Development and testing of an algorithm to predict fruit and vegetable consumption

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Centre for Public Health

Abstract

A high intake of fruit and vegetables (F&V) may reduce the risk of disease, particularly heart disease. However, it is important that F&V intake is measured accurately when trying to work out whether increasing consumption of these foods will reduce the risk of disease. It is currently very difficult to measure F&V intake accurately, as standard methods used are imprecise. The introduction of a blood test to measure F&V consumption would be a significant development in nutrition research as it would allow researchers to make better estimates of F&V intake in the general population, and also lead to a better understanding of whether and how F&V reduce disease risk. We propose that, because F&V are diverse and complex foods with many biologically active compounds, that a single blood test is never likely to accurately reflect F&V consumption. As an alternative, we propose that the results of measuring a panel of compounds from a single blood test could be combined using statistical methods, and that this approach would lead to a more accurate estimate of F&V consumption. We will carry out a study where we feed healthy volunteers a known number of portions of F&V per day and will carry out these blood tests, to allow the testing of the statistical methods. We will then test the results of these statistical analyses in a series of F&V studies that have already been carried out where we know how many portions of F&V the participants were consuming in order to compare reported intake with the more objective blood results.

Technical Summary

Single biomarkers of fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption, such as vitamin C and certain carotenoids and flavonoids, have been proposed but associations between these compounds and F&V intake are relatively weak. We propose that, given the complexity of F&V, production of an algorithm based on a wide variety of bioactive compounds found in F&V (including those outlined above), might better predict F&V consumption. Predominant flavonoids and polyphenols will be identified through food analysis of a wide variety of F&V. A controlled feeding study (30 volunteers randomised to 2, 5 or 8 portions of F&V/day for 4 weeks) will allow development of the algorithm, and this will be tested in a number of F&V intervention studies (approximately 1300 blood/intake comparisons) and a cross-sectional population study (n=300). This project will therefore generate a biomarker of F&V consumption using blood-based analyses of a panel of bioactive compounds.

Publications

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Hamill L (2012) Analyses of a polyphenol aglycone profile in broccoli and carrots by LC-MS QToF in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

 
Description Inclusion of guidelines on the design conduct and reporting of human intervention studies to determine the health benefits of food (published in British Journal of Nutrition) in the Equator network - {JW}
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland Fellowship Scheme (Dr Charlotte Neville) - {JW)
Amount £180,000 (GBP)
Organisation Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Ireland
Start 10/2014 
End 09/2017
 
Description Department of Employment and Learning PhD studentship (Sarah Moore) - {JW}
Amount £70,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Sarah Moore 
Organisation Government of Northern Ireland 
Department Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland (DELNI)
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 09/2014
 
Description Food biomarkers in older adults: a metabolomics study
Amount £31,035 (GBP)
Organisation Queen's University Belfast 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 06/2019
 
Description NICHS Research Grant - {JW}
Amount £64,898 (GBP)
Organisation Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke Association (NICHS) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2013 
End 12/2014
 
Description RandD Office TRG Research Grant - {JW}
Amount £1,200 (GBP)
Funding ID Nitric oxide 
Organisation Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland (HSCNI) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2013 
End 06/2014
 
Description Sri Lankan government PhD studentship
Amount £48,900 (GBP)
Organisation Queen's University Belfast 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2019 
End 05/2022
 
Description Studentship from Petra University Jordan
Amount £90,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Jordan 
Sector Academic/University
Country Jordan
Start 10/2015 
End 09/2018
 
Description TILDA study, Trinity College Dublin - {JW} 
Organisation Trinity College Dublin
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our group is providing dietary assessment expertise to the TILDA study.
Collaborator Contribution The TILDA investigators have agreed to share data and biological samples to allow the assessment of dietary intake within their study and the determination of associations with ageing.
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description University of Aberystwyth - {JW} 
Organisation Aberystwyth University
Department Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to allow metabolomics-based analysis of samples collected as part of fruit and vegetable intervention study.
Collaborator Contribution Metabolomics-based analysis
Impact No outputs as yet - still in preparation.
Start Year 2013
 
Description "Gruelling Ordeals" public event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Around 60 members of the public attended an evening entitled "Gruelling Ordeals: the Irish Workhouse Diet, 1850-1950", organised by the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, QUB and held at Duncairn Arts Centre Belfast. I presented an overview of differences in the diet of those at the extremes of the socioeconomic spectrum then and now.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Atlas of Science article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Article entitled "Can taking part in a fruit and vegetable research trial improve longer term fruit and vegetable consumption and barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption in older adults?" written for the Atlas of Science (website started by scientists to promote the dissemination of scientific research).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://atlasofscience.org/can-taking-part-in-a-fruit-and-vegetable-research-trial-improve-longer-te...
 
Description Invited speaker, Nutrition Society conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited presentation "Use of biomarkers to assess fruit and vegetable intake", Nutrition Society Summer Meeting, Dublin 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Oral presentation, Translational Research Group meeting, Lesley Hamill - {JW) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Oral presentation; Translational Research Group meeting to 40 people; Analysis of nitric oxide in a randomised controlled trial which assessed intake of different portions of fruit and vegetables (2 or 8 portions/day) for four weeks; LL Hamill, C McMaster, CE Neville, AJ McGrath, CR Draffin, A McGinty, MC McKinley, JV Woodside.

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Poster presentation, International Congress of Nutrition - {JW} 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Poster presentation; Measuring fruit and vegetable consumption - use of combined or single biomarkers. JV Woodside, LL Hamill, IS Young, MC McKinley; International Congress of Nutrition, Granada, Spain, 16th-20th September 2013.

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Poster presentation, International Congress of Nutrition - {JW} 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Poster presentation; Analyses of polyphenol aglycone profile in fruit and vegetables by LC-MS QToF; LL HAmill, WC McRoberts, SD Floyd, MC McKinley, IS Young, JV Woodside; International Congress of Nutrition, Granada Spain, 16th-20th September 2013

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Poster presentation, Nutrition Society Irish Section meeting, June 2014 - {JW} 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Poster presentation; Nutrition Society Irish Section meeting, Coleraine, June 2014; Effect of increasing fruit and vegetable intake on nitric oxide status: a randomised controlled trial. LL Hamill, C McMaster, CE Neville, AJ McGrath, CR Draffin, A McGinty, MC McKinley, JV Woodside.

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Research stand at local food market as part of Northern Ireland Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Manned a research stand as part of Northern Ireland Science Festival at St George's market. Working with Royal Society of Biology, Biochemical Society and the Nutrition Society, as well as the Love Food Hate Waste campaign to put together a range of activities around nutrition and health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016