Food nanotechnology: water is the key to lowering the energy density of processed foods

Nutr Health. 2011;20(3-4):231-6. doi: 10.1177/026010601102000406.


It is crucial that emergent technologies create foods that help prevent the causal mechanisms of the diet induced disease epidemic. Food nanotechnology could create modem convenience foods that mimic and improve on the nutritional value of the most nutritious cooked wild foods for humans. Structuring a solid processed food similar to a celery stalk using self-assembled, water-filled, edible nanocells or nanotubes would substantially lower its energy density (<1.6 kcal g(-1)). Food technologists could harness the natural turgor force to produce a firm chocolate bar, biscuit or breakfast cereal with a good bite, without altering the appearance or taste of the product. Water carries flavour with few calories, and taste sensation per mouthful could be improved by processing food on the nanoscale to increase the surface area that is in contact with taste and smell receptors. The bioavailable nutrient content (including cofactors) of processed foods could be increased by existing bioactive nanoencapsulation. This would allow people to continue to consume modern convenience food on a mass scale, while simultaneously and significantly increasing nutrient intake and reducing energy intake per day. Thus, helping to reduce mental ill health, obesity and other postprandial insults.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Energy Intake*
  • Fast Foods*
  • Food Technology / methods*
  • Humans
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Water*


  • Water