The chemical analysis of food constituents to determine the relationship between food content and its labelling with a particular focus on protein content
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Introduction: The relationship between diet and the development of various chronic diseases is becoming ever more apparent. Food labelling helps to inform the consumer as to the exact content of the food products they are purchasing helping them the make an informed decision as to which products are likely to be detrimental to health. The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy of food labelling and any health implications associated with inaccurate labels. Methods: Two methods were used to determine protein content; the Kjeldahl and Dumas method. A total of four different food categories were assessed (Finest, Medium, Value and Healthy), with three products representing each type (Lasagne, Bolognese and Curry). Results: The results indicated that the protein content of the food products as labelled were accurate in relation to the protein content estimated by the Kjeldahl and Dumas methods (Packet = 1.00 x Average Dumas) and (Packet = 1.06 x Average Kjeldahl). Products that were termed as ‘healthy’ contained the highest amount of sodium in relation to protein (19.451±1.697 grams of protein per gram of sodium), but did have the highest protein to total fat (2.222±0.215 grams of protein per gram of fat) and saturated fat ratio (6.109±1.386 grams of protein per gram of saturated fat). Discussion: The results indicate that the two methods of protein analysis used in our laboratories correlated more strongly with each other in comparison to manufacturer data reported on the packet. Reasons for this may be batch-to-batch variation, observer error and discrepancies in the analytical protocol. Due to the differing quantities of sodium and fat found in the healthy products, it was also recommended that the product be rebranded to low-fat, rather than healthy.
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