Wholemeal is the new white!

By Katerina Sakellaropoulou, Stage 1 MDiet student

Hello everyone! My name is Katerina Sakellaropoulou and I’m a first-year MDiet student at Newcastle University, from Greece.

I don’t know about you, but for me bread often accompanies most meals of my day. From simple avocado or beans on toast, to egg salad sandwiches to even those amazing “croque madames” served for Sunday brunch. Let’s face it, bread or flour are impossible to avoid, and why would you?

Choosing the right one can be quite challenging though: white, sourdough, tiger, angel, stotty, wholemeal, multigrain, brioche, rye, pita, naan… I’m not even done listing them and I am already out of breath.

Earlier this academic year I had the chance to attend an incredible 2-hour session with Dr Andrew Wilkinson  as a guest speaker. This was part of the Food Studies module on the MDiet course, with Ms Alison Barnes as the module lead.

Little did I know but my relationship with bread was going to be forever changed. Dr Wilkinson’s presentation made me realise there was so much more to learn when buying a loaf of bread at the supermarket. What about soil health, milling quality, agricultural chemical residues, grain anatomy?! Not to mention the biggest question of all…

White or wholemeal bread?

I am not going to go into much detail but the answer is… Go for wholemeal or rye bread!

Perfecting the wholemeal recipe.

Why? Because of the higher content of dietary fibre, low glycaemic index (slower raise of blood sugar levels), and 100% ground whole grains, all meaning that the macro- and micro-nutrients stored in bran are now available on your plate; not to mention protein, zinc, and iron found in wheat grain.

To put this into perspective, if white flour was to be produced, all the stored macro- and micro-nutrients a grain has at the outer part (the bran, endosperm and aleurone layer) are removed during milling, resulting in white flour with minimal nutritional value. That’s where flour fortification comes in; according to UK law, flour needs to be fortified with calcium, B-vitamins and iron.

Food for thought: wholemeal stoneground flour is exempt from fortification.

After learning all this, I found myself searching for different brands that make “honest” wholemeal bread. Most wholemeal loafs were disappointing, with small percentages of wheat flour, added granulated or even caramelised sugar, palm oil (not sustainable), rapeseed oil, high salt content and preservatives.

I started to wonder how difficult making my own bread was going to be. I had a long talk with my family explaining all my findings and we were all intrigued to find a solution. An hour later we decided to do a 30-day challenge. These types of challenges seem to be getting quite popular during the pandemic, so we gave it a go and agreed to only consume homemade wholemeal bread for a month. We ordered a 6kg bag of wholemeal stoneground flour from a farm just outside Athens, Greece, and hoped for the best.

The best Mediterranean toppings can include feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, olives, oregano and capers.

It’s been almost 4 months since then and we would never go back. Making bread has become a weekly ritual that everyone can get involved in. Sometimes we add olives or feta cheese or halved cherry tomatoes or even rosemary, to change things up.

As a student dietitian it’s important to understand how the human body works, the underlying biochemistry, energy production, macro- and micro-nutrients and so much more. In addition, being able to use nutrition in our favour is equally important. Understanding the origin of the food is key to why a high-quality wholemeal bread can satisfy you for longer compared to white bread.

Fresh homemade bread with a mix of all Meditteranean toppings that tastes just like summer.

Why do we need dietary fibre, and what types of food offer that? All these questions have started to make sense, as I progress through my first year on the MDiet course. I am excited to see what the future holds but I am already feeling grateful for choosing a program that offers me scientific as well as in depth nutrition knowledge that applies to real life scenarios.

After 4 months of baking our own bread, not to mention many failed attempts, I think I finally have found the perfect balanced recipe for homemade bread. Watch the video below to find out how you can make wholemeal beer bread (that takes less than 45 mins to make) as well as traditional wholemeal bread:

If you made it to the end, I want to thank you for reading though my very first blog. I also want to thank our amazing program lead Ms Susan Lennie for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences as well as Ms Alison Barnes and Dr Andrew Wilkinson who gave me the knowledge I needed to make some lifetime changes.

Until next time,


Why Study Abroad?

By Dr Carys Watts

Going abroad may be a week’s holiday, or to some it’s going global or for longer, but have you ever thought about studying abroad as part of your Newcastle University degree? You could study abroad for a few weeks or up to an entire year, and it could change your perspective forever.

‘I can honestly say it was the best time of my life’– Eleanor (semester at Monash University, Melbourne)

Did you know you can study language modules for free at Newcastle?

I’m not sure it is for me

So you may think of reasons why not to do it, but there are loads of great reasons to give it a try: Continue reading “Why Study Abroad?”

My top tips for starting university when living with disability or long-term medical condition

By Caroline McKenzie

Moving to uni can be lots of change for anybody. When you’re also living with a disability or a medical condition, getting through each day, let alone being able to study can be a challenge.

I’ve just finished my first year studying biochemistry and living and learning with physical disability has often been hard! I thought I’d share a few things that have helped, and so here are my practical top tips for starting university for those living with disability/long term medical condition.

Me on my scooter outside the med school

Get a Support Plan

A Student Support Plan (SSP) looks at all aspects of learning and possible adaptations that you may need, you get these from Student Wellbeing. Meet up with your disability advisor as soon as possible, the sooner you get this in place the sooner adaptions can be made. They will be aware of things you can utilise that perhaps you didn’t realise- for me that included creating a Personal Evacuation Plan (PEP) for when there were fire alarms! Continue reading “My top tips for starting university when living with disability or long-term medical condition”

Dear International [and UK] Fresher – You CAN do it!

By Simona Jogaudaite (2nd Year Biomed Sciences)

With a flight ticket in my hand, I can still remember being so nervous and so excited at the same time before starting a new chapter of my life – university.  

My big flight to the UK from Lithuania

“How did you handle that?” you may ask. Here’re my answers and top tips you.


You think the British accent is hard to understand? Well, you haven‘t heard the Geordie accent then. I remember it was my first day in Newcastle and my flatmate texted me: “alreet”.  Continue reading “Dear International [and UK] Fresher – You CAN do it!”

New year, new name, new state of the art facilities!

An exciting year ahead! By Dr Debbie Bevitt

It’s nearly the start of the new academic year and the School is buzzing as we prepare to welcome our new Stage 1 students – and of course to welcome back our existing students!

Dr Debbie Bevitt, our Head of School

We have an exciting year ahead, including a new name for the school and two major building developments which will provide much needed additional study space and specialist facilities for our students.

We have a new name!

Continue reading “New year, new name, new state of the art facilities!”

Celebrating International Women’s Day – Women in Science Blog Competition

Women make, and have made, vital contributions to science.  This is a statement that should not need to be said, but too often women have not received the credit they deserve.

This year to highlight the achievements of Women in Science we ran a blog competition in the School of Biomedical Sciences.  The challenge was to write a blog to highlight the contribution women have made to science.

The 2019 winner was Lilla Marshall (2nd year pharmacology), receiving £50. The close runner up was Caitlin Cosimini (Stage 3 Biomedical Sciences), congratulation to both, here is Lillia’s blog.

Lilla Marshall, winner of the ‘Women in Science’ blog competition 2019

Three Interesting Tales of Women in Science

By Lilla Marshall

Historically, science has been dominated by men. Since the year 2000, only 12.7% of Nobel Prizes for Physiology and Medicine have been awarded to women.

I wasn’t the best in my stats module last semester, but even I can see the problem there. Even in popular culture, if you asked the general public to name as many female scientists as they could – the majority would say Marie Curie and “that lady who had her work on DNA stolen” (meaning Rosalind Franklin).

Continue reading “Celebrating International Women’s Day – Women in Science Blog Competition”

Meet the Employability Ambassadors

Meet the Employability Ambassador Team 2018-2019

Want to make yourself more employable? Well, we are here to help!
As employability ambassadors, we are keen to assist School of Biomedical Sciences students like you in their career development and to help prepare you for life after university. Whether you want advice on placements, work experience, mentoring or just need some guidance on how to structure your CV, please let us know.

Keep an eye on Blackboard community and your emails for our upcoming events!

Check out the careers service events page for what workshops the careers service have coming up including CV writing, interview practice, assessment centres, recruitment fairs, journalism, starting your own business, careers fairs and lots more! Continue reading “Meet the Employability Ambassadors”

New business ideas grown in Newcastle

By John Cornilious – Student Enterprise Ambassador, and Stage 3 Biomedical Sciences

Newcastle University showcased some of its up and coming entrepreneurs at the 2018 Start Up Business Expo. Student Enterprise Ambassador John went along to meet the innovators (including one of our School of Biomedical Sciences alumni) and to find out how the University supports new business ideas. Hear what he found out at the event and about some of the interesting entrepreneurs he met.

Stage 3 Biomedical Sciences Student John Cornilius, the Schools' Student Enterprise Ambassador

Stage 3 Biomedical Sciences Student John Cornilious, the Schools’ Student Enterprise Ambassador Continue reading “New business ideas grown in Newcastle”

Becoming Sport & Exercise Scientists

With a tough season ahead, Newcastle University Rugby Union Performance Squad enlisted the help of staff and students from Sport and Exercise Science to perform physiological testing to inform the squads training and preparation.  Seven second year Sport and Exercise Science students lead the physiological testing of the squad in collaboration with academic staff, technical staff and the Squad’s strength and conditioning coach.  It was a real team effort to ensure the day ran smoothly and that all athletes put in their best efforts. Continue reading “Becoming Sport & Exercise Scientists”


Inspiring the next generation of scientists is fun but not always easy, especially when they haven’t even decided to become scientists yet!

Our SOLAR outreach team engaged and inspired primary school children at the recent STEMtastic event, organised by the West End School’s Trust (WEST) and held in the Discovery Museum‘s Great Hall. Continue reading “STEMtastic!”