Graduate student Aslaug Angelsen has achieved a remarkable feat under the supervison of MediaFutures’ director Christoph Trattner and Associate Professor Alain Starke. Angelsen has succeeded in having her research article, which builds upon her master’s thesis, accepted for publication in the prominent journal, Nature Food.

Submitting a paper for publication in an academic journal is not an easy task. The research must be of high quality, offer meaningful contributions to the field, and adhere to the journal’s strict formatting and style guidelines. Additionally, the research must pass a rigorous peer-review process. Given the demanding nature of the undertaking, it is not surprising that only a small proportion of master students opt for disseminating their scholarly work through scientific journals.

“Publishing master’s thesis results in scientific journals is rather uncommon, primarily due to the methods, data collected, and the quality of results produced. While they may often contain preliminary research findings, they are not as comprehensive or exhaustive as doctoral dissertations or a fully-fledged research project. As such, they often don’t merit publication in scientific journals. However, exceptional cases do exist”, says professor Christoph Trattner, MediaFutures’ director and main supervisor of Aslaug Angelsen’s thesis.

Aslaug Angelsen, University of Bergen’s alumna, is one such case. In 2022, Angelsen successfully defended her master’s thesis on the sustainability of dinner recipes.

“Following the culmination of my research and successful completion of my MSc program in clinical nutrition at the University of Bergen, I was encouraged by my supervisor professor Christoph Trattner to convert my master thesis and make an attempt to publish it in academic journal”, says Angelsen.

Rising to the challenge, Angelsen succeeded in the endeavor. The research paper “Healthiness and environmental impact of dinner recipes vary widely across developed countries”, which builds on the alumna’s master thesis research, has recently got accepted for publication in Nature Food.

The work published by Aslaug Angelsen as the first author and Associate Professor Alain Starke and Professor Christoph Trattner as co-authors builds upon data and research findings of previous work of Trattner et al., investigating online user interactions with foods and correlations with obesity, diabetes, and climate change issues in countries on a global scale.

Invaluable throughout the process

MediaFutures’ director, Christoph Trattner, and Associate Professor Alain Starke played a pivotal role in the transformation of Aslaug Angelsen’s master’s thesis into an academic article. Their expert guidance and support proved to be invaluable throughout the entire  process, helping to refine and shape the research to meet the rigorous standards of a leading academic journal.

Angelsen recalls: “Both professor Trattner and Starke served as excellent sparring partners, engaging in insightful discussions, and providing constructive feedback. Their contributions helped me refine the phrasing and presentation of the scientific results”.

“We take a great pride in Aslaug’s achievement, which is a prime example of our students making significant scientific contributions to our on-going research. It’s been a pleasure working with such a bright and dedicated master’s student”, says Christoph Trattner, director of MediaFutures. Along with professor Starke, he is thrilled to have been a part of Angelsen’s success.

Health and environmental impact of dinner recipes: a cross-country comparison

Although food ingredients are well-studied, little is known about the healthiness and environmental impact of recipes. To address this knowledge gap, Angelsen analyzed 600 dinner recipes from Norway, the UK, and the United States of America, sourced from cookbooks and the internet.

The study builds upon research and data collected by Trattner et al. since 2014 and revealed that recipe healthiness varied significantly depending on the healthiness indicator used. While more than 70% of recipes were classified as healthy based on at least one front-of-pack label, less than 1% met all dietary guidelines. The study also found that recipes from the USA, which contained more red meat, had a higher environmental impact compared to those from Norway and the UK.

The research paper can be accessed here.

Previous work of Trattner et al.: 

* Monitoring obesity prevalence in the United States through bookmarking activities in online food portals. Trattner, C., Parra, D. and Elsweiler, D. PLOS ONE 12(6), 2017.

* Estimating the Healthiness of Internet Recipes: A Cross-Sectional Study. Trattner, C. Elsweiler, D. and Simon, H. Frontiers in Public Health, 2017.

* Investigating the Healthiness of Internet-Sourced Recipes: Implications for Meal Planning and Recommender Systems. Trattner, C. and Elsweiler, D. In Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference (WWW), 2017.