The University of Reading
is participating in a landmark study to identify the best dietary strategies to reduce heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
The results of the study will be used to inform public health policy for the prevention of heart disease, and may provide valuable information to enable food producers and manufacturers reformulate their products to make them healthier and to develop new foods.
The £2.7m four-year study, one of the largest of its kind in the world, is funded by the Food Standards Agency and led by MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge (MRC-HNR), who will work with scientists at the University of Reading, Imperial College London, Kings College London (KCL) and the University of Surrey.
The research team will look at the impact of changes in the amount and composition of fat and carbohydrate on the chances of developing a collection of risk factors linked to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
The global incidence of these risk factors, collectively known as the Metabolic Syndrome, is soaring. They include obesity, raised blood pressure and abnormal blood fat levels and affect up to a quarter of adults in the UK.
In most cases, development of the Metabolic Syndrome is caused by eating too much of the wrong kind of foods and taking too little exercise. People who eat food rich in saturated fat found in meat and dairy products, tend to be at greater risk of developing the Metabolic Syndrome, but less is known about foods that may help to reduce the risk.
Dr Julie Lovegrove, lead researcher from the University of Reading, said: "Scientific studies on the optimum dietary strategy for reducing the risk of the metabolic syndrome are limited.
"This important project will contribute to the evidence on the type and quantity of fat and carbohydrate in the diet that is effective at reducing the risk of the metabolic syndrome. Implementation of such dietary strategies could lead to reductions in the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes in the UK population." http://www.rdg.ac.uk