It is now unequivocally established that diet and health are two sides of the same coin. Almost all of the major risk factors for morbidity and mortality including non-communicable diseases (NCD), obesity and nutrient deficiencies could be directly attributed to poor diet quality. Therefore the importance of good nutrition is axiomatic, and dietary approaches may be the most economical and sustainable strategy for long-term health and wellbeing. Dietary patterns are shifting globally towards one that is high in fat, refined sugars and processed foods, and low in fibre, and is largely responsible for the escalating levels of NCDs. The principle challenge is devising realistic and sustainable strategies for curtailing this trend that are also accordant with the modern socioeconomic milieu.   

There is good evidence to show that eating plant foods confer significant health benefits, both by improving general nutritional status and through the effects of functional constituents. Despite public health advice, plant food consumption is still low in many medium and high-income nations. The magnitude of its impact on health and wellbeing is highlighted by the WHO which lists low fruit and vegetable intake within the top ten risk factors for global mortality. My present research focuses on devising novel food-based strategies for increasing fruit and vegetable intakes, and studying the impact of functional foods and constituents on health.  

Research focus

My research interests lie in the food-nutrition interface, and how food-related factors influence nutrition and health. The structural and compositional configuration of a food defines its physical and nutritional properties, and therefore foods could be made healthier through their modulation. I am particularly interested in studying the utility of food reformulation and functional foods as tools for improving the nutritional and health status of humans. As a human nutritionist specialising in intervention studies my work largely involves the execution of randomised controlled trials for elucidating the health effects of food systems.  

My present research focuses on studying the clinical effects and bioavailability of plant foods and functional constituents. Specifically, my work is looking at the metabolic impact of foods reformulated for improved health, and the effects of plant products on NCD-related metabolism and energy balance.

Publications
  • Raikos, V., Duthie, G. & Ranawana, V. (2017). 'Comparing the efficiency of different food grade emulsifiers to form and stabilise orange oil-in-water beverage emulsions: Influence of emulsifier concentration and storage time'. International Journal of Food Science and Technology, vol 52, no. 2, pp. 348-358.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1111/ijfs.13286
  • Raikos, V., McDonagh, A., Ranawana, V. & Duthie, G. (2016). 'Processed beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) as a natural antioxidant in mayonnaise: Effects on physical stability, texture and sensory attributes'. Food Science and Human Wellness, vol 5, no. 4, pp. 191–198.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.fshw.2016.10.002
    [Online] AURA: processed_beetroot_beta_vulgaris_L._as_a_natural_antioxidant...
  • Raikos, V., Neacsu, M., Duthie, G., Nicol, F., Reid, M., Cantlay, LL. & Ranawana, V. 'Proteomic and Glucosinolate Profiling of Rapeseed Isolates from Meals Produced by Different Oil Extraction Processes'. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1111/jfpp.13060
  • Ranawana, V., Campbell, F., Bestwick, C., Nicol, P., Milne, L., Duthie, G. & Raikos, V. (2016). 'Breads Fortified with Freeze-Dried Vegetables: Quality and Nutritional Attributes. Part II: Breads Not Containing Oil as an Ingredient'. Foods, vol 5, no. 3, 62, pp. 1-14.
    [Online] DOI: 10.3390/foods5030062
    [Online] AURA: foods_05_00062.pdf
  • Ranawana, V., Raikos, V., Campbell, F., Bestwick, C., Nicol, P., Milne, L. & Duthie, G. (2016). 'Breads Fortified with Freeze-Dried Vegetables: Quality and Nutritional Attributes. Part 1: Breads Containing Oil as an Ingredient'. Foods, vol 5, no. 1, 19, pp. 1-13.
    [Online] DOI: 10.3390/foods5010019
    [Online] AURA: foods_05_00019.pdf
  • Kaur, B., Ranawana, V. & Henry, J. (2016). 'The Glycemic Index of Rice and Rice Products: A Review, and Table of GI Values'. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, vol 56, no. 2, pp. 215-236.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2012.717976
    [Online] AURA:
Additional activities
  • Member of the Rowett Human studies management committee
  • Member of the Rowett Ethics Panel
  • Course coordinator- Nutrition and Health (MSc Human Nutrition, University of Aberdeen)
  • Member of the Editorial Board- Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, British Nutrition Society