Nutrition Society – Dietary Assessment Methods Workshop coming to Edge Hill – can’t wait!

When Sue Crompton, Nutrition & Health student at Edge Hill University sent a message to ‘The Nutrition Society’, on Facebook, asking them to bring one of its prestigious events ‘Up North’ she didn’t think they actually would.  Well they have! 

Sue & Val already looking forward to the Nutrition Society event

The event coming to Edge Hill is the ‘Dietary Assessment Workshop’ which will be taking place on 26th March 2015. (Book by 5th Feb to take advantage of the early bird booking fee of £200).

  • Sue has had a lifelong interest in nutrition and exercise and says she’s really looking forward to the day and is delighted to be helping organise the event along with Kathleen Mooney our Senior Lecturer. 

The workshop will bring together current knowledge and practice on dietary assessment methods, with a particular focus on choosing correct assessment techniques for optimising dietary intake data measurement.

The practical, guided sessions will enable delegates to trial computational analysis of dietary data and include one-to-one drop-in discussions with experts in the field.

The workshop is open for all with a Bsc level of knowledge in dietary assessment methods.

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As for me, I’m really looking forward finding out about the new approaches to dietary assessment. This is a great skill to have and it’s brilliant that it’s on our doorstep.

Well done Sue, you did great!


Sue -Nutrition Society - local organiser

Sue – Nut Soc Local Organiser

Registration fees:

All prices to attend are inclusive of training materials, lunch, refreshments, wi-fi and use of computer.

  • The cost for early bird booking is £200 (inc. VAT) valid until 5 February 2015.

From 6th Feb the cost will be:

  • Members of the Nutrition Society: £260 (inc. VAT)
  • Non-members: £330 (inc. VAT) Valid from 6 February 2015
    You can book this workshop online

Aims and objectives:

  • Select appropriate dietary assessment methods to address research aims
  • Understand how to minimise data collection error whilst estimating portion sizes
  • Understand limitations about food composition databases
  • Learn about new approaches in dietary assessment methods
  • Familiarise themselves with energy adjustment in nutrition surveys
  • Appreciate the application of dietary pattern methodology in nutrition surveys

Continue Professional Development (CPD) credits

This event has received Association for Nutrition (AfN) CPD Endorsement.
– See more at: See more at:

Edge Hill - University of the year 2015

Edge Hill – University of the year 2015

‘Food Matters Live’ event – Brilliant!

This week I was lucky enough to spend 3 days in London at ‘Food Matters Live’ the new annual cross-sector forum bringing together professionals from nutrition, health, government, food manufacturing, retail and food service.

Great fun meeting up with Geraldine

Great fun meeting up with Geraldine

The event endorsed by the Association for Nutrition as a CPD activity was buzzing with over 200 exhibitors, all with interesting stories to tell or new products to try.  Some of the new products I sampled were:

  • Cricket fudge – Containing protein rich edible insects available from
  • Birch tree sap – This Eastern European sweet drink, is said to have an array of health benefits
  • Natural colouring for food – Great idea, nothing artificial just fruit & veg
  • Coconut water – All sorts of flavours and brands were on offer
  • Baobab and moringa – Drinks and energy bars made from these African ‘super-ingredients’ – tasty

With over eighty seminars and a busy schedule of conference sessions I was in my element. Janet Street Porter and Michael Mosley were good value and Jay Raynor was over the top as ever!

Food Matters Live 18-20.11.14

Food Matters Live 18-20.11.14

I attended seminars on allergy and intolerance, nano-technology, packaging, health and wellbeing and conference sessions on tackling childhood obesity and the future of nutrition in a resource constrained world and the role of media in marketing.

Getting to ask a panel of experts a question linked to my dissertation was my personal highlight.

My question:

Do you think people have a good level of knowledge of the link between diet and disease across the socioeconomic gradient

The panel said:

“they were not aware of any studies measuring this but there was evidence that people don’t make the link between diet and disease especially at the lower end of the socioeconomic gradient. In reality the panel thought people were concerned with meeting basic hunger needs rather than thinking about the consequences of what they are eating. As to whether people ever considered that the cheeseburger they were eating would cause heart disease or breast cancer for example – the panel thought not!’


The distinguished panel who answered my dissertation question:Dr Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health in the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, The University of Oxford and Chair of The Department of Health Food Network Partington, Director General, British Soft Drinks Association (Host) Samira Ahmed, Broadcaster, Journalist and Writer Dr David Haslam, GP & Senior Partner & Chair of National Obesity Forum Dr Angela Donkin, Senior Advisor, UCL, Institute of Health Equity

The distinguished panel who answered my dissertation question:Dr Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health in the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, The University of Oxford & Chair of The Department of Health Food Network
Gavin Partington, Director General, British Soft Drinks Association
(Host) Samira Ahmed, Broadcaster, Journalist and Writer
Dr David Haslam, GP & Senior Partner & Chair of National Obesity Forum
Dr Angela Donkin, Senior Advisor, UCL, Institute of Health Equity 

I had a really great time and as a nutrition student the breadth of topics discussed were amazing. I thought getting everyone together at one event was a brilliant idea! Chatting with like-minded people, listening to the conference speakers and finding out about new developments in the food, nutrition and health arena over the 3 day period gave me a broader view of this dynamic industry – definitely time well spent.

I was only able to attend because of my Edge Hill Scholarship Award so will be eternally grateful.


Meet Hayley a mother who followed her instinct…

As a nutrition student I love chatting to people about nutrition related health issues. This week I met Hayley Anderson who delivers ‘Walking Away From Diabetes’ sessions at the Skelmersdale Community Food Initiative. Hayley a former Community Nurse, who studied at Edge Hill University, shared with me the story of her son Evan and the concerns she had about his digestive health, from an early age.

Hayley & Evan

Hayley & Evan

Hayley told me that as a baby Evan had suffered from recurring bouts of reflux, projectile vomiting and problems swallowing and how initially this was put down to possetting or common digestive problems.

Having trained as a nurse Hayley was able to question what she was being told by health professionals, and press for an endoscopy to investigate further. The endoscopy revealed that Evan was suffering from a severe case of Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) an allergic / immune condition which causes inflammation or swelling of the oesophagus which is the tube that sends food from the mouth to the stomach.

A 2013 study by Redd & Schey reported that the prevalence of EoE is said to have increased significantly over the past few years, however, it is unclear whether the prevalence is actually increasing or if health professionals are just recognising it more often.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) outline that in EoE patients, large numbers of white blood cells called eosinophils are found in the tissue of the oesophagus, where there are normally none. EoE is said to occur at any age and most commonly occurs in Caucasian males.

Evan in hospital

Evan in hospital

The symptoms of EoE are said to vary with age:

  • Babies and toddlers may refuse food or not grow properly.
  • School-age children may suffer from recurring abdominal pain, vomiting or have trouble swallowing.
  • Teenagers and adults most often have difficulty swallowing. The oesophagus can narrow to the point that food gets stuck and is called food impaction which is a medical emergency.The 2013 study referred to earlier, provides details of treatments such as the six food elimination diet which is the treatment being tried by Hayley and Evan. The diet is based on removing those foods groups with the most allergenic potential, namely, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, and seafood. This diet is less restrictive than elemental / formula diets and does not require the in-depth allergy testing necessary in specific food elimination diets. Studies in adults have shown varied results, which are possibly associated with the degree of compliance to the diet itself. There is evidence from one study of 35 patients with EoE, which found that 74 % of the patients showed improvements both clinically and histologically.
Evan lost weight when he was first born

Evan lost weight when he was first born

I was in a similar position to Hayley before my son was diagnosed coeliac disease, and like Hayley I just knew that there was something wrong and wouldn’t give up. Evan is very lucky to have Hayley as his mum, our concern is that other children may not be so lucky and be suffering unnecessarily.

For me as a Nutrition and Health student this case highlights the importance of ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and keeping up to date with new research findings.

Evan after his diagnosis

Evan now after his diagnosis of Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)

Both Hayley and I say to parents everywhere you know your babies better than anyone else, so follow your instincts.


More information on EoE can be found on the following websites:


Redd, M. & Schey, R. (2013) Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Current Treatment, Digestive Diseases and Sciences<spacer.gif>58.3<spacer.gif>

Life’s a peach!

Peaches are a great source of vitamin C and one medium peach (with skin) contains 1.36 grams of protein, 58 calories and 2.2 grams dietary fibre. Early research now suggests adding peaches to you diet can have protective benefits.

20140906-212523.jpgA Washington State University (WSU) food scientist published findings in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry outlining results from an animal study that found compounds in peaches can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and their ability to spread.

Researchers say the compounds could be a novel addition to therapies that reduce the risk of metastasis, the primary killer in breast and many other cancers. In the western hemisphere, breast cancer is the most common malignant disease for women. In the USA last year, the American Cancer Society estimated about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer among women. The article says that the compounds could be given as peach polyphenol extract powder or be sourced from two to three fresh peaches a day.

Giuliana Noratto, WSU assistant professor of food science says that having enough fruits and vegetables in our diet can provide these compounds, and might have a similar preventive effects. She is now looking at other compounds such as wheat, barley, quinoa, apples and dairy products that could also have a role in preventing obesity-related diseases.

The WSU assistant professor is said to have been drawn to the research after doing work on the antioxidant activity of root plants in her native Peru where they have a huge tradition of medicinal plants. Noratto said. “We are great believers that you can cure yourself by having a good diet and a good supply of medicinal Plants”

How great would this be if the benefits could be replicated in human trials. To achieve this however, further in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to understand the molecular mechanisms involved.


Giuliana Noratto, Weston Porter, David Byrne, Luis Cisneros-Zevallos. Polyphenolics from peach (Prunus persica var. Rich Lady) inhibit tumor growth and metastasis of MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cells in vivo. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2014.03.001

A is for Aspartame; B is for Barge pole!

There is evidence that more and more consumers are losing confidence in artificial sweeteners with 38% of people in a recent poll saying they actively avoided food & drink with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame.  This figure is a rise of 7% since 2012 when 31% said they avoided it.


These concerns were reported in ‘The Grocer’ the on-line fast moving consumer goods magazine, who also referred to further evidence that 40% of consumers would potentially buy more diet products if they contained only natural sweeteners.

Aspartame is the artificial sweetener also referred to as E951. It is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, and has been used in soft drinks and other low-calorie or sugar-free foods worldwide for over 25 years.

The scepticism felt by consumers about artificial sweeteners, is backed up by a study in to the ‘Neurobehavioural effects of aspartame consumption’,  published April 2014. This particular research found that those consuming high-aspartame diets, exhibited more depression, more irritable mood, and performed worse on spatial tests. It didn’t however link aspartame consumption with impaired working memory.

There is a whole host of other research focusing on artificial sweeteners, some saying it’s harmless some saying the complete opposite. The Food Standards Agency however outlines that the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) set for aspartame is 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This is equivalent to 2800 milligrams for an average British adult and means that an adult would have to consume 14 cans of a sugar free drink every day before reaching the ADI. That is assuming the sweetener was used in the drink at the maximum permitted level.

Whatever the evidence or ADI, it appears that many consumers wouldn’t touch artificial sweeteners with a barge pole.


References & links:
The Grocer 23.8.14 Artificial sweeteners: consumer suspicion on the rise.

Lindseth, GN., Coolahan, S.E.,  Petros. T.V., & Lindseth. P.D. (2014) Neurobehavioral Effects of Aspartame Consumption, Research in nursing and health.

Move more and have fun!

This summer Change4Life has teamed up with the global brand ‘Disney’ to encourage families to move more and have fun.


Over 225,000 families so far, have signed up for the 10 minute shake up campaign, and with roadshows taking place across the country there is still time to sign up and join in the fun:

As a student nutritionist I am keen to encourage people to be more active and make better food choices to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Making small changes can reap big rewards.

Here are some suggestions from the Change4Life Great Swapathon campaign:

  • Swap sugary fizzy drinks for water, milk or pure fruit juice
  • Swap fry-ups for ‘grill-ups’
  • Swap the sweet jar for a bowl of fruit
  • Swap snacking on the run for three proper meals every day
  • Swap the big plates you eat off for smaller ones, to help keep portion sizes in check
  • Swap white bread sandwiches for wholemeal ones
  • Swap four wheels for two feet
  • Swap sitting around indoors for racing around outdoors
  • Swap the lift for the stairs
  • Swap vegging on the sofa for a swim at your local pool

These swaps and the ’10 minute shake up’ don’t just apply to kids!

I went for a quick swim straight from work today, and as well as getting some exercise I got chatting to a lovely mum about her young daughter and food allergies. That was way more interesting than watching TV.