Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    Building an evidence base towards sustainable diets in the Irish population
    (University College Dublin. School of Agriculture and Food Science, 2022) ;
    Background: Climate change, food demand and diet-related disease underline an urgent need for more sustainable and healthy food practices. Dietary guidance in the form of Sustainable Food Based Dietary Guidelines have been recommended at a national level to mitigate the environmental impact of food consumption, while improving health. For the Irish population to transition to sustainable diets, an improved knowledge base is required on the quality of current dietary patterns and the environmental impact of such. Objective: This thesis was designed to analyse diets reported in the Irish Population from a nutrition, environment, and cost perspective, and to complete preliminary modelling of healthier and more sustainable diets for sub-groups of the population. Methods: Food intakes on children, teenagers, and adults were taken from IUNA food consumption databases (FCDB). Nutrient based diet quality scores were calculated and evaluated as a metric of diet quality. Environmental data on greenhouse gas emissions and water use were taken from a UK life cycle assessment study, and agricultural impacts (cropland, nitrogen, and phosphorous use) from the FAOSTAT database to adults. A food price database was compiled, and dietary optimisation was completed using FICO Xpress software. Results: An evidence base was created by assigning three nutrient based scoring systems and linking data on environmental factors and food price to the FCDBs. In the nutritional analysis, teenagers and young adult females had significantly lower nutritional adequacy than the rest of the Irish population (58% probability of meeting nutrient recommendations). Lower nutritional adequacy was highlighted in females, those with a lower education level, and those from a more urban location. The Irish population was found to exceed planetary boundaries for GHGe (by up to 226%) but were well within the planetary boundaries for water use (<40%) across all groups. In relation to the agricultural boundaries, adult diets exceeded planetary boundaries considerably for all factors, from 277% - 382%. Dietary expenditure was found to be linked to life stage, and average cost ranged from €3.80 to €11.70 per day. Healthier diets were found to be more expensive (by €1.82 to €4.74 per day) and adults in education had a significantly higher dietary expenditure than all other social class groups (€10.90 per day). Dietary expenditure was found to be directly associated with environmental impact, and this may present a secondary motivation for consumers to transition to sustainable diets in Ireland. Affordable, environmentally, and nutritious food categories (e.g., milk, potatoes, cruciferous vegetables) and foods with multiple negative benefits were identified (unprocessed white meat and dishes, meat alternatives and dishes, vegetable soup and dishes, high energy beverage.). In the dietary modelling, GHGe reductions varied between population sub-groups (45% to 67%) and improvements of nutrient intakes ranged from 20% to 56% closer to nutrient recommendations. Several nutrients were improved from baseline diets in the Irish population (e.g., folate, iodine, and vitamin E) although inadequacy was introduced for nutrients in some population groups (e.g., biotin, cobalamin, and selenium). Conclusion: This thesis includes an in-depth analysis of nutrient intakes, environmental impact, and dietary expenditure across the Irish population and successfully trialled a methodology for integrating these factors to design sustainable diets which consider dietary preferences. The diversity of consumption patterns, nutritional needs, environmental impact, and dietary expenditure found between sub-groups highlight a need for context-specific research and subsequent guidelines.
  • Publication
    Phenotypic factors influencing the variation in response of circulating cholesterol level to personalised dietary advice in the Food4me study
    Individual response to dietary interventions can be highly variable. The phenotypic characteristics of those who will respond positively to personalised dietary advice are largely unknown. The objective of this study was to compare the phenotypic profiles of differential responders to personalised dietary intervention, with a focus on total circulating cholesterol. Subjects from the Food4Me multi-centre study were classified as responders or non-responders to dietary advice based on the change in cholesterol level from baseline to month 6, with lower and upper quartiles defined as the responder and non-responder groups, respectively. There were no significant differences between the demographic and anthropometric profiles of the groups. Furthermore, with the exception of alcohol, there was no significant difference in reported dietary intake, at baseline. However, there were marked differences in baseline fatty acid profiles. The responder group had significantly higher levels of stearic acid (18:0, p=0.034) and lower levels of palmitic acid (16:0, p=0.009). Total monounsaturated fatty acids (p=0.016) and total polyunsaturated fatty acids (p=0.008) also differed between the groups. In a stepwise logistic regression model, age, baseline total cholesterol, glucose, five fatty acids and alcohol intake were selected as factors that successfully discriminated responders from non-responders, with sensitivity of 82% and specificity of 83%. The successful delivery of personalised dietary advice may depend on our ability to identify phenotypes that are responsive. The results demonstrate the potential use of metabolic profiles in identifying response to an intervention and could play an important role in the development of precision nutrition.  
      490Scopus© Citations 15
  • Publication
    Survey evaluation for species richness of farmland birds
    To estimate biodiversity it may be important to establish whether increased data can be obtained from repeated surveys. Bird species richness was determined after repeated surveys in winter and in the breeding season. Data were collected over two breeding seasons and two winter seasons at nine sites, with three surveys in each winter and four surveys in each breeding season using a standard method. Poisson models were used to determine differences in total cumulative species richness recorded after each additional survey. There were significant increases in species richness in winter between survey one and survey two and between survey two and survey three across nine sites. There was a significant increase between survey one and survey two for resident breeding species richness. Based on pure species richness, three surveys recorded at least 95% of the total observed species richness recorded after four surveys in the breeding season within the agricultural survey area.
  • Publication
    Farmland birds and the field boundary evaluation and grading system in Ireland
    (Faculty of Agriculture, UCD in association with Teagasc, 2005-07) ; ; ;
    Field boundaries are important habitats for birds within the agricultural landscape. In this study, bird surveys were carried out during the winter and breeding season on nine farms in the east and south-east of Ireland and field boundaries at each site were assessed using the Field Boundary Evaluation and Grading System (FBEGS). Poisson regression demonstrated that FBEGS scores were a good predictor of both winter and breeding bird species richness and diversity within the field boundaries studied. We interpret these preliminary results with caution since our sample size was relatively small (compared to the wide variety of field boundary types found in Ireland) and no single combination of field boundary attributes is likely to be optimum for all bird species. However, our results suggest that FBEGS may be a useful surrogate indicator of overall field boundary bird diversity and we discuss the consequent implications for agri-environmental policy, and for the possible adaptation and use of FBEGS as a tool to monitor the impact of changing farm management practice.