Blanca Enriquez Fernandez | ALES Graduate Seminar

Date(s) - 23/06/2020
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES PhD Final Exam Seminar by Blanca Enriquez Fernandez. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.

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Conference ID: 868440128

Thesis Topic: Use of Sensory Nutrition to Optimize and Evaluate Food Products for Patients with Cancer

PhD with Dr. Wendy Wismer.

Seminar Abstract:

Inadequate nutrition is prevalent among patients with cancer and has a detrimental impact on prognosis. However, development of taste appealing foods targeting specific nutritional requirements of this population has been overlooked and few commercial products are available. Snacks were chosen as vehicles for fortification given their potential to increase caloric and nutrient intake in a small portion size. The aim of this research was to investigate factors impacting the acceptance of nutrient-rich snacks for patients with cancer. A commercially available oat-based beverage was proposed as a nutrient-rich snack and its sensory acceptance and perception was evaluated before and after fortification. Additionally, snack foods preferred as potential carriers for fortification and the influence of experienced symptoms on those preferences were identified through a survey of patients with cancer.

Overall liking and just-about-right (JAR) evaluations were assessed for three flavors at two different temperatures of the oat-based beverage among patients with cancer (n=92) and healthy participants (n=136). Products were liked and no significant differences in liking were observed among them or between the two consumer populations. Results of JAR evaluations highlighted differences in perception between patients with cancer and healthy participants, and high perceived sweetness significantly decreased liking of three of the products. A chocolate flavored oat-based beverage was fortified with protein (whey, faba bean) and fish oil, and overall liking and attribute perception (JAR) of two formulations were evaluated compared to the unfortified product by 60 healthy participants. Differences in sweetness and thickness perception were found among the products but overall liking of one of the formulations was not significantly different compared to the unfortified product. Additionally, perception of oats through a free-word association task revealed that patients’ perceptions were related to oat-based food products and perceived health benefits, confirming the potential for oat inclusion in fortified and unfortified snack products for patients with cancer.

A survey among 150 patients with cancer identified soup, yogurt, cheese, fruit juice, egg products and protein bars as suitable fortified snacks. Nutritious, flavorful, convenient, ready to eat, easy to chew and easy to swallow were desired characteristics of fortified snacks and vitamins, minerals and protein were nutrients of interest. Three clusters of patients were identified according to symptom presence differing in their desired characteristics of fortified snacks and satisfaction with food-related life. Patients in the High symptom presence cluster were more likely to agree with fortification of ice cream bar and patients in High and Moderate symptom clusters were more likely to have reduced food intake and higher consumption of oral nutritional supplements.

This study contributes to gaps in knowledge around food preferences among patients with cancer, particularly related to snacks and fortified products. This research can provide insight to guide the development of fortified snacks targeted to the nutritional, sensory and consumption needs of patients with cancer.