: The paper gives the background to, and purpose of, the GDAs and Rules of Thumb and explains how they were calculated. It briefly describes their subsequent usage by food producers and others.

Results: Both GDAs and the Rules of Thumb first appeared in a leaflet developed by the authors and published in 1996 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. GDAs for fat, saturated fat and energy were adopted subsequently by the Institute of Grocery Distribution and then by many retailers and some manufacturers. The Rules of Thumb for fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium have recently been republished in some leaflets published by the Food Standards Agency in the UK.

Conclusions: GDAs and Rules of Thumb may provide useful ways of helping consumers make sense of nutrition labelling. The current GDAs and the Rules of Thumb could usefully be updated in the light of recent developments

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