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The Diet and Gastrointestinal Health Research Group aims to understand the molecular, cellular, whole person and population-level mechanisms involved in gut health and the development and treatment of gastrointestinal disease. Research involves understanding the effect of diet on digestion, absorption, transit, microbiome and symptoms.
Group leader: Professor Kevin Whelan.
Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences
Lecturer in Nutrition & Dietetics
Senior Visiting Research Fellow
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Professor of Carbohydrate Biochemistry
Reader in Dietetics
Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry (KCL)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Professor of Dietetics, Head of Department of Nutritional Sciences
Dr Bajka, Prof. Butterworth and Prof. Ellis study the structure and properties of polysaccharides of biological interest, especially complex supramolecular bio-assemblies found in plant foods, namely starch and cell wall matrices (‘dietary fibre’). This work has been funded by grants from the BBSRC, MRC, FAO and Industry. Current projects include: (a) the molecular mechanisms of lipolysis, and amylase action on starch and starch-rich edible plants; and (b) the physiological mechanisms by which cell wall polysaccharides (e.g. cereal β-glucans, legume galactomannans) inhibit macronutrient bioaccessibility and digestion, and attenuate postprandial glycaemia, insulinaemia and gut hormone profiles (e.g. GIP). These mechanistic studies are of importance in evaluating the role of carbohydrates in the management and prevention of cardio-metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. An improved mechanistic insight of plant polysaccharides will facilitate the rational design of novel food ingredients and food products with enhanced medical or nutritional benefits (i.e. functional foods).
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 5-10% of the population and can be painful and debilitating for those who suffer from it. Researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences have led several key projects in the last decade investigating the use of the low FODMAP diet in IBS patients and the findings have been a much needed evidence base for the treatment to be recommended by the UK’s NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines.
FODMAPs: Nutrition research to improve lives for millions of IBS sufferers
The ICQC is a non-profit, worldwide organisation whose mission is to support, summarise and disseminate the science around dietary carbohydrate and health with a focus on quality and to harmonise the work of scientists from academia, industry and government. One of the main aims of this group is to organise meetings on dietary carbohydrate research. The activities that the ICQC focus on primarily are carbohydrate nutrition and health promotion.
Medical Research Council
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UKRI)
Helmsley Charitable Trust
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