Anne-Maria Pajari

Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Helsinki


University Lecturer/Adjunct Professor Anne-Maria Pajari is a nutritional physiologist, with research interests focused on the molecular mechanisms by which diets, foods and diet-derived compounds mediate their effects on health and prevention of non-communicable diseases. Main interest of her research group is concentrated in gut physiology, metabolism and microbiota composition. She is particularly interested in the effects of berries, plant-based foods and their polyphenols as well as dietary proteins on the development and risk of colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes. She utilises clinical trials, cell cultures, and animal models in her research.


Plant proteins: physiological insights

Transition from Western type, high animal-protein diets towards more plant protein –based diets has been suggested as a solution to decrease the environmental burden of food system and, at the same time, to promote health and prevent chronic diseases. We conducted a controlled, randomised clinical trial with 136 healthy adult volunteers to study the effects of partially replacing dietary animal proteins with plant protein sources on nutrient intakes and status biomarkers, metabolic and gut health, and biomarkers of T2D and colorectal cancer. Taken together, the results indicate that the replacement may promote particularly gut health but may cause some concern with adequate intakes of certain micronutrients.