News - March 29, 2018

‘Food hypes sometimes seem like a religion’

Kenneth van Zijl

Meinou Corstens did her doctoral research in the Food Process Engineering group. In one of the propositions that accompany her thesis, she suggests a link between food and religion.

11-nieuwe foto Stelling Meinou_Corstens DEZE GEBRUIKEN GRAAG.jpg

Meinou Noëlle Corstens will graduate with a PhD on 6 April for a study of the delayed release of fats from microcapsules and the effect this has on food intake.

Proposition: You are what you believe you eat

‘I personally really enjoy eating tasty and healthy food. I’ve also noticed that friends and family are increasingly interested in health and food trends. But those hypes generally don't have a scientific basis. The trends are usually set by bloggers or vloggers. These days, you have a lot of organic shops and there are more and more shelves with organic products in the supermarket too.

“Organic” refers to the way in which the products are produced, taking animal welfare and the environment into account. That might be better for the planet but it doesn't necessarily mean the products are better for us. Organic chickpeas are not necessarily healthier than non-organic chickpeas. A packet of organic cookies made using organic cane sugar can still contain 45 grams of sugar for every 100 grams of cookies. Yet people often choose organic food because they think it's healthier.

Dietary hypes sometimes seem to have almost religious overtones in people who follow trends such as veganism, The Green Happiness and superfoods. Like people who believe in a supreme being and find this gives them direction and something to hold onto.

My research has nothing to do with hypes and everything to do with obesity. I developed a microcapsule that generates a feeling of being satiated in people who are overweight so that they eventually feel less need to eat.

Ha ha, no I'm not personally overweight. I gave birth to a baby boy nine months ago and I'm already back to my normal weight. I live healthily but I'm mainly lucky with my genes.’