PhD student: Anaïs Hasenböhler

Title: Impact of industrial food (additives, process-related contaminants) on health: observational and mechanistic epidemiological approach

Supervisor(s): Dr Mathilde Touvier

Doctoral school: ED Galilée

Promotion: 2023

Funding: University Sorbonne Paris Nord

Thesis abstract: The consumption ‘ultra-processed’ industrial foods is constantly on the increase, as is the number of studies, notably from the CRESS-EREN/NutriNet-Santé team, establishing a link between this consumption and an increased risk of various pathologies (e.g. cancers, cardiovascular diseases). However, understanding the factors and mechanisms involved remains a major challenge.

The main hypotheses concern the presence of certain additives and other industrial substances, as well as contaminants formed during processing or from packaging.

To date, most of the evidence has been obtained from in vitro/in vivo studies, and human data is virtually non-existent due to the lack of detailed food data from previous epidemiological studies. These scientific hurdles will be overcome thanks to the new and unique tools developed in the NutriNet-Santé cohort (n=174000) to better understand the impact of food processing on long-term health.

This thesis will provide new knowledge on two specific additives that have not yet been studied and that are highly strategic because of their potential risks suggested by experimental studies (monosodium glutamate and sulphites) and on various contaminants. This knowledge will feed into the expertise of national and international health agencies, helping to guide the development of EU policies for the nutritional prevention of chronic diseases.


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