09 July 2012 | General, FA
This summer brings Olympic Games, health and food

Every four years, summer brings us the Olympic Games where athletes attempt to follow the Olympic motto ‘higher, farther and faster’. Watching the spectacle, one cannot help but wonder how they keep a healthy mind in a healthy body. One COST Action may have the answer…

While enjoying the XXX Olympiad in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012think of the invaluable relationship between food and human health – not only for the world’s top athletes in the variety of disciplines and from the 200 nations participating in the Olympics, but for all of us. COST Action INFOGEST does precisely that by studying digestion and the links between health and food - not only for sports professionals. Links between food and human health are a top research priority for Europe.

EU legislation, as advised by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), now demands proper scientific data on nutrition and health claims. A lot of data is being generated on the link between the food digestion and human health, and a significant effort continues to be expended separately in each EU country on optimising food for preventing the development of food-related diseases.

COST Action FA1005 ‘Improving health properties of food by sharing our knowledge on the digestive process’ (INFOGEST) is building a European network that will spread and improve current knowledge on food digestion.

The Action is building a pan-European scientific community around this topic and is gathering scientists from multiple disciplines – ranging from food science and nutrition to physiology, immunology and cell biology. This COST Action also aims to facilitate the transfer of new scientific advances to European food companies – both large groups and SMEs – in order to develop new functional foods and reinforcing their competitiveness in a growing world market.

In addition, this scientific network will promote harmonisation of the currently used digestion models – including validation with human data from different populations such as infants, the elderly, and – who knows? – maybe even couch potatoes watching the Olympic Games.

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