FOODBALL Project Overview
Food frequency questionnaires, food diaries, and 24 h recall methods represent the most commonly used dietary assessment tools in human studies on nutrition and health. As food intake biomarkers provide a more objective reflection of intake compared to self-reported data, food intake biomarkers may provide valuable complementary data. However, very few of these biomarkers are sufficiently validated. In a three year research program, the Food Biomarkers Alliance (FoodBAll) aims to develop clear strategies for food intake biomarker discovery and validation, and to identify and validate biomarkers for a range of foods consumed across Europe. The methods include extensive literature reviews, acute intervention studies, as well as analyses of existing intervention and observational studies. Importantly, metabolomics techniques will be used for the discovery of biomarkers as the main -omics technique.
Foodomics is a discipline in the field of food and nutrition that applies and integrates comprehensive high-throughput -omics technologies to improve human health, well-being, and nutritional knowledge. Foodomics encompasses the global food domain, including fields such as nutrigenomics. Studies in foodomics may focus on areas such as the mechanisms of different bioactive food components in the body, the quantification of dietary biomarkers to identify different health states, the assessment of food quality and safety, or examination of the body's biological response to different nutritional patterns.
The Food Metabolome
The food metabolome is the part of the human metabolome directly derived from the digestion and biotransformation of foods and their constituents. With over 25,000 compounds known in various foods, and an extensive metabolism of many of them by host enzymes and gut microbiota, the food metabolome is extremely complex, with a composition varying widely according to the diet. This variability constitutes a unique and extremely rich source of information on the human diet, which can be used for pusposes such as accurate monitoring of dietary exposure and identification of foods that influence disease risks.
Dietary biomarkers are specific measurements within the body that accurately reflect the intake of a food constituent or food. These markers are measured in biofluids such as blood and urine, and include natural food constituents such as vitamins and fatty acids, in addition to certain food additives like iodine in milk or food contaminants like polychlorinated biphenyls in fatty fish. Dietary biomarkers can be used measure nutritional status and food intake, to find associations between diet and disease outcomes, and to monitor dietary changes in populations.