Skip to main content
Food and health

Consumers want to know that the foods they consume provide health benefits. Food materials science can monitor changes during digestion as well as assist in the development of low-fat products.

Foods rich in resistant starch (starch that resists digestion until reaching the large bowel) can provide multiple benefits including improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, and a healthy gut microbiome.

Oleogels can be used to replace conventional saturated fatty acid-based lipids with a healthier alternative. They immobilise liquid edible oils in a 3D network provided by an oleogelator. Researchers have identified numerous molecules which can provide structure to oils rich in (poly)unsaturated fatty acids.  They have the ability to provide firmness to oil-rich foods, such as spreads, without the need for saturated fats.

Whether it is the optimisation of resistant starch levels in food products or the correlation between network formation and gel behaviour in oleogels, nuclear-based techniques can assist.  

Publications - Food and health

Low fat products

“Application of Smallangle Xray scattering and Smallangle neutron scattering to Fat Mimetics”, Elliot Paul Gilbert, in “Fat mimetics for food applications”, editors Miguel Cerqueira, Lorenzo Castro, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 1119780012, 9781119780014, revised 14 December 2021

“Building blocks of β-sitosterol-γ-oryzanol gels revealed by small-angle neutron scattering and real space modelling”, Elliot Paul Gilbert, Food and Function 13 (2022) 7123–7131.

“Small-angle neutron scattering reveals basis for composition dependence of gel behaviour in oleic acid - sodium oleate oleogels”, Steven Cornet, Liliana de Campo, Marta Martinez-Sanz, Elke Scholten and Elliot Paul Gilbert* Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 73 (2021) 102763.

“Organogel formation through supramolecular assembly of oleic acid and sodium oleate”, Constantinos V. Nikiforidis,* Elliot Paul Gilbert,* Elke Scholten, RSC Advances, 5 (2015) 47466-47475

“DENSITY PROFILE OF SELF-ASSEMBLED SITOSTEROL + ORYZANOL TUBULES IN EDIBLE OILS: A SMALL-ANGLE NEUTRON SCATTERING STUDY”, Arjen Bot, Elliot P. Gilbert, Wim G. Bouwman, Hassan Sawalha, Ruud den Adel, Vasyl M. Garamus, Paul Venema, Erik van der Linden, and Eckhard Flöter, Faraday Discussions 158 (2012) 223-238. DOI: 10.1039/C2FD20020A.


“Selective deuteration for molecular insights into the digestion of medium chain triglycerides”, Stefan Salentinig*, Rao Yepuri, Adrian Hawley, Ben J Boyd, Elliot Gilbert, Tamim Darwish*, Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, 190 (2015) 43-50.

“Disposition and crystallization of fatty acid in mixed micelles of relevance to lipid digestion”, Stephanie Phan; Stefan Salentinig; Elliot Gilbert; Tamim Darwish; Adrian Hawley; Reece Nixon-Luke; Gary Bryant and Ben Boyd, J. Colloid Interface Sci. 449 (2015) 160-166.

“pH-Responsive Micelles Based on Caprylic Acid”, Stefan Salentinig*, Stephanie Phan, Tamim Darwish, Nigel Kirby, Ben Boyd, Elliot Gilbert*, Langmuir 30 (2014) 7296-7303.

Non-starch polysaccharides

“Molecular interactions of a model bile salt and porcine bile with β-glucans and arabinoxylans from 13C NMR and SAXS”, Purnima Gunness, Bernadine M. Flanagan, Jitendra P. Mata, Elliot P. Gilbert, and Michael J. Gidley, Food Chemistry 197 (2016) 676–685.


“Molecular, mesoscopic and microscopic structure evolution during amylase digestion of maize starch granules”, Ashok K. Shrestha, Bernadine M. Flanagan, Jaroslav Blazek, Sushil Dhital, Oscar Larroque, Matthew K. Morell, Elliot P. Gilbert and Michael J. Gidley, Carbohydrate Polymers 90 (2012) 23-33.

“The effect of enzymatic hydrolysis on native starch granule structure”, Jaroslav Blazek and Elliot Paul Gilbert, Biomacromolecules 11 (2010) 3275-3289.

“ENZYME RESISTANCE AND STRUCTURAL ORGANIZATION IN EXTRUDED HIGH AMYLOSE MAIZE STARCH”, Ashok. K. Shrestha, Chin S. Ng, Amparo Lopez-Rubio, Jaroslav Blazek, Elliot. P. Gilbert, and Michael J. Gidley, Carbohydrate Polymers 80 (2010) 699-710.

"INCREASING ENZYME-RESISTANT STARCH CONTENT IN EXTRUDED MAIZE BY ACID DEXTRINIZATION", Aung Htoon, Surjani Uthayakumaran, Udaysika Piyasiri, Ingrid A.M. Appelqvist, Amparo López-Rubio, Elliot P. Gilbert and Roger Mulder, Food Chemistry 120 (2010) 140-149.


"Processing of novel elevated amylose wheats: Functional properties and starch digestibility of extruded products", Hélène CHANVRIER, Ingrid A.M. APPELQVIST, Anthony R. BIRD, Elliot GILBERT, Aung HTOON, Zhongyi LI, Peter J. LILLFORD, Amparo LOPEZ-RUBIO, Matthew K. MORELL, David L. TOPPING, J. Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55 (2007) 10248-10257

"Influence of storage conditions on the structure, thermal behavior, and formation of enzyme-resistant starch in extruded starches ", Hélène Chanvrier, Surjani Uthayakumaran, Ingrid A.M. Appelqvist, Michael J. Gidley, Elliot P. Gilbert, Amparo López-Rubio, J. Agricultural and Food Chemistry 55 (2007) 9883-9890.

"Influence of extrusion and digestion on the nanostructure of high-amylose maize starch." A. Lopez-Rubio, A. Htoon and E. Gilbert, Biomacromolecules, 8 (2007) 1564-1572.

"Digestibility of starches: effects of polymer conformation and food structure." MJ Gidley, BM Flanagan, A Shrestha, A Lopez Rubio, E Gilbert, A Htoon, H Chanvrier, S Uthayakumaran, PJ Lillford, XK Zhou, AR Bird, DL Topping, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 15 (2006) S44.