School of Medical Sciences

Dietary intervention studies - Metabolic Unit

Principal investigator


The Human Nutrition Unit is a facility run as a collaboration between the Department of Medicine and Clinical Biochemistry within the School of Biological Sciences. The unit specialises in highly controlled, residential, nutrition intervention trials from which the direct effect of diet on a range of disease states can be assessed. Research focuses mainly on dietary macro and micronutrients and their effects on later adult disease (CVD). Healthy volunteer subjects or at risk patients who take part in the studies live at the unit for up to four weeks at a time, eating all of their meals under supervision of the investigators. Whilst they are free to come and go as they choose during the day, attending work or college in many cases, they may eat only the foods provided for them by the metabolic kitchen. As such, it is possible to make changes in individual nutrients within the diet and evaluate these changes on biochemical risk factors known to be important in the initiation or progression of NIDDM, CVD or other disease states.

Selected references

McDevitt R.M., Poppitt S.D., Murgatroyd P.R., Prentice A.M. (2000) Macronutrient disposal during controlled overfeeding with glucose, fructose, sucrose or fat in lean and obese women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 72:369-77.

Stubbs R.J., Johnstone A.M., O'Reilly L.M., Poppitt S.D. (1998) Methodological issues relating to the measurement of food, energy and nutrient intake in human laboratory-based studies. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 57:357-72.

Poppitt S.D., Swann D.L. (1998) Dietary manipulation and energy compensation: does the intermittent use of low-fat items in the diet reduce total energy intake, in free-feeding lean men? International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 22:1024-31.