A high-fat/sugar diet leads to the formation of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) in body tissues. AGEs cause damage and inflammation and are also absorbed from the diet particularly from processed foods. We are interested in how dietary AGEs contribute to diet induced conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline.
Current research in my laboratory is focused on investigating damaged proteins/advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in the diet.
During food processing AGEs are formed as the result of the Maillard reaction and are absorbed by the body in the course of digestion. AGEs are associated with the metabolic syndrome and dementia. We aim to identify foods high in AGEs and test the effects of these foods on sensitive measures of metabolic health and cognition in human intervention studies.
In addition we are investigating the role of processing methods in improving food quality e.g. avoiding prolonged heat treatment of dairy products known to increase AGE formation. We are also determining the potential of phytochemicals incorporated into processed foods to ameliorate these negative metabolic outcomes.
This research could lead to the development of new functional foods and improvements to existing food products. It will also provide health professionals and the public with better information on how changes in diet can be beneficial.
This research is part of Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme funded through the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) division to advance the evidence base in the development of rural affairs, food and environment policies.
Course Coordinator for PU5035 Fundamentals of human nutrition and metabolism