Nutrition and Food Studies Research:
Food Science

CHHS  >  NFS  >  Research

What is food science?

Food science is the application of scientific methods and principles to food.  The Institute of Food Technologists defines it as the “study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food; and the concepts underlying food processing.” Different specialties under the umbrella of food science include food chemistry, food microbiology, food engineering, and sensory science.

How does Mason approach food science?

Food science and nutrition are intertwined. At every step between the farm and your table, food science is used to determine best practices for producing, preserving, packaging, shipping, and storing foods. Food science is also critical to monitoring and ensuring the safety of our modern food supply. We recognize that food science can be used to make heavily processed, calorie-dense, nutrient-void foods, and that is how it is often viewed. However, food science can also be used to improve the nutrient profile in foods, keep foods safe, and understand the nutrient content of foods. We believe our students are better nutritionists because they learn basic food science concepts alongside nutrition.

Examples of current and past projects and activities

Courses which include some component of food science:  

  • NUTR 515 - Fundamentals of Cooking
  • NUTR 420/520 - Introduction to Wine and Beer
  • NUTR 570 - Food Science for Nutritionists
  • NUTR 610 - Food Safety and Defense
  • NUTR 642 - Macronutrients
  • NUTR 644 - Micronutrients
  • NUTR 670 - Nutrition Research Methods

Past and current research projects involving food science:

  • Validating the use natural spice antioxidants to preserve omega-3 content and prevent off-flavors in a fish product
  • Measuring the anthocyanin content of processed foods
  • Antioxidant activity of dietary supplements and food extracts