Description and aims

Many key issues in public health, such as obesity, adequate infant nutrition, food for the elderly, and at least some of the initiators of hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease, are related to a disfunctioning or disregulation of digestive and absorptive processes and inadequate food properties. Focusing on dietary lipids such as fat, cholesterol, lecithins and lipidic vitamins, the complexity of the digestion and absorption the alimentary tract has resulted in a multitude of scientific disciplines (e.g. food emulsion technology, food physics, enzymology, medical, pharmacy, physiology, infant and elderly nutrition) that work more or less in isolation on separate aspects. It was the purpose of this workshop to bring together researchers from these different disciplines to stimulate debates and discussions and to cross fertilize new-ideas and facilitate establishing new cross disciplinary collaborations.

The format of the workshop was generally considered to be a success. We would certainly advice it to others.

Tangible outcome

This workshop was considered to be a success if would breaks down barriers and lead to collaboration between workers in the different science areas, and also attracts attention from those who can apply the information in the food industry. This was certainly achieved: the format and selection of disciplines of the workshop has led to lively discussions and strongly improved the feeling of shared interests between the different disciplines with many moments of recognition.

Typical “aha-moments” were:

-      Medical workers realized that food physiology knowledge can give input in directing bariatric surgery.

-      Cholesterol breast milk might be an important ingredient that is missing in infant formula; a possible role is that it protects against the harsh action of bile salt in the infants developing intestine.

-      There is considerable overlap between the in vitro modeling tools used by food scientists and pharmacists, but they use different modeling conditions.

 Intended tangible outcomes are:

-      Setting up a collaboration between various participants of the workshop to work out a proposal for subsidized collaboration in te filed of fat digestion.

-      A journal paper reviewing the outcomes of the workshop in a journal such as Food & Function.

-      Critical review on the functions and mechanisms of bile in fat digestion and lipid absorption.  

-      Critical review on the role of inter-individual variation in the interpretation of in vivo studies and consequences for in vitro trials.

-      Critical review on fat lipolysis studies; which are the crucial parameters that should be taken care of?

-      Critical review on capturing the complexity of the physiological system of the alimentary tract by suitable in vitro studies; balance between more complex in vitro simulation setups and dedicated smaller experiments and the role of computer modeling.

-      To keep each other updated about the progress of these intended actions, a follow up meeting will be scheduled within 1 year, and a linked-in group (Biophysics, Biochemistry and Physiology of Fat Digestion) has been opened.