Food phytochemicals matter for cardiometabolic health
|Partner Organization||Partner Country|
|IDIBAPS, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona||Spain|
|University of Parma||Italy|
|Chalmers University of Technology||Sweden|
|University of Alberta||Canada|
|King’s college London||UK|
1. Overall project description
FOODPHYT aims at raising awareness and understanding of the enormous potential of food phytochemicals to support the global fight against obesity and associated cardiometabolic diseases. Phytochemicals are small molecules synthetized by plants for their protection against aggressions. Over 1200 phytochemicals have been identified in commonly consumed foods, and every plant food contains a unique combination of several hundreds of phytochemicals. An explosion of research is demonstrating the health benefits of plant-based diets, specific plant foods and particular phytochemicals. For example, caffeine acutely improves cognitive function, cocoa flavanols protect vascular function and many food phytochemicals contribute to the prevention of diseases associated with aging and unbalanced diet, such as diabetes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, and some cancers.
The diverse food phytochemicals display varied effects on molecular targets. Their bioactivity often depends on everyone's capacity to metabolize them: phytochemicals are transformed in our tissues and by our gut microbes into derivatives called metabolites, which may have different bioactivity compared to the native compounds. The individuals' metabolic capacity is controlled by genetic and lifestyle factors. Data on bioactivities of food phytochemical metabolites are scattered in the scientific literature and challenging to evaluate. Some misleading information is also circulating due to an incorrect interpretation of scientific results or excessive marketing messages.
The first objective of FOODPHYT is to make available consolidated knowledge on metabolism and cardiometabolic health effects of food phytochemicals in an open-access database, compiling scientific data critically analyzed by an international consortium of experts. This database will fit the needs of many types of end-users, including the general public and health professionals.
Another crucial lever for a better consideration of phytochemicals is to improve our assessment of individuals' exposure to these compounds. The second FOODPHYT objective is to develop a reference analytical method, based on metabolomics, that allows covering a comprehensive range of food phytochemical metabolites in biofluids. FOODPHYT will also validate a panel of biomarkers of intake reflecting the consumption of all major plant foods. We will investigate associations observed between plant food intake biomarkers or specific food phytochemical metabolites present in biofluids with body weight and cardiometabolic outcomes in intervention and observational studies made available for FOODPHYT.
In the context of the expected transformation of the global food system towards an unprecedented increase of plant food consumption, there is a considerable potential for improving the nutritional quality of raw and processed foods as well as dietary advices, building on a better knowledge of exposure and health effects of food phytochemicals.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemics, activities have been delayed and although we made substantial progress, we consider that this is too early to communicate on the project results.
UNIPR, together with other FoodPhyt teams and external collaborators, have addressed one of the core activities of the project: mapping the metabolite profile of most of the families of phytochemicals. In detail, information on the pharmacokinetics and urinary excretion of hundreds of metabolites has been collected and are being implemented in the database PhytoHub.
We also made substantial progress for the validation of biomarkers of intake for 30 priority foods, and are developping a targeted method of analysis that will be inter-lab validated.
One achievement was the constitution of an Early Carrier Scientist group with >40 young scientists who meet (virtually) monthly for networking and for driving some transversal tasks for the project.
4.1 List of publications
|Authors||Title||Year, Issue, PP||Partners Number||Doi|
|Colin D Kay, Michael N Clifford, Pedro Mena*, Gordon J McDougall, Cristina Andres-Lacueva, Aedin Cassidy, Daniele Del Rio*, Nikolai Kuhnert, Claudine Manach*, Gema Pereira-Caro, Ana Rodriguez-Mateos*, Augustin Scalbert, Francisco Tomás-Barberán*, Gary Williamson, David S Wishart*, Alan Crozier||Recommendations for standardizing nomenclature for dietary (poly)phenol catabolites||10.1093/ajcn/nqaa204||Download|
4.2 Presentation of the project
|Target group||Authors||Means of communication||Hyperlink|
|Project participants||C. Manach (INRAE), FoodPhyt project overview, FoodPhyt Kick-off meeting, Paris, 3-4 Feb 2020||Presentation||Download|
|JPI Metadis scientists and stakeholders||C. Manach (INRAE), Presentation of the FoodPhyt project, JPI HDHL METADIS Mid-term symposium, Online, 5th October 2021||Online presentation||Download|
4.3 List of submitted patents and other outputs
|Patent licence||Partners involved||Year||International eu or national patent||Comment|