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Volunteers invited to eat – in the name of research

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In-person studies at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health have restarted, with the first call for volunteers focused on studies exploring the impact of processed foods and sugar levels on our bodies and minds.

Human nutrition studies were halted during the pandemic. With a growing public awareness of the impact healthy eating can play in the severity of covid symptoms, as trials recommence researchers at the University of Aberdeen facility are hoping to hear from new participants willing to get involved.

The first of two studies will look at the impact eating concentrated bilberry or apple extract has on reducing the amount of sugar crossing into the blood and whether this may play a part in preventing the development of diseases like Type 2 Diabetes.

Researchers are looking for overweight but healthy men and post-menopausal women aged 40-75 years old to take part. Volunteers will be asked to consume a fruit bar made from dates and cashew nuts, along with the bilberry or apple ingredients, as part of their meal and have blood samples taken at set intervals afterwards to see the impact.

The second research project seeks to investigate whether Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), which commonly occur in processed foods, can affect sugar and lipid levels in the blood and potentially influence degenerative conditions such as diabetes and memory loss.

The Institute wants to hear from heathy men and women, aged 18-30 years old, who are either normal or overweight and non-smokers. The four-week study involves drinking a series of milkshakes containing different quantities of AGEs as part of a controlled diet.

Professor Baukje de Roos, Deputy Director of the Rowett Institute, said: “In other countries we have seen interest in participation in human nutrition studies increase due to the Covid-19 epidemic and we hope the same will be the case in Aberdeen.

“Consuming a healthy diet is key to staying healthy, especially in challenging times where we see Covid and the flu affecting many of us.

“Participating in nutrition intervention studies will ensure that we can continue to produce exciting scientific evidence on what we should – and should not – eat, in order to stay healthy.”

Volunteers should be local to the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area or willing to travel to the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health where the studies will be conducted.

Those interested in participating in the Fruit Bar study should contact n.hoggard@abdn.ac.uk or for the Shake up your AGE study contact fiona.campbell@abdn.ac.uk .

Further information on both the Fruit Bar and Shake up your AGE studies can be found here .