Towards a vitality index? Predicting healthiness in food design

Modulating and mimicking intestinal functionality


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Would you like to boost consumers´ feeling of vitality by developing biofortified foods with slower digestion and tailored delivery of nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract?

Foods promoting digestive comfort, stable blood glucose levels and enhanced satiety boost the feeling of vitality. Degradation of food structure at different levels in the gastrointestinal tract influences largely the physiological responses to foods.

In this webinar we describe how we combine prediction of food digestion through the GI-tract with optimally chosen raw materials and food process development to promote consumer vitality.

 VTT combines structural and sensory analyses with in vivo mastication experiments and bolus analyses in order to link food properties with digestion. In vitro digestion models are used for predicting postprandial responses. For example, we have shown that bioavailability of protein from plant materials can be improved by bioprocessing. In addition, viscosity-forming oat fibre can be used to improve satiety promoting properties of biscuits and beverages. The VTT colon model reveals microbial metabolites bioavailable from diets rich in dietary fibre and phytochemicals. For instance, we have developed tailor-made fibres – even from wood – with good techno-functional properties and a slow fermentation rate in the colon model.

 Would it be possible to create a ’vitality index’ to describe food functionality by combining these predictive physiological models from mouth to colon?

 Key learning objectives:

  1. How to use in vitro digestion models to predict physiological responses
  2. How does food structure influence mastication and digestion?
  3. How does quality of dietary fibre modulate  physiological responses?


Presented by:

Kaisa Poutanen, Research Professor

Kaisa Poutanen, D.Sc. (Tech.) has extensive scientific experience, especially in connecting food technology and nutrition sciences, documented in over 280 reviewed international scientific publications, 54 book chapters and 8 patents. She is honorary doctor in food sciences at University of Helsinki and well-networked internationally, with numerous expert positions. Her current research is on plant food bioprocessing and supply chain, with special focus on providing more dietary fibre, protein and phytochemicals in innovative food concepts.

Emilia Nordlund

Research team leader Dr Emilia Nordlund, Research Team Leader, D.Sc. (Tech.) heads VTT’s Food Solutions team, targeting at more unrefined plant-based foods and at developing new product and processing concepts for an efficient and sustainable future food chain. She has expertise in bioprocessing, especially enzyme technology, of plant-based ingredients for food applications, such as bakery products. She is also developing ways to support healthy eating via new food delivery and eating concepts

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