CSIRO research assesses the impact of foods on the body to help the food industry develop products with substantiated health benefits.
Your health and wellbeing
We are helping to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians by assisting the food industry in bringing foods with substantiated and functional health benefits to the market.
17 January 2011 | Updated 2 July 2012
Defining the Problem
Australia faces several health and wellbeing challenges over the coming decades. The proportion of people classified as overweight and obese is increasing across all age groups, with a greater distribution amongst people who are economically disadvantaged.
Type 2 diabetes has also increased considerably over the past 20 years and is predicted to become a leading cause of disease in the near future.
Lifestyle factors such as different foods and diets and low-levels of physical activity are major contributors to these diseases, which are placing a considerable burden on Australia's health and welfare systems.
CSIRO's research investigates the impact of foods on our bodies, using genomic approaches to measure the effects on our DNA.
Nutrigenomic and epigenetic research methodologies are being employed to identify the optimum levels of nutrients and how the human body metabolises them.
CSIRO has a fully integrated pre-clinical and clinical substantiation science capability.
This research stream also evaluates the perception of food using sensory-based scientific techniques, which will assist us in developing healthier foods that are accepted by a broad spectrum of the population.
CSIRO has a fully integrated pre-clinical and clinical substantiation science capability, providing the foundation for research that will validate health outcomes of foods and dietary patterns.
This program is distinctive because of its scope, encompassing the substantiation continuum from discovery, to compositional analyses of food in the laboratory, through to end stage clinical intervention studies.
CSIRO has a proven level of impact in the health domain, including:
- research at our Clinical Research Unit in Adelaide led to the development of the higher protein, low fat CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, which has helped more that half a million Australian’s to lose weight
- clinical trials were used to substantiate the health benefits of BARLEYmax, a grain developed by CSIRO with high levels of resistant starch and fibre. Products made with BARLEYmax were proven to offer significantly higher levels of fibre with improved indices of bowel health compared to similar whole-wheat foods.
- the genome health and nutrigenomics project developed reliable techniques for assessing DNA damage in human populations. This research led to the establishment of Reach100, a clinic offering new approaches to preventative and anti-ageing medicine.
Current research projects include:
- working with the food industry to develop healthier products with reduced salt, sugar and saturated fats, and developing novel methods of delivering ingredients while maintaining the sensory properties that consumers prefer.
- implementing a full-continuum substantiation capability, which will provide scientifically validated evidence of the health benefits of food components and ingredients, with special focus on protein and its metabolism.
- using nutrigenomic science to develop dietary reference values for genome health, investigating the role of the gut microbiome and the creation of personalised diets to maintain health during different life stages.
Read more about CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences.