We work closely with practice partners, healthcare companies, public institutions and organisations plus administrative authorities. We also carry out research projects with other BFH departments and other Swiss universities.
This project aims to investigate the types of labelling that are currently used on publicly sold food in Switzerland and in other countries, to examine the needs of suppliers and allergy sufferers and to pinpoint which forms of labelling are identified and correctly interpreted by those affected.
ERNA (nutritional advice for children with food allergies)
For children with food allergies, treatment focuses on avoiding allergy-inducing substances. Little is known about the effectiveness of providing accompanying nutritional advice. The ERNA project therefore looks at how nutritional advice affects quality of life, the number of allergic reactions, nutritional status and the variety of the child’s diet.
Nutritional recommendations for the elderly
The report ‘Swiss nutritional recommendations for the elderly’ is designed to provide background information on physiological and psychological changes in old age and to detail the resultant nutritional recommendations. The main remit is to draw up official Swiss nutritional recommendations for people over the age of 60, using the subgroups listed in the Federal Commission for Nutrition FCN report.
Fermentation strategies for naturally increasing vitamin B12 content in plant-based drinks
It is a known fact that bacterial fermentation can be used to increase the vitamin B12 content in foodstuffs. The aim of this project is to investigate different fermentation strategies for naturally increasing the vitamin B12 content in alcohol-free, fermented drinks based on Swiss fruit and/or vegetables and to establish consumers’ sensory requirements with regard to the product. The intention is to develop drinks that do not contain additives and do not have sugar added after fermentation. There are population groups in Switzerland who are unable to meet the recommended dose of vitamin B12 through the food they consume. This applies in particular to the steadily growing number of vegans in Switzerland (currently around 250,000). Elderly people are also at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
The MEDPass study is investigating an innovative means of administering oral food supplements with the aim of examining whether this can be used to optimise energy and protein intake.
The prevalence of overweight and obese individuals in Switzerland demands effective, innovative intervention to help people to lose weight. Against this backdrop, Oviva has developed an app for nutritionists. We are testing its effectiveness.
Stakeholder negotiations on medicine shortages
The aim of this project to bring together all the primary stakeholders in the medicines supply chain to agree on paths to resolving shortages of medicines in Switzerland.
Aromatase and food
This project examined how aromatase-modulating ingredients change during food preparation and processing and assessed how this was relevant to their use as an adjuvant to drug treatments.
In a preliminary study, it was established that healthcare institutions used 87 different terms to describe diets for patients who have difficulty swallowing. These terms (e.g. ‘honey-like consistency’) tend to be imprecise and do not adequately identify a suitable diet for the patients. In this project, we developed a diagnostic kit, a laboratory scale product line, a recipe collection for non-solid meals and a test device that can be used to quickly check that the consistency of foodstuffs complies with the diagnosed requirements. Clinical trials are being organised as part of a follow-up project.
Healthy institutional catering
Following an analysis of international literature on nutritional quality and health considerations in institutional catering, we carried out a structural analysis of institutional catering in Switzerland and ran a process-based survey on the potential for developing quality standards for the industry. We held individual and group interviews with stakeholders in the industry and evaluated the practicality of introducing binding nutritional quality regulations.
Healthy institutional catering menus
The introduction of low-salt recipes is an effective measure for reducing salt consumption, a risk factor when it comes to health. No meal should contain more than 2.5 g of salt. Together with practice partners, we revised and tested the menus offered by institutional catering facilities, focusing on nutritional and sensory aspects. A popularity test was used to assess and adapt the concept for further use in the sector.
Dietary survey of 1–3-year-olds
Because the national nutrition survey only focuses on adults, a baby food manufacturer commissioned us to carry out an equivalent survey of babies and infants.
National nutrition survey menuCH
What do people living in Switzerland eat and drink? The national nutrition survey menuCH asked this question and gathered data on the diet and exercise habits of the Swiss population.
NRP 69 Salt Consumption
The aim of this research project was to reduce salt consumption by raising awareness in the workplace and modifying workplace catering. The project is part of the National Research Programme NRP 69.
It was established that none of the official tools available in Switzerland took account of the diet and exercise habits of Tamil residents. The ‘NutriGeD’ (Nutrition Gestational Diabetes) project was designed to close that gap.
Quality standards for healthy institutional catering
After systematic analysis of research into institutional catering, stakeholders in Swiss institutional catering were identified, asked to take part in a participative survey and encouraged to take more responsibility for nutrition and health. Qualitative surveys allowed stakeholders and those directly affected to give their opinions on the role of institutional catering in promoting health and on the feasibility of introducing nutritional quality standards.
Salt in institutional catering: measures for its reduction
After setting out a detailed timetable, researchers established critical points where salt was introduced into institutional catering, from supply to consumption, and examined existing nutritional information regarding salt and health (observation, questionnaires). Working with the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), researchers carried out duplicate diet studies in the laboratory to quantify the salt content at critical instances and drew up a catalogue of measures for reducing salt intake.
Smart(phone) solution for dietary and physical activity assessment in practice and research
Researchers trialled the prototype of a smartphone app that synchronously tracks physical activity and nutritional intake to investigate its suitability for use in the treatment of overweight patients. This led to the creation of a web-based data evaluation concept for practical use in nutrition counselling and nutrition research. To ensure data quality, the recorded physical activity was validated first and used as a basis for validating the nutritional record.
Smartphone-based tool for effective, long-term nutrition counselling in overweight/obese adults – Development of an application model for nutrition counselling
The research group developed an initial draft for a long-term application model. To establish the conditions under which dieticians would be prepared to use smartSolution in their practice, researchers held a workshop for dieticians in which they discussed and defined the model. They also interviewed various stakeholders. In parallel, smartSolution was further optimised and the app was extended with simple tools designed to boost motivation.
Nutrition counselling with smartphone as a tool for analysing nutrition and activity: feasibility and potential for development
This project involved creating a new, practical, smartphone-based method of recording food consumption and, at the same time, automatically measuring physical activity. Researchers checked the app’s functionality and client-tested it for practicality and plausibility. The research group also identified potential innovative advantages over conventional alternatives.