Food and nutrition Dissertation Topics

Food and nutrition Dissertation Topics

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Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 1:

Evaluating the short-term and medium term health effects of consisting upon a diet of nothing but Findus Crispy pancakes for four weeks: A consideration of autism spectrum eating disorders.

Autistic children often display obsessive food selectivity, which has been well researched; however, this study evaluates the effect on the adult body of eating only one type of food repeatedly. The choice of Findus Crispy Pancakes is based upon both its popularity with children and that it may be prepared in private at home and with basic cooking skills, a factor which may be relevant to the experience of autistic adults. Accordingly, this dissertation combines the theories of food and nutritional science with a practical experiment involving lifestyles. The researcher, medically checked prior to commencing their study, will spend one calendar month eating nothing by Findus Crispy pancakes (three meals a day). In addition to having their weight and general health checked by a doctor weekly, a video record will be kept of their mood and how their interactions change (if at all) with society. Thereafter, the findings of this study will be related to those of a similar nature previously carried out, and the positive and negative mental and physical health effects of such a diet presented.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Geraghty, M. E., Depasquale, G. M. and Lane, A. E. (2010). Nutritional intake and therapies in autism: A spectrum of what we know: Part 1. Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 2(1), pp. 62-69.
  • Matson, J. L.and Fodstad, J. C. (2009). The treatment of food selectivity and other feeding problems in children with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(2), pp. 455-461.
  • Rappoport, L. (2003). How we eat: Appetite, culture, and the psychology of food. Toronto: ECW Press.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 2:

Prohibiting school lunchboxes to improve nutritional intake.

In February 2013 it was announced that the Education Department of the Coalition Government was considering banning packed lunches within the maintained sector as a move to improve the nutrition of British children. Regardless of nostalgic longings for plum duff and rice pudding, this dissertation addresses the nutritional arguments in favour of standardising lunch-time meals for the nation's children and ensuring, through the elimination of the lunchbox, so as to ensure that all children receive a nutritionally balanced hot meal at least once per day. This is a dissertation that as well as building on existing secondary data would benefit from the undertaking of primary interviews with both parents and pupils.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Devi, A., Surender, R. and Rayner, M. (2010). Improving the food environment in UK schools: Policy opportunities and challenges. Journal of Public Health Policy, 31(2), pp. 212-226.
  • O'Brien, N., Roe, C. and Reeves, S. (2002). A quantitative nutritional evaluation of a healthy eating intervention in primary school children in a socioeconomically disadvantaged area: A pilot study. Health Education Journal, 61(4), pp. 320-328.
  • Paton, G. (2013). Schools 'should ban unhealthy packed lunches'. The Daily Telegraph, 10th February 2013.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 3:

Educating the English palate: The protein-based argument for the wider incorporation of horsemeat into the English diet.

Tabloid hysteria regarding the discovery of horsemeat labelled as beef in a range of frozen produce readily available within the UK's supermarkets in early 2013 has brought the question of eating horse centre-stage. Though not taking issue with the fact that produce has been mislabelled (or may contain prohibited substances) this dissertation moves beyond the hype and assesses the protein-based arguments for the eating of horsemeat (which is additionally sweeter and leaner than beef). Already well-established upon the continent (and clearly, if unintentionally, acceptable to the British when they are not told what it is), this dissertation argues that now is an opportune moment to educate the public as to the nutritional benefits of enjoying a diet rich in horsemeat - in keeping with our European neighbours.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Badiani, A., Nanni, N., Gatta, P. P., Tolomelli, B. and Manfredini, M. (1997). Nutrient profile of horsemeat. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 10(3), pp. 254-269.
  • Vayda, A. P. (1987). Explaining what people eat: A review article. Human Ecology, 15(4), pp. 493-510.
  • Williamson, C. S., Foster, R. K., Stanner, S. A. and Buttriss, J. L. (2005). Red meat in the diet. Nutrition Bulletin, 30(4), pp. 323-355.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 4:

The benefits of eggs from urban chickens: Psychological or nutritional?

There has, over the last five years, been a marked increase in the number of urban professionals keeping and rearing chickens. In part this was originally seen as an embracing of the wider organic and 'rural living' agenda, but coupled with austerity, the plentiful supply of home-laid eggs has obvious financial benefits too. Devotees of urban chickens and their eggs note that the colour of yolk is richer than that found in supermarkets (even the free range chickens) and further suggest, at least anecdotally, that they are healthier for eating such produce. Applying the rigours of food science to such claims, this dissertation seeks to establish whether such 'benefits' have any nutritional basis in reality, or whether the supposed health benefits are purely in the eyes of the beholders.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Berdanier, C. D. (2006). Food shortages during World War II: Can we learn from this experience? Nutrition Today, 41(4), pp. 160.
  • Coppock, J. B. M. and Daniels, N. W. R. (1962). Influence of diet and husbandry on the nutritional value of the hen's egg. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 13(9), pp. 459-467.
  • Pišteková, V., Hovorka, M., Vecerek, V., Straková, E. and Suchý, P. (2006). The quality comparison of eggs laid by laying hens kept in battery cages and in a deep litter system. Czech Journal of Animal Science, 51(2006), pp. 318-325.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 5:

Obesity, diet and social class: A case study in Basildon

A qualitative study of children and adults: this dissertation seeks to evaluate different levels of obesity amongst lower socio-economic groups and the upper middle class between the council housing estates and leafy suburbs of Basildon. Thereafter, perceptions as to the value of diets are assessed amongst the same groups. Working with a total of 40 volunteers and basing this primary research in existing secondary data this is a dissertation that enables theories of nutrition and health well-being to be placed into a real life context.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Darmon, N. and Drewnowski, A. (2008). Does social class predict diet quality? The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(5), pp. 1107-1117.
  • Gerald, L. B., Anderson, A., Johnson, G. D., Hoff, C. and Trimm, R. F. (2006). Social class, social support and obesity risk in children. Child: Care, Health and Development, 20(3), pp. 145-163.
  • Zaninotto, P., Head, J., Stamatakis, E., Wardle, H. and Mindell, J. (2009). Trends in obesity among adults in England from 1993 to 2004 by age and social class and projections of prevalence to 2012. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 63(2), pp. 140-146.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 6:

Shopping on a shoe-string: A proposal for increasing the fresh fruit and vegetable intake amongst socio-economically deprived communities in Walthamstow.

The linkage between fresh fruit and vegetables and a balanced diet is beyond question. However, this dissertation contends that incorporating sufficient of both into daily diets is especially difficult for women living in poverty in deprived inner city areas and boroughs. In addition, their choices as regards fresh fruit and vegetables may be further limited by factors such as education, geographical location, and unemployment. Accordingly, using a pilot study of 20 volunteers in Walthamstow, this action research gives each of the 20 volunteers a set amount of money each week (out of their weekly budget) with which to supplement their diet with fresh fruit and vegetables. If successful, it is hoped that the findings from this study could be used to suggest that those on benefits should be given, as part of their benefits payments, coupons for redemption against fresh produce so as to bolster their intake of essential vitamins and iron.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Kamphuis, C., Giskes, K., De Bruijn, G. J., Wendel-Vos, W., Brug, J. and Van Lenthe, F. J. (2006). Environmental determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among adults: A systematic review. British Journal of Nutrition, 96(04), pp. 620-635.
  • Pollard, J., Kirk, S. F. L. and Cade, J. E. (2002). Factors affecting food choice in relation to fruit and vegetable intake: a review. Nutrition Research Reviews, 15(2), pp. 373-388.
  • Winkler, E., Turrell, G. and Patterson, C. (2006). Does living in a disadvantaged area mean fewer opportunities to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables in the area? Findings from the Brisbane food study. Health & Place, 12(3), pp. 306-319.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 7:

To what extent do the undergraduates living in fully-catered halls of residence suffer poor diet and nutritional deficiencies in the elite universities of England?

A qualitative study using food diaries, interviews and nutritional analysis of the meals served at three of England's collegiate universities, this dissertation seeks to evaluate the quality of meals served at 'normal' hall. Noting budgetary constraints, a propensity for meals served with various types of the same carbohydrates, and meat colloquially referred to as 'omni-beast' as a consequence of its origin (be it beef, lamb or pork, being largely indistinguishable on either taste or colour grounds), this dissertation charts not only the comparative weaknesses of the food served amongst the three universities but also the extent to which the nutritional benefits of such food is higher, lower, or comparable with that eaten by their contemporaries who live out. Student nutrition and health is often portrayed in the media as little more than instant noodles and chips and a consequence of student laziness- this dissertation seeks to debunk this myth, and show the institutional reality of food served within three of England's leading universities.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Brown, L. B., Dresen, R. K. and Eggett, D. L. (2005). College students can benefit by participating in a prepaid meal plan. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105(3), pp. 445-448.
  • Nelson, M. C. and Story, M. (2009). Food environments in university dorms: 20,000 calories per dorm room and counting. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(6), pp. 523-526.
  • Peterson, S., Duncan, D. P., Null, D. B., Roth, S. L. and Gill, L. (2010). Positive changes in perceptions and selections of healthful foods by college students after a short-term point-of-selection intervention at a dining hall. Journal of American College Health, 58(5), pp. 425-431.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 8:

A Scandinavian diet for health: Can eating the traditional cuisine of Scandinavia improve the health of English males - a quantitative study.

A wide body of literature already exists relating to the supposed benefits of adopting a Mediterranean diet. This dissertation, in contrast, seeks to assess the benefits of adopting a more Scandinavian diet of pickled fish and vegetables over that usually enjoyed within the UK. Using 30 volunteers (all non-smokers and moderate drinkers aged between 30 and 40), this quantitative study asks the participants to adopt a Scandinavian diet for six weeks - to ensure consistency across the group a series of meals will be prepared for them and other recipe cards given. Asking participants to keep a Likert-based daily diary and thereafter to also to take part in more open ended qualitative face to face interviews, the data from this study will then be analysed and the results presented.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Kyrř, C., Skeie, G., Dragsted, L. O., Christensen, J., Overvad, K., Hallmans, G. and Olsen, A. (2011). Intake of whole grains in Scandinavia is associated with healthy lifestyle, socio-economic and dietary factors. Public Health Nutrition, 14(10), 1787.
  • Roos, G., Lean, M. and Anderson, A. (2002). Dietary interventions in Finland, Norway and Sweden: Nutrition policies and strategies. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 15(2), pp. 99-110.
  • Silventoinen, K. and Lahelma, E. (2002). Health inequalities by education and age in four Nordic countries, 1986 and 1994. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 56(4), pp. 253-258.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 9:

A pan-American study of attitudes towards nutrition in different states.

Using quantitative analysis this dissertation measures different attitudes to issues of nutrition in Ohio, Utah and California. In so doing 50 participants in each state (chosen through random sampling) are asked a plethora of questions to assess their attitudes towards food. These are then computed using SPSS and the results analysed. This study could, thereafter, be used or enlarged upon for use at a postgraduate level if the volunteers were to be re-interviewed having been educated as to benefits of a more varied and healthy diet. This initial dissertation hopes, nevertheless, to provide an insight into the localism of food practices within the US and to build upon existing secondary literature relating to the need to not only spread the message of healthy eating but also to target the delivery of such campaigns to specific socio-economic groups and county/state areas.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Hajjar, I. and Kotchen, T. (2003). Regional variations of blood pressure in the United States are associated with regional variations in dietary intakes: The NHANES-III data. The Journal of nutrition, 133(1), pp. 211-214.
  • Lanska, D. J. and Kuller, L. H. (1995). The geography of stroke mortality in the United States and the concept of a stroke belt. Stroke, 26(7), pp. 1145-1149.
  • Serdula, M. K., Gillespie, C., Kettel-Khan, L., Farris, R., Seymour, J. and Denny, C. (2004). Trends in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in the United States: Behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 1994-2000. American Journal of Public Health, 94(6), pp. 1014-1018.

Example food and nutrition dissertation topic 10:

An experiment in reverse psychology: We eat with our eyes?

Based in three restaurants in Bristol, this dissertation uses six staged actors, and thereafter measures diners' reactions. Setting up a psychological experiment involving food, nutrition and diet, three obese dinners at the restaurants eat miniature portions or salad whereas three super-skinny girls gorge themselves on plates of fried food. Measuring other diner's reactions to these actors over a period of five days, this dissertation should provide interesting primary data as to whether the perceived attractiveness of diners and what they are eating influences the eating choices of others.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Burke, M.A. and Heliand, F. (2007). Social dynamics of obesity. Economic Inquiry, 45(3), pp. 571-591.
  • Herman, C.P., Roth, D.A. and Polivy, J. (2003). Effects of the presence of others on food intake: A normative interpretation. Psychological Bulletin, 129(6), pp.873-886.
  • McFerran, B., Dahl, D. W., Fitzsimons, G. J. and Morales, A. C. (2010). I'll have what she's having: Effects of social influence and body type on the food choices of others. Journal of Consumer Research, 36(6), pp. 915-929.

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