A #CanolaConnect event took place October 23rd, 2014 at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals. The science of GMOs and food processing was presented by Nancy Ames of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the University of Florida’s Dr. Kevin Folta.
Here is Sandi Knight’s recap of guest presenter Dr. Nancy Ames:
Does Science Belong on My Plate?
The aroma of fresh-baked bread wafted through the room, cookies were ‘on the plate’ and we had the opportunity to ‘play’ with gluten! Dr. Nancy Ames, a cereal research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, piqued our interest and our taste buds!
The question being posed, “Does science belong on your plate?” Her response, “What would your plate be without science?” Furthermore, “We all have food in common and we all like to eat it. That’s our common thread.” Indeed it is.
Dr. Ames explained the integral role science plays in getting food from the farm to your plate – from plant breeding to food processing to improving taste, fulfilling nutrient requirements and meeting consumer needs.
We looked at the dynamics of oat processing and learned that of all the whole grains, oats has the highest protein content. The ever-popular quinoa is actually 5th on the list.
Protein is currently the #1 consumer trend. Gluten-free is #2 – rather ironic as gluten is a protein. Dr. Ames circulated samples and encouraged us to, “Feel your gluten!” It was creamy, soft and stretchy. Strong gluten from hard-red wheat is best for baking bread, while weaker gluten from soft-white wheat is sufficient for pasty and cookies. So yes, there really is a difference between the bread, pastry, cake and all-purpose flours you see on store shelves.
Through science we now have more heart-healthy oils available and know how to ensure probiotics in yogurt are maintained through processing. We understand the benefits of red wine in reducing blood pressure and blueberries in improving memory. We know that it is not only what we eat, but also our genetic make-up which determines how we respond to certain compounds in food.
And how about that cookie on our plate? It was delicious! Rich in high oleic canola oil, beta glucan from barley and containing 1000 mg of DHA (omega-3 fatty acid docoshexaenoic acid), it was the equivalent of eating a serving of salmon without the fishy after-taste!
The science behind our food is fascinating. The process is ongoing and ensures we have an abundant, nutritious and safe food supply. For that, I am grateful.
Does Science Belong on Your Plate? A #CanolaConnect series brought to you by the Manitoba Canola Growers. This is the 3rd #CanolaConnect event that brings together experts in their fields with consumers, chefs, dietitians, home economists and teachers.
Check out our social media recap from the event here.