Saturday, August 22, 2009

"As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists"

Oh well, lots of people have the misconception that us, food scientists, are the bad guys who create all those processed foods that are bad for your health! Indeed, we are the ones that thought of powder juices, frozen tv foods, canned veggies and impossibly long-lasting goodies... but you have to admit, these are convenient for your overcharged and hectic schedules! Plus, we also are the one that helped the people suffering from diabetic soothe their sweet tooth without affecting their glycemic index, we are the one that designed food suitable for dysphagic people and allow astronauts to eat food that taste like that from home - the Earth.

But what do we do exactly? What is Food Science? How is it different from nutrition? In a nutshell, we intervene between the food in its natural state and the final product that ends in the consumer's plate. It can involve numerous fields such as chemistry, physics, microbiology and biochemistry! Hence, we ensure that the food taste good, looks good, smells good, is easy to cook, doesn't take much time to prepare and can overcome the concept of time!!! Through different technologies such as freeze drying, we modify the state of the food such that it can be conserved over a certain period of time without compromising its quality! Also, research and development team are responsible to come up with new intriguing products that follows or even better, predicts the consumer's trend! Of course, the security of the product is overseen by food microbiologists. Finally, the quality control team makes sure that the product is perfect in every way, taste, texture, safety... the consumer has to be 110% satisfied!!!

On the other hand, nutritionists study more the effect of food on the health. How does the cholesterol content influence the flow of blood in the vessels or what should a patient suffering of liver problems should eat. Actually, food scientists and nutritionist make up a good team! The latter evaluate the needs of a patient, and we find a way to make the food more delectable and easily consumed!!! Yep! We are no rivals but allies!

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