A nutritional biochemist from the United Kingdom has said the digestion of food nutrients, simple as they may sound, is a complex science best appreciated through different disciplines such as Food Science, Nutritional Sciences, Gastroenterology and Immunology, among others.
Dr Myriam Grundy, from the Institute of Food Nutrition and Health, University of Reading, made the observation when she delivered a presentation on The Structural organization on plant based food, to postgraduate students and staff of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences on May 23, 2019, at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). The presentation touched on food digestion, the various current models used in the study of food digestion and Dietary fibre.
While food structure and composition influences nutrient release and its subsequent digestion, Dr. Grundy encouraged more dietary fibre ingestion saying, it improves digestive tract functions, notably nutrient bioavailability which includes gastrointestinal (GI) digestion, absorption, metabolism, tissue distribution, and bioactivity. She further noted that dietary fibre boosts bioavailability which includes, enzymatic decomposition and utilization of foodstuffs, and energy production.
Dr. Grundy warned that not all types of dietary fibre have the same benefits on gut function and metabolism but even the same source of fibre may elicit wide variations in physiological behavior in different people.
Prof. Willis Owino, a lecturer in JKUAT’s Department of Food Science and Technology, urged the students to take full advantage of the seminar saying it was the University’s expectation that they would use the learnt skills to analyze local food stuff especially indigenous vegetable pointing out that the
techniques were still emerging trends in Africa.
“We expect that the students will analyze our indigenous vegetable using this technique and avail the data to the public in order to access maximum nutritional value,” said Prof. Owino.
The seminar is part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) supported project titled Developing a Network to Improve Productivity and Nutritional value of Kenyan Grain Amaranth, a collaborative research project between the University of Reading, JKUAT and Technical University of Mombasa.