Browsing by Subject "Master's Programme in Human Nutrition and Food Behaviour"

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  • Jussila, Henriikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background: Migration has found to be associated with changes in eating habits. Typically, dietary acculturation occurs which means that the person adopts host country’s ways of eating. Previous studies suggests that dietary acculturation can have negative effects on person’s diet if the person adopts the host country’s way of eating processed foods that replace the traditional healthy foods of their own culture. The phenomenon is also reflected in other generations, with children and young people with a foreign background being found to eat more sweets and soft drinks than other peers. To promote the eating habits of families with children with a foreign background, a deeper understanding is needed of the factors behind eating habits. Ethnography offers an opportunity to increase understanding of everyday eating and produces descriptive data to complement traditional nutrition research. Objectives: The aim of this MS's thesis was to draw a picture of everyday eating in families with children and with a foreign background in Finland. The study participants were mothers with first- and second-generation foreign backgrounds and with different ethnic backgrounds. Methods: This was a qualitative study using an ethnographic design. The field of research was an open community space in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The data consisted of ethnographic interviews with mothers (n=23) and field workers (n=2), as well as participatory observations and pictures. The data was analyzed by coding and theming. The results were compared with the model of dietary acculturation created by Satia-Abouta and with previous literature. Results: The role of mothers in the food supply of families was central. They made a distinction between “everyday food”, “cultural food” and “Finnish food”. Everyday food was something easy and fast, while cultural food required time and expertise. Some of them prepared cultural food as everyday food, as it was a means of maintaining cultural heritage. Except for fruits, vegetables and vegetarian dishes played a smaller role in mothers’ stories than animal-based products (meat, chicken, fish) and carbohydrate-containing products (rice, pasta, potatoes). Ethnic shops in the area were perceived as comprehensive, although many bought only (halal) meat there. The mothers' eating habits showed dietary acculturation, as they had begun to prepare “Finnish foods” such as mashed potato or lasagna that were new to them. It was important for the mothers that their children ate well, and children’s lack of eating emerged as a concern. The mothers balanced between what foods children liked and what they considered as good for the child. They had searched and received ideas and information regarding eating on the Internet and from a Finnish counseling center. Conclusions: This study brought understanding of everyday eating in families with children with a foreign background in Finland. The ethnographic approach made it possible to describe mothers’ own perspectives and was an effective way to recruit people with a foreign background. More ethnographic research is needed from the perspective of children and adolescents with foreign backgrounds to make their voices heard as well.
  • Tammi, Rilla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Added sugar intake has been associated with several adverse health issues, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. However, the knowledge of added sugar intake’s associations with overall diet quality and population subgroups is currently scarce. Our objective was to examine the association of added sugar intake with overall diet quality and population subgroups formed by sociodemographic factors, lifestyle factors, and obesity measures in the Finnish adult population. We also explored whether the association between added sugar intake and overall diet quality differs in the population subgroups. We applied the data from the cross-sectional population-based national FinHealth 2017 Study, and our analytical sample comprised 5094 Finnish adults. Dietary intake was assessed with a validated food frequency questionnaire and added sugar intake was estimated by a newly developed calculation method utilizing food item disaggregation based on the national food composition database Fineli ®. Overall diet quality was assessed by the modified Baltic Sea Diet Score (mBSDS), depicting a healthy Nordic diet. The analyses were established separately for women and men, and associations were calculated by chi-square tests and linear and logistic regression analyses, adjusting for age, education level, smoking, physical activity, BMI, and energy intake. Interactions were investigated with interaction terms and stratified analyses. Added sugar intake was inversely associated with education (P = 0.032 women; P = 0.001 men), smoking (P = 0.002 women; P < 0.0001 men), and physical activity (P < 0.0001) in both sexes. An inverse association was found with BMI in men (P = 0.003). Higher added sugar intake was associated with lower overall diet quality (P < 0.0001) and lower consumption of healthy perceived mBSDS components (P ≤ 0.001). An inverse association was also found with red and processed meat consumption in men (P = 0.011), while there was no association in women. Of the studied population subgroups, a significant interaction was found in physical activity subgroups in men (P = 0.005), the inverse association between added sugar intake and overall diet quality being stronger among active men compared with moderately active and inactive men. In conclusion, our findings suggest that high added sugar intake was associated with lower overall diet quality, lower education, and unhealthy lifestyle habits. The findings of this study can be utilized as background information when establishing new incentives to reduce added sugar intake or maintain a satisfactory intake level in the Finnish adult population. More research, especially longitudinal studies, is needed of added sugar intake’s associations with sociodemographic factors, lifestyle factors, obesity measures, and overall diet quality in the population and population subgroups.
  • Peltonen, Henna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background: Preschoolers suffer frequently from infections. Large group sizes and varying hygiene practices may enhance pathogen transmission within preschool settings. Preschool-attributable infections cause economic consequences for society, which is why identifying the related risk factors is of importance. One such may be diet. Appropriate immune defence requires sufficient intakes of energy, protein, polyunsaturated fat, dietary fibre, and numerous micronutrients, whereas excess sugar and saturated fat may be harmful. However, previous nutritional research examining preschoolers’ infections has mainly focused on probiotics. Little research has been done on the role of whole-diet in preschoolers’ susceptibility to infections. Aim: The present study aimed to investigate the associations of dietary patterns with common colds, gastroenteritis, and antibiotic courses among Finnish preschoolers. Methods: The study sample included 721 children aged 3-6 years attending the cross-sectional DAGIS survey. The parents reported retrospectively how many common colds, gastroenteritis, and antibiotic courses their children had experienced during the past year. Children’s food consumption was recorded using a 47-item food frequency questionnaire filled in by the parents. The parents also reported background factors of their children and family. The following three dietary patterns were identified based on the food consumption frequencies using principal component analysis: 1) sweets-and-treats pattern (high loadings of e.g. biscuits, chocolate, and ice cream); 2) health-conscious pattern (high loadings of e.g. nuts, natural yoghurt, and berries); and 3) vegetables-and-processed meats pattern (high loadings of e.g. vegetables, colds cuts, and fruits). Dietary pattern scores were calculated for each child to describe the strength of adherence to each identified dietary pattern. The distributions of the dietary pattern scores were divided into thirds that were labelled low, moderate, and high adherence groups. Negative binomial regression analysis was used to examine the associations between thirds of the dietary pattern scores and the prevalence of common colds and antibiotic courses. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the associations between thirds of the dietary pattern scores and a chance of experiencing at least one gastroenteritis. Results: Prevalence of common colds was lower in moderate and high adherences to the sweets-and-treats pattern compared to low adherence (PR=0.89, 95% CI=0.80-1.00; and PR=0.88, 95% CI=0.79-0.99, respectively) and higher in high adherence to the health-conscious pattern compared to low adherence (PR=1.13, 95% CI=1.01-1.27) after adjusting for age, sex, number of children living in the same household, frequency of preschool attendance, probiotic use, and the highest educational level in the family. Moderate adherence to the sweets-and-treats pattern was associated with a lower chance of at least one gastroenteritis (OR=0.63, 95% CI=0.44-0.92) and lower prevalence of antibiotic courses (PR=0.77, 95% CI= 0.59-1.00) compared to low adherence. No significant associations were observed between the vegetables-and-processed meats pattern and the infectious outcomes. Adjustments for the background factors did not modify the associations. Conclusion: The results were unexpected. The associations observed would suggest that favouring unhealthier foods but avoiding healthier foods was linked to better immunity, which is difficult to accept as true. Parents who were most health-conscious of their children’s diet might also have been more conscious of their children’s illness conditions than less health-conscious parents, which may explain the results. Further research with longitudinal designs is needed to determine whether dietary habits play a role in preschoolers’ susceptibility to infections.
  • Koponen, Kari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    BACKGROUND: Diet has a major influence on the human gut microbiome, which has been linked to health and disease. However, epidemiological studies on the association of a healthy diet with the gut microbiome utilizing a whole-diet approach are still scant. OBJECTIVES: To assess associations between healthy food choices and human gut microbiome composition, and to determine the strength of association with the functional potential of the microbiome. DESIGN: The study sample consisted of 4,930 participants in the FINRISK 2002 study. Food intake was assessed using a food propensity questionnaire. Intake of food items recommended to be part of a healthy diet in the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations were transformed into a healthy food choices (HFC) score. Microbial diversity (alpha diversity) and compositional differences (beta diversity) and their associations with the HFC score and its components were assessed using linear regression and permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA). Associations between specific taxa and HFC were analyzed using multivariate associations with linear models (MaAsLin). Functional associations were derived from KEGG orthologies (KO) with linear regression models. RESULTS: Both microbial alpha (p = 1.90x10-4) and beta diversity (p ≤ 0.001) associated with HFC score. For alpha diversity, the strongest associations were observed for fiber-rich breads, poultry, fruits, and low-fat cheeses. For beta diversity, most prominent associations were observed for vegetables followed by berries and fruits. Genera with fiber-degrading and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) producing capacity were positively associated with the HFC score. HFC associated positively with KO-based functions such as vitamin biosynthesis and SCFA metabolism, and inversely with fatty acid biosynthesis and the sulfur relay system. CONCLUSIONS: These results from a large and representative population-based survey confirm and extend findings of other smaller-scale studies that plant and fiber-rich dietary choices are associated with a more diverse and compositionally distinct microbiome, and with a greater potential to produce SCFAs.
  • Simpura, Lyyra (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background: Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are common diseases characterized by disturbing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in the absence of structural or biochemical changes in GI tract. Well identified group of compounds responsible for GI symptoms are FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols). Legumes contain α-galacto-oligosaccharides (α-GOS), unabsorbed, osmotically active and rapidly fermented fibres, known for colonic gas formation. The role of phytic acid (PA) and its effects on GI symptoms as complex-forming agent is not fully understood. These antinutrients can be removed by enzymatic treatments. However, usefulness of these treatments on reducing GI symptoms is not known. Aims: The aim of this research was to investigate whether two different enzymatic treatments of pea-based products have an impact on experienced GI symptoms. α-GOS and PA content was reduced in the test products. Material and methods: This was a 3–week randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled cross-over-designed study. Participants (n=26) were healthy males and females aged 21–70 who claimed to experience GI symptoms after consuming legumes. Each participant received weekly two portions of either α-galactosidase-treated, double-enzyme-treated or control, spoonable pea-based product. They reported severity of nine GI symptoms within 72–hour time period via web-based survey using visual analog scale (VAS). Maximum values, the time for experiencing the maximum values, maximum values in 8 time points and symptom sum scores were analyzed. To study differencies in GI symptoms caused by the study products, data was analyzed statistically using mainly non-parametric Friedman’s test. Dependence of baseline symptoms and symptom scores were examined using crosstabulation and analyzed statistically with Fisher’s exact test. Results: Participants’ median symptom scores were rather low throughout the intervention, indicating that the participants were after all not very sensitive for legume GOS. Maximum pain score was significantly higher with the double-enzyme-treated product compared to the control product (p=0,038). At time point 5 bloating score was significantly higher with the α-galactosidase-treated product than with the double-enzyme-treated product (p=0,051), and flatulence score was significantly higher with the α-galactosidase-treated product than with the control product (p=0,021). There were no statistically significant differencies in any other examined variables between the study products. Although there was a slight trend towards more severe symptoms with the enzyme-treated products compared to the control product. Conclusions: The enzyme-treated pea-based products were not better tolerated than the control product, but that may be due to the fact that the experienced GI symptoms were rather mild in general. There are some evidence on the use of α-galactosidase supplement to alleviate GOS-induced GI symptoms. In future, the products should be tested in specifically α-GOS- and/or PA sensitive population.
  • Suomi, Juho (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Introduction: Fitness athletes change their nutrition a week before competition during “peak week” in the hope of achieving a better physique in competition. There is little evidence of the benefits of peaking in fitness sports and current literature suggests that these peaking methods might even be harmful to athletes’ condition or pose a risk to their health. Aim of the study: The aim of this study was to investigate the nutritional strategies of fitness athletes during the peak week and the effects of these strategies on body composition, anthropometry, and hormonal markers. Materials and methods: Participants consisted of 6 female and 10 male fitness athletes preparing for the 2019 Finnish championships. The participants’ hormone levels (cortisol, estradiol, T4, FSH, T3, insulin, free testosterone, leptin, and ghrelin) were measured from blood samples collected before the beginning of the peak week and on the day after the competition. Body composition and anthropometric measurements (weight, fat mass, fat free mass, intracellular water, total body water, chest circumference, waist circumference, vastus lateralis CSA) were taken at the same time points. The energy and nutrient intake of the athletes was estimated based on self-reported food diaries. The associations between nutritional factors and changes in body composition and hormonal markers were investigated with regression analysis. Results: The competitors were found to significantly (p < 0,05) increase their energy intake, carbohydrate and sodium intake, and to decrease their protein intake when transitioning to peak week. During the peak week body weight, fat free mass, intracellular and total body water, waist circumference and vastus lateralis CSA increased statistically significantly (p < 0,05). A statistically significant decrease was found in cortisol, estradiol, free testosterone and ghrelin levels, whereas T4, FSH, T3, insulin, and leptin levels increased significantly (p < 0,05). Conclusions: We found that fitness athletes change their nutrition a week before the competition in the hope of achieving a better competition physique. The changes in energy and nutrient intake were not associated with changes in body composition, but they may be connected to hormonal changes. The hormonal changes detected during the peak week indicate that athletes start to recover from a long period of energy restriction, which may lead to a better competition physique.
  • Serasinghe, Nithya (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The socioeconomic status (SES) of the family is associated with the food consumption of the children and this association is mediated by different mediators. This study had two aims; firstly, to determine the associations between the determinants of SES and children’s food consumption, secondly to assess the mediating effects of food availability and parental role-modeling of the above associations. Parental educational level and relative income of the family were studied as the determinants of SES. Children’s food consumption was measured under two categories; fruits & vegetables (FV) and sugary food & drinks (SFD). Data was obtained from the baseline data collection of the DAGIS intervention study in 2017 which was conducted in 32 preschools in Salo (N=29) and Riihimäki (N=3). A FFQ filled by the parents was used to determine children’s food consumption. Information on parental educational level, family income, food availability, and parental role-modeling was extracted from the self-administered parental questionnaire. Parents of 698 preschool children aged from 3 to 6 years filled the parental questionnaire. Spearman’s correlations tests were conducted to determine the associations between SES determinants and children’s food consumption. Mediating roles of food availability and parental role-modeling were assessed through mediation analysis using PROCESS version 3 macro for SPSS. Parental educational level was a statistically significant predictor of children's FV consumption. Family relative income did not predict FV or SFD consumption of the children. The multiple mediators model revealed that the association between the parental educational level and children’s consumption of FV was partially mediated by three mediators: the availability of FV, parental role-modeling of FV, and the availability of SFD. The association between the relative income of the family and children's consumption of FV was fully mediated by two mediators: home availability of FV, and parental role-modeling of FV. This study suggested parental educational level is a better predictor of children’s food consumption compared to family income. The mediation roles of food availability and parental role-modeling should be taken into account in developing interventions to improve the FV and SFD consumption of children in Finland.
  • Ansung, Kim (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Understanding the relationship between plant-based diets and mental health has become an important issue from a public health perspective, not only for researchers but also in everyday life. In particular, this study focused on university students since more and more students have been limiting their animal-based foods intake. At the same time, there has been a global trend of increasing mental disorders and distress among university students. Poor mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, could associate with students' academic achievement. This study examined the connections between diet choice, mental health, and academic achievement. This study used cross-sectional data from the Student Health Survey 2016 by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS). Among 3029 participants (aged 18 to 35 years) from either academic universities or universities of applied sciences in Finland, the questions from the Index of Diet Quality (IDQ) were used to construct four different diet types: 67 vegans (2.2%), 281 vegetarians (9.3%), 291 semi-vegetarians (9.6%), and 2390 omnivores (78.9%). Mental health status was measured by using two indicators: self-reported diagnosed mental disorders (depression and/or anxiety) and the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), which screened minor psychiatric disorders. Academic achievement was measured by asking about perceived academic success. The logistic regression models were used in the main analyses. The two different mental health status were analysed with adjustment for potential confounding variables such as sociodemographic factors, health-related behaviour, BMI, and disease conditions. The academic achievement was analysed with adjustment for potential confounding variables such as sociodemographic factors, health-related behaviour, BMI, disease conditions, enrolment period, and right field of study. Also, this study further examined the association between food groups and academic achievement. The results showed that compared to the omnivorous diet, the vegetarian diet was associated with higher odds of diagnosed mental disorders (OR [95% CI]: 2.74 [1.80–4.16], p<0.001) and minor psychiatric disorders screened by GHQ-12 (OR [95% CI]: 1.68[1.22–2.30], p<0.001) after adjustment for all potential confounders. Although a positive relationship between fish consumption and academic achievement was found (OR [95% CI]: .88[.80–.96], p<0.01), there was no statistically significant association between diet types and academic achievement. In addition, higher sweets consumption was related to higher odds of being less successful than students had expected (OR [95% CI]: 1.08 [1.01–1.15], p<0.05). The results indicate that vegetarian university students are more likely to have lower mental health status than non-vegetarian students on average. In addition, academic achievement is associated with the consumption of specific food items rather than diet types. Overall, the findings suggest that vegetarian students should carefully monitor their mental health status. Also, students should be supported to improve their food choice and dietary quality for their academic achievement. The study results can be implicated in public health interventions to improve students' well-being among higher education students. In future research, it may be beneficial to apply more various classifications and measures of diet types and academic achievement and examine the temporal relationship between diagnosed mental disorders and the diet chosen.
  • Piipponen, Anna-Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Some diets strain the environment more than others and have disadvantageous effects on population health. Ecological impact of animal protein production is often particularly high; it bears about three quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions of food. Consequently, ecological impact of plant-based protein sources, pulses and nuts, is generally considered small. The food consumption varies between different sociodemographic groups, and unhealthy diets, that are significant exposers for many lifestyle diseases, are more common in certain population groups. To improve the population health and reduce the ecological impacts of food consumption, it is important to recognize the population groups whose diets reveal disadvantageous food consumption. Utilizing Finnish loyalty card data (LoCard-data), this study investigates the sociodemographic variables related to daily consumption of three separate protein sources: meat, milk products and plant proteins. Customer responses to a questionnaire on their food consumption preferences and demographics were used. The probability of consuming different protein sources on daily basis was obtained using logistic regression model. In other words, daily consumption of meat, milk products and plant-based protein sources was explained by the following independent variables: age, sex, education, income, household size and place of residence. Statistically significant association was found between the daily meat consumption and all the independent variables in both unstandardized and standardized models. In the unstandardized model, sex was not associated with daily consumption of milk products, and income was not associated with daily consumption of plant-based protein sources. However, in the standardized model, the association of the daily milk product consumption and sex became significant, whereas the association with education and urbanization level was not statistically significant. Association of the daily plant protein consumption with income and region was insignificant. In the standardized model, the probability of daily meat consumption increased with age, income and household size or when the respondent was male or had a low level of education. The probability of daily milk product consumption increased with age, income and household size or if the respondent was female. The probability to consume plant proteins on daily basis was in association with female sex, older age, having a higher education and a bigger household. The results are largely in line with other studies. However, contrary to most of the studies, the greater age was associated with daily consumption of all the examined protein sources. Future studies are needed to examine sociodemographic factors related to consumption of milk products and plant protein sources in total, but also related to consumption of different meat and milk products. Moreover, it is important to investigate the motives, attitudes and cultural meanings of the food choices as those cannot be captured with this approach. Differences in food cultures may impact on the results as well, which increases the need for additional research.
  • Sirkjärvi, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background. The interest in plant-based protein sources has increased due to environmental and health concerns. The ScenoProt intervention study was a 12-week controlled study consisting of three different omnivorous diet groups. Study group’s diets ANIMAL, 50/50 and PLANT consisted of 30%, 50% and 70% plant-based protein, respectively, with rest of the protein coming from animal-based sources. Objectives. The aim of this study was to see whether amino acid intakes differed between the diets and whether the indispensable amino acid requirements were met. The focus was to concentrate on studying the amino acids that were most limited in comparison to the requirement levels in the most plant-based group. Also, the main sources of amino acids were analysed from different food categories. Materials and methods. The ScenoProt randomised controlled intervention was performed in spring 2017. Altogether 136 healthy adult participants completed the 12-week study. Meat and dairy were partly replaced with cereals, nuts, seeds, and legumes in the PLANT and 50/50 groups. Fish and eggs were provided with equal amounts in each group. Amino acid compositions of food items were provided from different databases and combined with 4-day food records from the baseline and the end of the 12-week intervention. Differences between the diets were analysed with ANOVA. The amino acid sources were calculated from 17 different categories. Results. The intakes of protein and indispensable amino acids were highest in the ANIMAL group compared to the PLANT group (P<0.01). The requirements of indispensable amino acids were met, apart from the methionine intake in two participants (5%) in the PLANT group, who also had protein intake below the safe intake level. In the PLANT group, cereals became the main source of protein and all amino acids, and legumes the main source of lysine, whereas in the ANIMAL, meat was the main source of protein, methionine, lysine, and threonine, and milk the main source of valine and leucine. Considering all indispensable amino acids, the intake of valine in the ANIMAL and methionine in the PLANT and 50/50 groups were closest to the reference value. Conclusions. When plant-based protein sources were increased with the expense of animal-based sources, the main sources of protein and amino acids changed, but the sufficient indispensable amino acid intakes were mostly met. The sufficient protein intake could be considered somewhat more carefully in diets resembling Planetary Health diet to ensure methionine requirement. As the indispensable amino acid requirements were met in all the study diets when protein intake was above the safe intake level (0.83 g/kg), it is safe to replace animal-based sources with more plant-based sources.
  • Närvä, Sini (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Tiedekunta/Osasto: Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta Laitos: Elintarvike- ja ravitsemustieteiden osasto Tekijä: Sini Maria Närvä Työn nimi: Punaisen ja prosessoidun lihan osittainen korvaaminen palkokasveilla: vaikutus veren rasva-arvoihin ja kehonkoostumukseen terveillä työikäisillä suomalaisilla miehillä Oppiaine: Ihmisen ravitsemus- ja ruokakäyttäytyminen (Opintosuunta: Ihmisen ravitsemus) Työn laji: Maisterintutkielma Aika: Huhtikuu 2021 Sivumäärä: 63 sivua + 1 liite Tiivistelmä: Tausta: Sydän- ja verisuonitaudit (SVT) ovat merkittävin syy sairastuvuuteen ja kuolleisuuteen länsimaissa. SVT:n riskitekijöitä ovat ruokavalion rasvan laatu, veren korkea kolesterolipitoisuus (erityisesti LDL-kolesteroli), ylipaino, tupakointi, diabetes ja kohonnut verenpaine. Miehillä riski sairastua SVT:hin on naisia suurempi. Lisäksi miesten ruokavalio on usein laadultaan naisia heikompi, ja miesten punaisen ja prosessoidun lihan kulutus on liian runsasta suosituksiin nähden. Korvaamalla eläinperäisiä proteiinin lähteitä kasviperäisillä lähteillä voidaan vaikuttaa suotuisasti sydän- ja verisuonitautien riskitekijöihin. Tavoite: Työn tavoitteena oli tutkia, onko veren rasva-arvoissa, kehon painossa ja kehonkoostumuksessa eroja, kun ruokavalion punaista ja prosessoitua lihaa korvataan osittain ei-soijaperäisillä palkokasveilla. Tutkimushypoteesina oli, että punaisen ja prosessoidun lihan korvaaminen osittain palkokasveilla pienentää kokonais- ja LDL-kolesterolipitoisuutta sekä kehon painoa ja rasvamassaa. Menetelmät: Tässä tutkimuksessa käytettiin Papumies-interventiotutkimuksen aineistoa. Tutkittavat olivat 20-65-vuotiaita terveitä suomalaisia miehiä (n=102). Heidät satunnaistettiin kahteen eri interventioryhmään kuuden viikon ajaksi. Toinen ryhmä (liharyhmä) sai punaista ja prosessoitua lihaa ja niistä valmistettuja tuotteita 760 g/vko (25 % päivittäisestä proteiinin saannista). Toinen ryhmä (palkokasviryhmä) sai palkokasveja ja palkokasvituotteita (pääosin herneitä ja härkäpapuja) 20 % päivittäisestä proteiinin saannista sekä punaista ja prosessoitua lihaa 200 g/vko (5 % päivittäisestä proteiinin saannista). Ennen intervention alkua ja sen lopussa kerätystä paastoverinäytteestä analysoitiin kokonais-, HDL- ja LDL-kolesteroli sekä triglyseridipitoisuudet, ja lisäksi mitattiin tutkittavien pituus, paino, vyötärön- ja lantionympärys sekä kehonkoostumus. Ryhmien välisiä eroja näissä muuttujissa intervention loppupisteessä tutkittiin kovarianssianalyysillä käyttäen alkupisteen arvoja kovariaatteina. Tulokset: Alkupisteessä ryhmien välillä ei ollut eroa kolesterolipitoisuuksissa (pois lukien HDL-kolesteroli), painossa, vyötärön- ja lantionympäryksessä tai kehonkoostumuksessa. Intervention lopussa plasman kokonais- ja LDL-kolesterolipitoisuudet (p<0,001 ja p=0,001), kehon paino ja painoindeksi (p=0,031 molemmissa) olivat pienemmät ja HDL-kolesterolipitoisuus suurempi (p=0,030) palkokasvi-ryhmässä liharyhmään verrattuna. Triglyseridipitoisuudessa, vyötärönympäryksessä, vyötärö-lantio-suhteessa, rasvaprosentissa, rasvamassassa, rasvattomassa massassa tai rasvamassan ja rasvattoman massan indeksissä ei havaittu eroja ryhmien välillä intervention lopussa (p>0,05). Johtopäätökset: Punaisen ja prosessoidun lihan osittainen korvaaminen ei-soijaperäisillä palkokasveilla kuuden viikon ajan paransi veren rasva-arvoja ja vähensi painoa terveillä työikäisillä miehillä, mikä viittaa sydän- ja verisuonitautiriskin pienemiseen. Tätä tietoa voidaan hyödyntää suunniteltaessa toimenpiteitä terveellisemmän ja ympäristön kannalta kestävämmän ruokavaliosuosituksen laatimisessa väestötasolla. Avainsanat – Nyckelord – Keywords: Ravitsemus, ei-soijaperäiset palkokasvit, punainen liha, plasman lipidit, sydän- ja verisuonitaudit Säilytyspaikka – Förvaringställe – Where deposited: Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta, Elintarvike- ja ravitsemustieteiden osasto, Helsingin yliopisto Muita tietoja – Övriga uppgifter – Additional information: Ohjaajat: Suvi Itkonen, ETT, dosentti; Anne-Maria Pajari, apulaisprofessori
  • Petäjä, Pirita (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Johdanto: Fitnessurheilijoiden kilpailuihin valmistavan kausi kestää noin 2–6kk, jonka aikana he pyrkivät vähentämään kehon rasvamassan määrää ja ylläpitämään lihasmassaa. Ravitsemuksella on merkittävä rooli paitsi näiden kehonkoostumustavoitteiden saavuttamisessa myös urheilijan terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin ylläpitämisessä. Pitkään jatkuva energiavajeen seurauksena elimistö pyrkii saavuttamaan uuden homeostasian vähentämällä energiankulutusta muun muassa kilpirauhashormonipitoisuuksia säätelemällä. Tavoitteet: Tämän tutkimuksen tavoitteena oli tarkastella fitnessurheilijoiden ravinnon saantia ja kehonkoostumuksen muutoksia kilpailuihin valmistavalla kaudella sekä siitä palauttavalla kaudella. Lisäksi tarkasteltiin kilpailuihin valmistavan kauden vaikutusta kilpirauhashormonipitoisuuksiin. Menetelmät: Tutkimuksessa seurattiin 9 nais- ja 12 mieskilpailijan valmistautumista syksyn 2019 suomenmestaruuskilpailuihin. Heidän kilpailuihin valmistava kausi kesti keskimäärin 21 viikkoa, jota seurasi keskimäärin yhtä pitkä palauttava kausi. Verrokkiryhmässä oli 22 tavoitteellisesti harjoittelevaa miestä ja naista, jotka eivät laihduttaneet. Tutkittavilta mitattiin veren kilpirauhashormonipitoisuudet (T3 ja T4) ja kehonkoostumus (DXA) ennen kilpailuihin valmistavan kauden alkua, sen lopussa sekä 21 viikon palauttavan kauden jälkeen. Lisäksi tutkittavat täyttivät ruokapäiväkirjaa, jonka avulla arvioitiin energian- ja ravintoaineiden saantia. Ryhmien väliseen vertailuun käytettiin riippumattomien otosten t-testiä ja ajallisia muutoksia arvioitiin toistomittausten varianssianalyysillä. Lineaarisella regressioanalyysillä arvioitiin kilpailuihin valmistavan kauden lopun T3-pitoisuuksiin vaikuttavia tekijöitä. Tulokset: Kilpailuihin valmistavan kauden aikana tutkittavien energian- ja hiilihydraattien saanti sekä rasvamassan määrä ja T3-pitoisuudet laskivat merkittävästi (p-arvot <0,001). Kaikki arvot palautuivat keskimäärin ennalleen palauttavan kauden aikana rasvamassan nousun myötä. Regressioanalyysi osoitti, että kilpailukauden lopun T3-pitoisuutta selitti vahvimmin rasvamassan määrä (p-arvo <0,001). Lisäksi hiilihydraattien osuus oli naisilla, mutta ei miehillä, merkittävä tekijä (p-arvo 0,002). Johtopäätökset: Kilpailuissa vaaditun kehonkoostumuksen saavuttaminen tapahtui energian ja hiilihydraattien saannin laskemisella alle urheilijoille laadittujen suositusten. Painonpudotuksen myötä myös T3-pitoisuudet laskivat merkitsevästi. Hormonipitoisuudet näyttävät kuitenkin palautuvan 21 viikkoa kestäneen palauttavan kauden aikana, kun kehon rasvamassa palautuu lähtötasolle.
  • Gluschkoff, Tanja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Digitalization is part of a cultural change that can change people’s attitudes towards food and eating habits. Over the past decade the use of various mobile applications has increased both in people’s daily lives and in scientific research. However, from the health promotion perspective the previous studies have found that health and nutrition related mobile applications are not being used or evaluated in a versatile manner. This study examines the experiences of people who participated in a nutrition intervention at the City of Helsinki's health centers. The study examines participants’ experiences of using a MealLogger-application, its significance for the participants' food relationship and the changes experienced in their own food relationship. MealLogger is a digital food diary. The duration of the intervention was three months. It included group counseling by a nutritionist, weekly challenges and three meetings with the group. During the intervention participants actively used a digital food diary and photographed all the meals and snacks they ate during the day. The study uses a qualitative research approach. The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on the food relationship approach, including the dimensions of thoughts, emotions, senses, behavior and values. The research material consists of twenty thematic interviews. The study material was analyzed using thematic analysis and typification. Participants perceived the use of a digital food diary as positive and as a useful tool. The study identified two types of user experiences relating to the use of phone application: social and independent usage. Changes in eating habits were described in terms of developing a regular meal rhythm, reduction in portion size and reduction or substitution of certain foods, such as junk food or candy. The types of food relationships identified were based on values, behavior, emotions or information. Participants described the changes in food relationship as relationship becoming more relaxed or coherent. Some participants described having a more positive attitude towards a healthy diet. Some participants described not experiencing any changes in their relationship with food after using the digital food diary.
  • Harala, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Tausta: Ruokaympäristömme on muuttunut merkittävästi viimeisimpien vuosikymmenten aikana. On esitetty, että muun muassa suurentuneet pakkauskoot, aiempaa laajempi valikoima epäterveellisiä elintarvikkeita sekä näiden tuotteiden markkinointi on yhteydessä lasten ruokavalioon. Lisääntyneen ylipainon ja lihavuuden on selitetty johtuvan ruokaympäristössä tapahtuvista muutoksista. On myös ajateltu, että terveyden edistämisen tulisi kohdistua ympäristön, ei ainoastaan yksilön, käyttäytymisen muuttamiseen. Epäterveellisten elintarvikkeiden markkinointia koskevat rajoitukset on nähty lupaavana keinona ohjata lasten ruokaympäristöä terveyttä edistävämpään suuntaan. Päätöksenteko edellyttää luotettavia menetelmiä elintarvikkeiden ravitsemuksellisen laadun arvioimiseksi. Tavoite: Tutkimuksen tavoitteena oli arvioida suomalaisten lapsiperheiden tyypillisesti ostamien epäterveellisten elintarvikkeiden ravitsemuksellista laatua kolmella eri ravitsemusprofilointimenetelmällä. Lisäksi tutkimuksen avulla selvitettiin, kuinka hyvin ravitsemusprofilointimenetelmät erottelivat epäterveelliset elintarvikkeet niitä vastaavista terveellisemmistä vaihtoehdoista. Tutkimuksessa selvitettiin myös eri profilointimenetelmien yhtenevyyttä ja sitä, missä määrin eri profilointimenetelmillä saadut tulokset olivat keskenään eriäviä. Menetelmät: Tutkimuksen aineiston muodostivat 73 elintarviketta, jotka valittiin laajan suomalaisen ostodatan (vuosi 2018) perusteella niiden tuoteryhmien joukosta, jotka edustivat suomalaisten lapsiperheiden ostamia epäterveellisiä elintarvikkeita. Epäterveellisille elintarvikkeille valittiin omista tuoteryhmistä terveellisemmät vertailutuotteet. Aineistoon kuului lisäksi muutamia hampurilaisravintoloiden ruokia sekä referenssielintarvikkeita, kuten leipiä ja hedelmiä. Elintarvikkeet profiloitiin Nutri-Scorella, WHOEuro-mallilla sekä tätä tutkimusta varten kehitetyllä, suomalaisten ravistemussuositusten päivittäisiin saantisuosituksiin perustuvalla Findexillä. Vertailevat analyysit tehtiin tilastollisin analyysimenetelmien käyttäen SPSS 26 -tilasto-ohjelmaa. Tulokset: Eri ravitsemusprofilointimenetelmät arvioivat elintarvikkeiden ravitsemuksellista laatua melko yhtenevästi, mutta pieniä eroja niiden välillä havaittiin. Nutri-Score ja Findex olivat lähempänä toisiaan WHOEuron ollessa profilointimenetelmistä kriittisin. Eri menetelmät erottelivat epäterveelliset tuotteet terveellisemmistä vaihtoehdoista melko hyvin, mutta Findexin erottelukyky oli hieman Nutri-Scorea parempi johtuen osin Nutri-Scoren tunnistetusta ominaisuudesta profiloida systemaattisemin epäterveellisiä kuin terveellisiä tuotteita. Johtopäätökset: Jokaiseen ravitsemusprofilointimalliin liittyi sekä vahvuuksia että rajoituksia. Findex osoittautui tutkimuksessa lupaavaksi ja siihen liittyviä perusteita on tarkoituksenmukaista hyödyntää mahdollisesti olemassa olevien profilointimallien kehittämisessä ja yhteiseurooppalaisen ravitsemusprofilointimallin ja siihen perustuvan pakkausmerkinnän kehittämisessä. Markkinoinnin rajoittaminen tarjoaa mahdollisuuden vaikuttaa lasten ruokaympäristöön ja edelleen ruokavalion terveellisyyteen. Markkinoinnin rajoittamisella voidaan parhaimmillaan vähentää paljon lisättyä sokeria, suolaa, tyydyttynyttä rasvaa ja vähän terveyden kannalta hyödyllisiä ravintoaineita, kuten kuitua, sisältävien elintarvikkeiden osuutta lasten ruokavaliossa.
  • Keränen, Kerttu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    There are only few studies about diet of food pantry recipients or quality of their diet. Previous studies have found out that food pantry recipients are elder, more disadvantaged and in lower socioeconomic status compared to general population. The aim of this study was to find out from which food groups the daily diet of food pantry recipients consisted, do there exist different dietary patterns among the food pantry recipients, and are sociodemographic factors, experienced wealth and vulnerability associated with the diet. In addition, experiences about convenience of food donated in food aid for cooking and possibilities to prepare warm meals among food pantry recipients, and association between convenience, possibilities and diet, were studied. This study was a cross-sectional study and the data consisted of participants in the project called From food pantry to participation (Ruokajonosta osallisuuteen -hanke). Diet was studied by using the Diet and lifestyle questionnaire form that included 7-sections - food frequency questionnaire. Closed questions were applied to study experiences about convenience of food donated in food aid, possibilities to prepare meal and economic situation. T-tests and variance analysis were used to study differences between the groups, and regression analysis were used to study associations between diet and background factors. Principal component analysis was used to detect dietary patterns. The study population consisted of 137 participants from different parts of Finland. 114 participants were included in the final analysis. 45 % were men and 78 % were retired. There was a need for improvements in the diet. Less than half of the participants consumed vegetables, berries and fruits daily. Dairy products, dietary fats and grains were eaten daily by every third. 58 % ate fish 1–2 times per week. Eggs and meat were eaten 3–5 times per week by 33 %, and daily by 23 % respectively. 53 % of food pantry recipients felt that food donated in food aid was convenient for cooking. 83 % cooked often or quite often. In this study two dietary patterns were detected; traditional dietary pattern and vegetable-fish -based dietary pattern. The most strongly loaded food groups in the traditional dietary pattern were grains, dairy products, dietary fats, and meat and eggs. Fruits, berries, vegetables and fish were most strongly loaded in the vegetable-fish -based dietary pattern. There was one group that preferred vegetable-fish -based dietary pattern. Factors positively associated with the dietary patterns in this group were older age, female sex, living in an owner-occupied flat, experienced good wealth and low vulnerability, non-smoking and low consumption of alcohol. Convenience of food donated in food aid for cooking and possibilities to prepare a warm meal were not significantly associated with the dietary patterns. The study population represented general food pantry recipients. However, the results cannot be generalized as the population was small. The study indicates that the diet of food pantry recipients needs improvements, and there exist groups with different eating patterns among them. More research is needed to find out if there was an association between the diet of food pantry recipients and the way food aid was implemented in practice. Diet should be studied more precisely in the following studies. Young people and persons having risk of exclusion, and consequences of COVID-19 pandemic for food aid work and food pantry recipients should be studied also.
  • Bäck, Sari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Background: The EAT-Lancet Commission proposed a healthy dietary pattern from environmentally sustainable food production systems to guide food system transformation. The EAT-Lancet reference diet comprises mass-based food consumption targets (both point estimates and ranges) for different food groups. Baseline assessments are required to inform the planning of the national food system transformation. Therefore, it is important to identify gaps between the targets and local food consumption. Objectives: The present study aimed to assess the current state of Finnish pre-schoolers’ diet by comparison with the reference diet’s food group level targets. Specifically, the Finnish pre-schoolers’ food consumption was estimated in the food groups of the reference diet. Methods: Data from 807 children (3- to 6-year-olds, 48% girls), were collected in the Increased Health and Wellbeing in Preschools (DAGIS) cross-sectional survey in 2015–2016. Food records, covering from one up to five complete days, were kept by parents and pre-school personnel. Detailed information on foods, such as ingredients of composite dishes and product names for packed foods were recorded. Food record data were decomposed into ingredients by AivoDiet dietary software. Industrial products, such as sausages and biscuits, were manually decomposed into ingredients by estimating the shares of ingredients using product information available on a retailer’s online database and food manufacturers’ webpages. Formulas were developed to calculate the consumption of added sugars. The consumption of dairy products was converted into milk equivalents using factors from the literature. Finally, the ingredients were manually classified into the reference diet’s food groups. The target amounts were set (separately for two age groups) in grams by proportioning the published target amounts (that assume a 2500 kcal diet) to the children’s average reported energy intake. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) method was used to calculate the daily average food consumption and the proportion of children who met targets in each food group. Results: Compared to the point estimate targets, on average, the daily food consumption for 3- to 4-year-olds (n 462) and 5- to 6-year-olds (n 345) differed for vegetables (60% of the target in both age groups); legumes and nuts (below a tenth of the target); whole grains (less than a third of the target); red meat (approximately 5.5 times the target); dairy foods (approximately 5 times the target); tubers (over 2.5 times the target) and added sugar (close to double of the target). Discussion: To enable comparison with the EAT-Lancet reference diet’s food group level targets, an approach for disaggregating children’s food record data was developed. To achieve a more sustainable diet and comply with the EAT-Lancet targets, the Finnish pre-schoolers would need to consume more plant-based foods i.e. vegetables, legumes and nuts, and whole grains, which should replace the refined grains. The consumption of animal proteins, especially red meat and dairy products, would need to be decreased, as well as the consumption of tubers (mainly potato) and added sugar.
  • Karjalainen, Saana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The purpose of this thesis was to find out how a brain-friendly dietary intervention affects plasma metabolites. The data was from the BraVe (Brainfood interVention) study conducted by Fazer, Nokia, Nightingale and Afekta Technologies. 88 working aged men and women underwent an 8-week diet-switch trial: first 4 weeks consisted of a control diet similar to a typical western diet and the following 4 weeks of an intervention diet which emphasized brain-friendly foods. Lunch was controlled and the subjects received nutritional guidance as well as breakfast cereals and healthy snack options to take home. Dietary intake was measured with food diaries and transformed into FFQ-like data and the subjects were divided into four groups based on their diet compliance. Also weight, blood glucose, insulin, CRP, cholesterol and plasma metabolites were measured during the trial. The metabolite samples were analysed with liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and identified with MS-DIAL. Correlations between metabolites and food groups were determined with SPSS. There were 99 significantly correlating (FDR p<0.1) metabolites: phospholipids, phosphatidylcholines, amino acids and acylcarnitines. 42 metabolites remained unknown. The strongest correlations were found between the intake of red meat and PC(O-16:0/20:4) (=0,494, FDR-p<0,001) and LysoPC(O-16:0) (=0,423, FDR-p<0,001) and between the intake of full grain products and 3,2-dihydroksyfenyylivalericacid (=0,418, FDR-p<0,001). Compliance to brain-friendly diet affected the strength and significance of the metabolite correlations . The results of this thesis are similar to those previously found in metabolomics which suggests that the results are valid and the trial successful. These results provide also additional information in the field of metabolomics which can be useful in further research.
  • Pietilä, Tuulia Kreetta Matilda (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Background Endogenous formation of possibly carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds may partly explain the association between red and processed meat and colorectal cancer. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of partial replacement of red and processed meat with legumes on the fecal total and heme-originated N-nitroso compounds (NOC) in healthy working-aged Finnish men. Methods The study was a 6-wk parallel design randomized clinical trial with two groups following either a diet supplemented with red and processed meat or a diet supplemented with legumes and red and processed meat. Total and heme-originated NOCs were analyzed from fecal homogenates using Ecomedics CLD 88. Statistical analyses were conducted using IBM SPSS Statistics 27. Independent samples t-test and Chi-Square test were used to assess the differences between the intervention groups at the baseline. Differences in total and heme-originated NOCs between the intervention groups at the endpoint were analyzed using ANCOVA (adjusted for baseline values). For correlations, Pearson correlation was used. Results 102 men completed the study. No significant differences between the groups were reported at the baseline. At the endpoint, fecal concentrations of total NOC (p < 0.0001) and heme-originated NOC (p < 0.0001) were lower in the legume and red meat group than in the red meat group. A moderate negative correlation between stool volume and NOC concentrations was observed. Conclusions The results indicate that even a partial replacement of red and processed meat with legume products can significantly reduce the total and heme-originated NOC concentrations in feces and potentially reduce the risk for the development of CRC.
  • Haverinen, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Verenpainetta ja kolesterolia alentavien lääkkeiden käyttö yleistyy väestön lisääntyvän lihomisen vuoksi. Rationaalinen lääkehoito on keskeinen hoitokeino etenkin perinnöllisen alttiuden sydän- ja verisuonitauteihin omaavilla henkilöillä. Lääkehoidon lisäksi on tärkeää huomioida elintapamuutoksen rooli ruokavalion, liikunnan, tupakoinnin ja alkoholin käytön osalta, koska kohonneet verenpaine- ja kolesteroliarvot johtuvat ensisijaisesti epäterveellisistä elintavoista. Aikaisemman tutkimuksen perusteella lääkkeitä käyttävät eivät muuta elintapojaan terveellisemmiksi ja heidän vyötärönympäryksensä on suurempi verrattuna lääkkeitä käyttämättömiin. Tämän vuoksi on tärkeää tutkia verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeitä käyttävien ruokatottumuksia ja muita elämäntyylejä. Verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeitä käyttävien ruokavalintoja on tutkittu kansainvälisesti jonkin verran, mutta suomalaisten näitä lääkkeitä käyttävien ruokavalinnoista ei ole kovinkaan paljon tutkimustietoa saatavilla. Tämän pro gradu -tutkielman tarkoituksena oli selvittää ruoankäytön eroavaisuuksia verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeitä käyttävillä ja niitä käyttämättömillä 62-86 vuotiailla päijäthämäläisillä vuonna 2012 ja vastata kysymyksiin: Millaiset ruokatottumukset verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeitä käyttävillä on verrattuna niitä käyttämättömiin? Onko verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeiden käytöllä yhteys ruokatottumuksiin ikääntyvillä päijäthämäläisillä? Onko verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeiden käytöllä yhteyttä ruokavalion terveellisyyteen? Tutkielman tulokset antavat lisää tietoa verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeitä käyttävien ruokatottumuksista ja elintavoista. Tarpeeksi kattavan tutkimuksen ja vahvan tutkimusnäytön avulla voidaan luoda suosituksia ja ohjata lääkkeitä käyttäviä parempiin valintoihin, niin yksilöllisellä kuin yhteiskunnallisella tasolla. Tietoa voidaan mahdollisesti jatkossa hyödyntää kun suunnitellaan elintapaneuvontaa lääkityksen aloitusta suunniteltaessa, sen aloituksen yhteydessä ja säännöllisesti lääkkeiden käytön aikana. Pro gradun tutkimusväestönä oli päijäthämäläinen väestökohortti, joka muodostui kolmesta ikäluokasta (tutkimuksen alkaessa iältään 52–56, 62–66, ja 72–76 vuotta (n=2 815) Tutkimushenkilöt täyttivät elintapoja ja terveydentilaa koskevia kyselyitä. Tutkielmassa hyödynnettiin Ikihyvä -Päijät-Häme 2012- tutkimuksen aineiston ruokafrekvenssikyselyn ja lääkkeidenkäyttö kysymysten vastauksia. Otos oli (n=969), joista naisten osuus oli 54% ja miesten 46%. Verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeitä käyttävien ja käyttämättömien ravitsemuksen tarkastelun työkaluksi muodostettiin ravitsemussuositusten mukainen terveellisen ruokavalion pisteytys. Pisteytys mittaa ainoastaan ruokavalion kokonaisuutta, joten tutkimuksessa tarkasteltiin lisäksi siihen valittujen elintarvikeryhmien käyttöä yksi kerrallaan. Ruokatottumusten lisäksi tarkastelussa olivat muista elintavoista liikunta, tupakointi ja alkoholin käyttö. Aineistoa tutkittiin Khiin neliötestillä ja varianssianalyysillä, joissa tutkittiin lääkkeenkäyttöryhmien eroja ruokatottumuksissa. Tämän tutkimuksen perusteella ei voida todeta, että verenpaine- ja kolesterolilääkkeiden käyttö tai toisaalta käyttämättömyys olisi yhteydessä suositusten mukaisiin ruokatottumuksiin. Tilastollisesti merkitseviä eroja ruokatottumuksissa ei ollut lääkkeenkäyttöryhmien välillä. Terveellisen ravitsemuksen ja elämäntyylin avulla on mahdollista vaikuttaa ikääntyvien sydän- ja verisuonitautiriskiin. Sekä lääkitystä, että elämäntapainterventioita tarvitaan ikääntyvillä kohonneen verenpaineen ja veren kolesterolitason alentamiseksi
  • Jouhikainen, Kaisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Objectives The term natural is highly ambiguous and there is no clear definition, what actually is natural food. Nowadays the term is widely used in the food industry, for example in product packaging and marketing. However, as there is no common understanding for the term or any regulations of its use, it could cause confusion amongst consumers. This research was set out to explore consumers’ perceptions of natural food. The main objective of this study was to form an understanding of the meanings consumers give to natural food and how they categorize foods as natural and unnatural. Methodology This research is qualitative in nature. To assess the research topic, ten thematic, semi-structured interviews were conducted with urban Finnish women aged 23-32 years. They were generally open to new foods, hence less neophobic. As part of the interviews a categorization task was presented, in which the participants were asked to categorize 30 different protein sources from natural to unnatural. The purpose of the categorization task was to assist in revealing how consumers categorize foods, or more precisely protein sources, as natural and unnatural. Key findings The main findings were that consumers categorize foods as natural based on three various aspects: 1) processing, 2) additives and 3) packaging. Furthermore, three different meanings were found to be associated with naturalness of food: 1) healthiness, 2) familiarity and 3) locality. The study offers contributions to research concerning the perceived naturalness of food and the definitions of naturalness. It presents insights of the consumer group of urban Finnish women, who are generally open to trying new foods linking the previous research on the perceived naturalness of food to a new consumer group and cultural context. The study offers some interesting insights especially for developers of novel food products. It also offers possibilities for future research; for example there seems to be noteworthy differences between the perceived naturalness of plant-based and animal-derived protein sources. Additionally, the research reveals there is a need to further study the value conflicts concerning the perceived naturalness of food and other ideals.