Research has shown weight loss followed by successful weight management is key to tackling many public health issues. Despite the high prevalence of obesity in the UK, we also need to consider vulnerable groups like the elderly who need assistance to gain weight.
Detailed protocols are developed in dialogue with our clients and draw from our full portfolio to tailor our services to meet the exact requirements.

Depending on the nature of the study, elements from our Metabolic Testing and Food Component and Activity range of services can be included.

Human intervention studies are designed to meet the exact needs of each client and can include:

Appetite Control and Satiety
These types of studies investigate the feeling of fullness and desire to eat, leading up to and after consumption of a food product in people.

Satiety and appetite control can be measured by employing a Visual Analogue Scale, before product consumption and up to three hours post consumption, where the participant records how hungry they feel, how full they feel etc. Participants also partake in an ad libitum meal (free to eat as much as you want) to test how much they can eat. This test would be run before an intervention and at the end of an intervention for comparison. A long term intervention could involve behavioural changes, information sessions or daily consumption of a test product. Alternatively, the amount of an ad libitum meal consumed after a preload drink or meal can also give insights into the impact of the pre-load on individuals.

Laboratory studies for this research allow for a greater degree of sensitivity in the results, and tighter control over the intervention compared to when subjects are free-living. We can run small (20 participants) to larger (over 100 participants) scale studies over a period of time, typically 4 weeks. We can assess an intervention or a one-off test, comparing a control day to a test product day. We have skilled professionals who can recruit participants with various criteria within clinical populations or the general public.
Body Composition
Body composition is distribution of body mass between different components such as fat mass, fat free mass and body water. Body composition measurements therefore include body fat and fat free mass percentages, as well as the absolute value in kilograms. Knowledge of body composition is important, as weight and BMI do not consider muscle mass, and body fat percentage is an independent risk factor for certain lifestyle diseases.

Here at the Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health we have multiple ways that body composition can be measured, including the use of the BODPOD, BioImpedance and Ultrasound.

For all of our studies, we provide a detailed breakdown of the body composition as part of the participant demographics, via a TANITA bio impedance analyser and can include waist and hip circumference measurements.

The Centre’s BODPOD, is a highly accurate, detailed and non-invasive way to measure: body fat %, fat free mass %, fat mass (kg), fat free mass (kg), resting metabolic rate (estimated) and total energy expenditure (estimated). This is achieved via a technique known as air displacement plethysmography, the user sits inside the BODPOD chamber for 3 minutes, and hence this is a very time efficient, reliable and method to instantly calculate body composition.

We do not however recommend using the BODPOD for all population groups and so can offer alternative methods ie ultrasound. B-mode ultrasound is a novel body composition method, utilising a standardised methodology for assessment of subcutaneous adipose tissue, which has been shown to have excellent levels of reliability and validity, in several populations including those with adiposity. Additionally, using bioimpedance would allow for assessment of water and skeletal muscle mass.
Food Intake
Measuring food intake gives an insight into the participant’s diet. This could be used to look at the effect of social-economical factors or the impact of diseases on certain populations. Measuring food intake can also look to see the effect of an intervention or simply be used to check compliance in a study. The data can be analysed using software to breakdown participants’ diet at a nutrient level.

There are a number of ways to measure food intake as part of a study, 24 hour food recalls, food frequency questionnaires and food diary. Food diaries are typically collected for 3 day periods, often including weekend and weekdays to assess the full picture. If you require participants to maintain the same diet for a period of time, for example, standardisation before a test day, food diaries are a way to ensure compliance.
Diet Induced Thermogenesis
Diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT) is the amount of energy required for the absorption and metabolism of food and represents 10% of the total energy expenditure.

Thermogenesis is the production of heat. When you eat thermogenesis increases which leads to increased calorie burning and ultimately energy expenditure. This is commonly measured as the increase in energy expenditure above the basal metabolic rate. The proportion of protein, carbohydrate and fat within a meal can have an effect on diet induced thermogenesis, with the energy and protein content of a meal having an important effect. With the recent rediscovery of brown adipose tissue (fat), interest in diet induced thermogenesis has risen rapidly.

We calculate DIT from the results by testing participants with a ventilated hood indirect calorimeter system, as the increase of energy expenditure per minute rises above pre-meal values.
Weight Loss and Maintenance
We can help with designing studies to measure the impact of a test food or product on weight loss or weight maintenance. We also look at various other inventions to help weight loss such as lifestyle, diet and exercise.

Studies typically last 12 weeks (it is recommended that weight loss is between 0.5-1kg per week) and we would recruit between 40 to 80 participants, depending on the study objectives. In addition to measuring waist, hip and arm circumference, we would employ body composition measurements via bioimpedance, our BODPOD or B-mode ultrasound at least three times in a 12-week study. Additionally, to ensure rigid compliance and to standardise the participants’ diets during the study, food can be supplied for every meal with instructions and contact is kept with participants to ensure compliance with the study protocol.
Weight Gain for Vulnerable Groups
While obesity is on the rise in the UK and around the world some studies are looking to help certain population groups gain weight. We have strong links with a number of populations classed as vulnerable and specialise in the recruitment and trials of these groups. We closely monitor the weight and body composition of the participants during the length of the trials, using suitable techniques as described in body composition, which typically last at least 12 weeks to see a significant change.

Accurate testing by expert scientists

If you wish to have further information on any of the above testing or  have any other services that are required and not listed please do get in touch.