Exploring and Exploiting the Role of Food Structure in Digestion

  • Matt GoldingEmail author


The structural diversity and complexity encountered in food systems is remarkable in its scope. This is true for both wholefood materials, such as fruit and vegetables, but also for manufactured foods constructed through formulation and process design. The material and structural properties of foods are well known to have a predominant effect on sensory properties and perception, that in turn has a determining role on our food preferences. However, the interactions and assembly of the structural elements in food materials, and the manner in which they are broken down during consumption and digestion, is increasingly seen as of importance in consideration of the nutritional value of what we eat. In fact, a noteworthy aspect of our digestive process is its ability to effectively extract nutritional value from the array of foods available for consumption. However, the response of food structures during digestion can, with appropriate understanding, be manipulated allowing for the enhancement of nutritional value. This chapter explores how the digestive properties of the primary macronutrient components of protein, fat and carbohydrates are influenced by their structural assembly in foods.


Microstructure Digestion Colloids Lipids Protein Carbohydrate 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massey Institute of Food Science and TechnologyMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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