Rebecca Hagedorn, PhD Candidate in Animal and Food Science at West Virginia University and ISPP dietetic intern at the University of Arizona

Rebecca Hagedorn received her B.S. in Human Nutrition and Foods from West Virginia University and she is now completing her Ph.D. studies in the Animal and Food Science program at West Virginia University. She is an NIH T32 Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Trainee, a graduate of the Applied Biostatistics Certificate Program through the West Virginia University School of Public Health, and has advanced research training in behavioral analysis and experimental models. Rebecca has been a member of ASN since 2018. Read more


Jessica Soldavini, PhD Candidate in Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Graduate Research Assistant at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Jessica Soldavini received her B.S. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, with a focus in Dietetics, and received her M.P.H. in Community Health Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is now completing her Ph.D. studies in Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jessica is a Registered Dietitian and works as a Graduate Research Assistant with the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. She has been a member of ASN since 2017.


1. How did you first get involved in nutrition science and research? What led you to be interested in nutrition policy?

I first became interested in nutrition while I was in high school and decided that I wanted to become a Registered Dietitian. While studying nutritional science as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley I gained a variety of experiences Read more

The Impact of Open Access Publishing on Scholarly Publications and Scientific Societies

In September 2018, a group of European funding agencies launched “Plan S,” an initiative starting in 2020 that requires that scientific publications resulting from research funded by European funding agencies public grants must be published in Plan S-compliant open access journals or platforms. In December 2018, a delegation led by Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s special envoy on open access, visited with officials of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and other U.S. federal agencies as part of an effort to gain broad support for Plan S.

Scientific societies are evaluating the impact of Plan S on the societies’ scholarly publications if Plan S or a similar open access policy were initiated in the U.S. Learn more about open access publishing, Plan S, and the potential impact of open access publishing models on scholarly publishing and scientific societies.

Join us for a talk sponsored by the American Society for Nutrition and American Society of Animal Science

Monday, February 25, 2019, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
2325 Rayburn House Office Building
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Teresa A. Davis
Baylor College of Medicine Dept of Pediatrics
Dr. James Sartin
Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine


Plant-Based Milks

I don’t necessarily need to take milk products out of my diet. But as a consumer who is curious about cooking, nutrition, and innovative uses for ingredients, seeing non-dairy, plant-based milk alternatives seemingly everywhere I turn makes me curious to know more.


For some individuals, belly and headaches or allergic reactions make a switch from all things dairy to a non-dairy alternative a requisite reality beyond mere curious inquiry or choice. Others may switch from dairy because they like a different taste or texture, or want an additional nutrient that a milk alternative offers. Whatever the reason, there is quite a variety of dairy milk alternatives to choose from, for purposes as varied as morning coffee, cereal, smoothies, or mashed potatoes.


Here’s an overview of what you need to know about non-dairy, milk-alternative beverages. Read more

A logical start when we think about nutrition is the mouth. The mouth is the first point of entry for all nutrients, in the form of the food we consume. Oral health and periodontal disease and their connection to nutrition run bi-directionally, where several studies have shown associations between individual micronutrients and periodontitis [1, 2]. Additional associations have been found between cumulative histories of oral problems including untreated caries, poor oral health, dental pain, restorations, extractions, use of prosthetics and food insecurity [3].

Periodontitis is defined as an inflammatory disease of the supportive tissues of the teeth caused by microorganisms which result in progressive destruction of periodontal ligaments and alveolar bone [4]. Periodontitis impacts 40-90% of the world’s population and is one of the most prevalent epidemics globally. Several micronutrients also impact periodontal health and include vitamin A (carotenoids, β-carotene), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (α-tocopherol), glutathione and melatonin [5,6]. These anti-oxidants have been shown to help overcome reactive-oxygen species mediated inflammation present in periodontal tissue which leads to periodontitis.

It is estimated that 15.8 million children under the age of 18 years in the United States live in households that are unable to access nutritious food necessary for healthy growth on a consistent basis [7]. In addition, over-nutrition in the form of childhood obesity and overweight, particularly among lower income children, is compounded by a preponderance to more cariogenic foods. A study conducted in Japan documented association between high body mass index (BMI) and increased risk of periodontal disease among young adults [8]. An abundance of fast food, poor quality, high sugar and simple carbohydrate-based diets in lower income neighborhoods predispose children to the development of plaque, dental decay and caries [9, 10]. Inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables deprive children of the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development [10]. Proper oral health care started at a young age is essential to ensure good nutrition and oral hygiene into adolescence and adulthood.

Pregnant women are more prone to periodontitis, gingivitis and gingival hyperplasia. Increased secretion of estrogen during pregnancy has also been linked to periodontal disease during pregnancy [11]. Periodontal disease both during preconception and in pregnancy has been linked to adverse outcomes including premature birth, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, fetal loss, small for gestational age babies [12]. Antioxidant rich foods consumed during pregnancy, in addition to diets high in fiber and low in refined sugar are important to prevent periodontal disease. Improved oral hygiene is also essential.

In America, life spans have increased by upwards of 30 years in the last century. It is estimated that by 2050, people will live to an average age of 100 [13]. The elderly, in addition to children and pregnant women, are also susceptible to the impacts of nutrition on oral health. Among this age group, compromised oral health care, due to age-related factors such as tooth loss, use of oral prosthetics, a lack of appetite and mastication ability, in addition to altered taste and gastrointestinal conditions, are important concerns. An inability to consume certain foods due to difficulties with chewing and swallowing can compound food insecurity [14, 15]. Oral care in the elderly and customized nutrition to account for their complex needs is essential to ensure good quality of life.

The link between good oral health and nutrition is undeniable and complex. It is time for more concerted efforts to be made to link the two interconnected areas of health, across the lifespan. Increased efforts to educate oral health providers on the importance of nutrition education, in addition to ensuring proper nutrition security for at risk groups, will ensure healthy bodies and wide toothy smiles!



[1] Dommisch, Kuzmanova, Jonsson, Grant & Chapple. (2018). Effect of micronutrient malnutrition on periodontal disease and periodontal therapy. Periodontology 2000, 78, 129-153.

[2] Najeeb, S., Zafar, M.S., Khurshid, Z., Zohaib, S., & Almas, K. (2016). The role of nutrition in periodontal health: An update. Nutrients, 8, 530.

[3] Santin, G.C., Martins, C.C., Pordeus, I.A., & Ferreira, F.M. (2014). Food insecurity and oral health: A systematic review. Pesquisa Brasileira em Odontopediatria e Clinica Integrada, 144, 335-246.

[4] Newman, G.M., Takei, H.H., Klokkevol, R.P., Carranza, A.F. (2012). Carranza’s clinical periodontology. Classification of diseases and conditions affecting the periodontium. In Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology, 12th ed.; Michael, G.N., Henry, H.T., Perry, R.K., Fermin, A.C., Eds.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 45-67.

[5] Garcia, J.J., Reiter, R.J., Guerrero, J.M., Escames, G., Yu, B.P., Oh, C.S., & Munoz-Hoyos, A. (1997). Melatonin prevents changes in microsomal membrane fluidity during induced lipid peroxidation. FEBS Letters, 408, 297-300.

[6] Najeeb, S., Khurshid, Z., Zohaib, S., & Zafar, M.S. (2016). Therapeutic potential of melatonin in oral medicine and periodontology. Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences, 32, 391-396.

[7] Coleman-Jensen A, Gregory C, Singh A. (2014). Household Food Security in the United States in 2013. USDA ERS.

[8] Ekuni., D., Yamamoto, T., Koyama, R., Tsuneishi, M., Naito, K., & Tobe, K. (2008). Relationship between body mass index and periodontitis in young Japanese adults. Journal of Periodontitis Research, 43, 417-421.

[9] Moynihan P, Petersen PE. (2004). Diet, nutrition and the prevention of dental diseases. Public Health Nutrition, 7(1A):201-226.  Accessed 7/7/2015 at

[10] Edgar, W. (1993). Extrinsic and instinsic sugars: A review of recent UK recommendations on diet and caries. Caries Research, 27, 64-67.

[11] Hemalatha, V., Manigandan, T., Sarumathi, T., Aasthi Nisha, V., & Amudhan, A. (2013). Dental considerations in pregnancy – A critical review on oral care. Journal of Clinical Diagnostics Research, 7, 948.

[12] Ziegler, J., & Mobley, C.C. (2014). Pregnancy, child nutrition and oral health. Chapter 2: In Nutrition and Oral Medicine; Touger-Decker R., Mobley, C., & Epstein, J.B., Eds. Springer Science+Business Media, New York, pp. 19-37.

[13] Ham-Chande, R., (2005). Shapes and limits of longevity in Mexico. In proceedings of the living to 100 and beyond symposium, Orlando, FL, USA, 12-14 January 2005.

[14] Sheiham, A., & Steele, J. (2001). Does the condition of the mouth and teeth affect the ability to eat certain foods, nutrient and dietary intake and nutritional status amongst older people? Public Health Nutrition, 4, 797-803.

[15] Brodeur, J., Laurin, D., Vallee, R.,&  Lachapelle, D. (1993). Nutrient intake and gastrointestinal disorders related to masticatory performance in the edentulous elderly. Journal of Prosthetics and Dentistry, 70, 468-473.

Sweeteners_Sanae Ferreira

Sweeteners_Sanae Ferreira

In the case of Shakespeare, a rose is a rose is a rose – all smell sweet. But, in the case of sweeteners, the story is not quite so simple.


Here are a couple of scenarios that may look familiar to you:


– You’ve sat down at your favorite breakfast place, and your server has asked if you would like some coffee or tea while you consider the menu. A carafe appears, your cup is full, and you instinctively reach for the narrow box containing a rainbow of packets. You reach for one, but are curious about the rest – what are they really?

– You’re at the store, trying to buy something to drink, and there are words you don’t recognize on the label next to “sugar-free.”

Read more

Choose your own adventure: Which scenario do you identify with?

  1. You wake up crabby and groggy each morning, reluctantly rolling out of bed after hitting ‘snooze’ three times at a minimum. You curse the morning as you shock your system with a splash of cold water- a cruel, yet necessary ritual. You grab strong coffee and a slightly stale bear claw pastry as an afterthought on the way out the door. This caffeine/sugar combination gives you life for a few hours until you succumb to intense hunger pangs at 11:30am. Take-out lunch quenches the stomach rumbling and dulls your throbbing temples, and you turbulently sail until the 3 o’clock hour, after which point productivity squeals to a halt. More coffee, a fistful of candy from the office jar (and some nuts and carrots in a half-hearted attempt to be healthy) offer a temporary solution. 5pm rolls around, and you leave work in a ravenous, foggy state of mind. You planned to hit the gym, but a date with microwave dinner and Vino are the way to your heart tonight. Once home, you sigh a great, empty sigh as you kick your gym bag to the corner of your room and fall face-first on the couch in one fell swoop.
  2. You wake up as early morning light streams through the cracks in your blinds, pleasantly surprised your alarm clock is set to ring in two minutes. You lie still for a moment, calmly preparing for the day ahead. You move through your morning routine that leaves ample time for breakfast, coffee, and reading the paper. Your philosophy hasn’t failed you yet: ‘Make it fast, eat it slow’: Today’s breakfast is a chopped apple, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, and steel-cut oatmeal topped with honey and slivered almonds. You grab your lunch from the fridge (a colorful salmon, farro, roasted veggie and garbanzo bean salad prepped the night before) on the way out the door. Around 11:30am, you hear a chorus of yawns around your open-layout office; Although wide awake, your stomach gently requests more fuel. Lunch powers you through a productive afternoon with a walking meeting (your preference) and impressive brainstorm session for an exciting new research study that integrates Nutrition, Psychology, and Neuroscience. At 4pm, you re-fuel body and mind with walnuts and blueberries for your planned strength training workout. Energized once more, you grab dinner out with friends- your favorite way to socialize! Roasted herb chicken, bread with olive oil, kalamata olives, and caramelized seasonal vegetables are the way to your heart tonight. Although it’s been a full day, you feel mentally and physically strong.


The above scenarios differ like night and day; Although each is dramatized for effect, be honest- most of us can identify with one situation more strongly than the other. Go ahead and select the category that resonates most with you, and let’s dive deeper with a brief brainstorm. What factors make the above scenarios glaringly different?

  1. Person A failed to plan, and Person B practically has a degree in Life-Skills 101
  2. Person A’s job is a drain, while Person B is energized by his/her work
  3. Person A might suffer from depression, while Person B likely does not

So far, so good: Each observation is a deeper reflection of the individuals’ moods. Person A is lethargic, fatigued, unmotivated, and ‘empty,’ while Person B is energized, mentally sharp, mindfully present, and fulfilled.

Excellent, let’s pursue this lead! Consider this: What deeper, underlying factor might account for these distinct moods? Consider one more glaring difference between scenario A and B, this time considering trends in the foods consumed:

  1. Simple carbohydrates, high sodium, and high saturated fat, with a modest sprinkling of vitamins, minerals, and fiber from primarily packaged-foods
  2. Whole grains, lean protein, ample produce, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lots of fiber, probiotics, vitamins and minerals, and all primarily from whole-food sources

Credit: Easy Recipe Depot

Person A and B both know that their food choices influence their outward appearances- after all, you are what you eat! Digging deeper, however, we see that Person B still has an advantage: This person also understands that one’s food choices influence mental state and behavior! Whether intuitively or intentionally, this person knows a thing or two about an emerging research area called ‘Nutritional Psychiatry.’

Credit: Mind Brighton & Hove

Let’s briefly turn to the research to get the low-down on Nutritional Psychiatry:

If you begin your knowledge quest with a Google search of the term, you’ll find a variety of media reports and research foundations devoted to the topic. Case in point:

The Harvard Health blog published an article called “Food and Mood-Is there a connection?” This article articulates how certain dietary patterns may protect mental health. More specifically, a Mediterranean diet pattern rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and lean protein such as chicken and fish, and low in red meat and unhealthy fats may provide promising benefits. Important to note, however, is that one single dietary factor or lifestyle factor is unlikely to affect mental health independently.

The Conversation explains that although research is in early stages, “it is now known that many mental health conditions are caused by inflammation in the brain. This inflammatory response [may be] associated with a lack of nutrients…Recent research has shown that food supplements such as zinc, magnesium, omega 3, and vitamins B and D3 can help improve people’s mood, relieve anxiety and depression and improve the mental capacity of people with Alzheimer’s.

(Psst…see that hyperlink on ‘recent research?’ That’s a link to an original study! Click it, friends!)

-A research foundation called the International Society of Nutritional Psychiatry Research will direct you towards “high quality evidence for nutritional approaches to the prevention and treatment of mental disorders.”

Both sources are good places to start, but our search has just begun! You can either scour each article for links to official research studies written by the research teams themselves, and read such study (Rule of thumb: Media reports are for entertainment first, and comprehensive education second or third or fourth). Alternatively, you may turn to Pubmed and pull up a review article on ‘Nutritional Psychiatry.’ (What’s a review article? Aside from being my preferred, reader-friendly way to learn about science, here’s a description)

The fourth result in our original Google search is conveniently a link to a 2017 review paper called “Nutritional Psychiatry-Where to Next?” This article explains that “A consistent evidence base from the observational literature confirms that the quality of individuals’ diets is related to their risk for common mental disorders, such as depression.”

While promising so far, comprehensive research is still needed in this area, as articulately stated by the same authors: “Key challenges for the field are to…replicate, refine and scale up promising clinical and population level dietary strategies; identify a clear set of biological pathways and targets that mediate the identified associations; conduct scientifically rigorous nutraceutical and ‘psychobiotic’ interventions that also examine predictors of treatment response; conduct observational and experimental studies in psychosis focused on dietary and related risk factors and treatments; and continue to advocate for policy change to improve the food environment at the population level.”

Good Morning, American Society for Nutrition

June 8th: My suitcase wheels leave parallel trails of sand across the granite floor of the Boston Sheraton Hotel. The Smiling Coast of Africa sits 3,858 miles behind me. The inaugural ASN meeting awaits. I consume a lemon twist muffin in two bites. Good Morning, America.

Carrying spinach quiche and chocolate croissants, Nutrition 2018 attendees flock from corner cafes, hotel buffets, and caffeine collectives.  Someone probably enjoys a carb-less commute. We unite in the name of science. I open my Nutrition 2018 app: ‘Emotion Trumps Science. Why Science-based Facts are No Longer Enough to Educate the Public Effectively.’ I adjust my badge and gulp the last swig of cream-filled coffee. My blood sugar soars with glee. I steer towards the 3rd floor escalator.

As the world’s premiere nutrition society, Nutrition 2018 delivered an extensive nutrition experience. The greatest minds in nutrition science surrendered novel findings, shared the latest technologies, and strengthened existing partnerships. The exhaustive list of research themes made it impossible for patrons to attend every event. Here, I proffer one personal, fragmented, undeniably biased account of the proceedings:

The Hynes Convention Center fills with the familiar buzz of old friends, new members, and seasoned colleagues.  We navigate the sea of posters, search for friendly faces, and scurry up and down the stairs searching for the next symposium. While waiting outside the overflowing microbiome theater room, I overhear colleagues’ questions:

Do we promote muscadine grape extract, curcumin shots, supplement with flavonol-rich cocoa—or all three? We must finally decide on low calorie sweeteners. What is the best way to measure infant cognitive performance? How much longer must the nefarious GMO lurk in antipathy? What are the constraints and challenges in vegetable production (and distribution)? We discuss the success stories of various sectors.

Eating Behavior and Brain Function

June 9th: Cascades of cheese beckoned from the second floor corridor. I had traveled across the sea from a small West African village called Keneba, where I was incidentally engaged in a two-week fasting experiment. The Ramadan fast is a month-long, annual ritual involving prayer, empathy, abstaining from smoking and gossiping, curbing negative thoughts and anger, etc. How quickly I pile my plate with pita bread and drizzle the salad with a symphony of sauces.

It all goes back to an elementary principle my instructor wisely professed: everything in moderation. Easier said than done.

We continue to detect and characterize eating behavior, but numerous factors guide food and beverage choices. Somehow, we must muster some magic and change the way humans think. How in the world can we alter the behavior of such irrational creatures?

If repeated behaviors alter brain function, how long does it take to subsequently rewire those circuits? (The answer is certainly more than a two-week, well-intentioned Ramadan fast.) A recent study investigated whether prolonged fasting or weight loss influenced neural activity in obese participants and found that an 8-week weight loss intervention (but not a 48-hour fast), decreased activity in brain areas involved in feeding behavior and reward processing (1).

Nutrition and Nutrition Programs for School-Age Children

June 10th: At the front of the lunch line I peer across the ticket counter. Finished? “ASN is out of small sandwiches,” I whisper dismally.

Some of us know all too well the effects of a lackluster lunch. Many advocate for SNAP and other strategies within the United States. Around the world, stunting and childhood growth issues continue to puzzle scientists. How can we help children at risk for stunting grow taller? Wide gaps in the evidence for program effectiveness remain. Exposure to a comprehensive nutrition program among infants under 2 years old in Malawi led to a small but sustained increase in weight but not linear growth during the preschool-age period (2). Perhaps we will see intergenerational benefits of India’s national mid-day meal program— now in its third decade of implementation—but what is our next move (3)? Providing calories and vitamins alone probably won’t do.

Perhaps our programs are too late. What must an expectant mother eat to ensure her future child’s epigenome stays error-free? So far, little evidence indicates that the initiation of a comprehensive nutrition supplement during the preconception period prompts superior birth outcomes over initiation at the 1st and 2nd trimesters (4). However, maternal choline supplementation during pregnancy recently showed improvements in executive functioning in children at age 7 (5).

While global health experts consider blanket Vitamin-A supplementation and the prevalence of seasonal orange-palmed Zambian children (6), others discuss food matrix complexities, enteropathy, and protein needs. Much effort in international research is directed towards ending acute malnutrition and stunting (7). Understanding which ingredients might bolster resistance against infection, fight cancer, and curb HIV is still a great challenge.

Personalized Nutrition

June 11th: 3,500 scientists, clinicians, policy experts, 2018 Fellows, enamored students, emerging leaders, and placid professors unite as equals, once again, in the quest for finger foods.

To end the ASN Nutrition 2018 conference, we renew our commitment to food. Food remains timeless. The early fetus, picky adolescent, pregnant woman, professional athlete, and spindly senior must partake. However, one size does not fit all. We are moving fast towards diet profiling, setting the table for personally prescribed food provisions. Matching macronutrient composition and fiber content to an individual’s specific glucose metabolism and microbial makeup may improve weight loss outcomes and help some achieve optimum health (8).

Still, the evidence for fruit and vegetable consumption prevails. Dietary intakes of total flavonols and its more common subclasses might slow cognitive decline in aging adults (9). New links are being made between flavonoids, endothelial function, and vascular health (10). Other aspects of health are difficult to pick apart. The role of fruits and vegetables in psychological well-being is evident (11), but we must isolate it from other confounding factors. May the awe-inspiring intricacies of phytonutrients be realized forevermore?

“Good” and “Bad” Food Choices and Timely Interventions

June 12th: I promptly visit Trader Joe’s to pack my carry-on bag with exclusive, superior plane snacks. Armed with tomatillo salsa and olive tapenade, I lug my suitcase through Newark International Airport. Just thirty minutes after takeoff, the temptation is too great. My inability to refuse salty airplane pretzels must be related to a genetic polymorphism.

SNP or no SNP, I am a trained nutrition expert. Like so many Americans, I know what’s “good” and “bad,” yet I continue to make “bad” choices. Solve that scientific mystery!

If we begin at the earliest life stages, the American Heart Association recommends that children under 2-years avoid added sugar. A recent analysis of NHANES data showed that more than 80% of 6- to 23-month-olds consumed on average 4.2 teaspoons of added sugar (12). Timely interventions seem worthwhile. Repeated exposure can increase infants’ acceptance of initially disliked foods (e.g., dark leafy greens), but caregivers report lacking the persistence that is necessary to achieve acceptance (13).

Some innovative programs targeting adolescents have made great progress: cooking experience and family involvement was found to alter BMI in 4th graders (14); but can knowledge alone safeguard the child who ogles delicious discount chocolate bars at the checkout counter every afternoon?

Becoming Conscious Consumers

To test my metabolic flexibility, consumption continues in the Frankfurt airport terminal. I walk past ice cream cones and duty free Toblerone, but stop to savor the seed-covered, crusty, thick brick of dark brown bread. My subcortical neural networks (involved in homeostatic cognitive control and reward processing) jump for joy.

Americans are ravenous for the wrong things. Instead of being world-renowned for childhood obesity and portion sizes, let us strive to be known for our transformative innovations that precipitate a radical shift in our population’s health and happiness.

The war on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is being waged worldwide. High SSB consumption at 5-years is associated with higher BMI and risk of being overweight. However, if we are to modify our sugary beverage consumption, we must present alternative drinks as well as quantified directives (15). This is just one facet of the potbellied problem.

We need both blanket and tailored interventions to help us make better choices. Interventions focused on reducing bites, reducing eating rate, and taking more steps may be practical for those who are more prone to eating in response to external cues that are independent of internal hunger and satiety (16).

We shall not become supplement fairies and place omega-3’s under children’s pillows at night. We shall not wait for the blueberry crumble miracle pill, devoid of caloric content and formulated for our metabolic needs. We must engage the public and empower people to act. Somehow, we will start listening to what our bodies truly need, becoming more conscious and respectful consumers.

Dietary Behavior Tools, Systems, and Prevention Strategies

I board again in Brussels, Belgium. Surely, I do not have to explain irrational excitement over airplane food to you, nutrition scientist, or the pure thrill of peeling back the foil to reveal… surprisingly nice marinara raviolis, questionable coleslaw, and the obligatory bread roll. I am sandwiched between two tall Senegalese men still stifling Ramadan hunger pangs; they neatly pack away their lunches.

There is no feedback pathway that tells the body to absorb less when it consumes too much (the changes must come from deep within!). Online dietary behavior change tools can only reduce gestational weight gain if the pregnant population uses them (17). Whether it’s a food revolution or a shift in focus, we must (wince) make America healthy again.

What are the consequences if we don’t?

Digital imaging innovations promise to measure consumption, household purchases, and even food environments with increased accuracy (18, 19). Mobile and electronic-supported health care (eHealth and mHealth) will surely play a role in weight and eating interventions (20). Will insurance packages soon include dietetic nutrition counseling?

We must think about systems. We must share prevention strategies. We must reach more people—in school lunchrooms, household pantries, drive-through windows, and picnic baskets.

Inevitably, someone must also translate this science for every person who eats. We have orthorexia, anorexia, anemia, aflatoxin exposure, unauthorized cardiac events, and unwarranted childhood obesity. Our solutions must reflect the inequalities that exist.

American Society for Nutrition’s Role in Improving Health Through Nutrition

June 14th: Gambian sand resettles between my toes. The coastal air seeps into my skin. Piles of freshly fallen mangos greet me on the ground. I peel back the green membrane and sink my teeth into juicy, orange flesh. Good morning, Gambia.

However, I have also returned to a crisis of the worst kind. The Fula bakers are on strike. Breadmakers demand 7 dalasis (15 cents) for tapalapa (thick, delicious baguette made of unfortified white flour), but buyers refuse to pay more than the customary 6.

I buy breakfast beneath the baobab tree for 5 dalasis (10 cents), thicken it with milk powder, add peanut paste, and swirl in honey for a rich, energy-dense and delicious breakfast. Though this meal will likely improve my appetite, satiety levels, and snacking behaviors throughout the day, not many in the village would dare pay such a price for a protein punch.

At six o’clock, I mount my bicycle for the routine ride to Manduar. “Water is coming!” a Gambian boy exclaims as I quickly pedal past his field. Farmers look nervously and expectantly into the sky. Rural villages lack the abundance of markets, restaurants, and imported packaged foods available at the coast. The brief annual rains must yield enough groundnuts and maize to provide food for families until the following harvest.

Improvements in nutrition and agriculture will plot a different development trajectory for all countries. Global food insecurity remains a growing problem. Diet diversity is grim, both in America and worldwide. Americans value convenience: we stock our freezers full of microwave meals. Gambians enjoy meals largely limited to rice, heavily laden with oil and virtually void of vegetables.

We are the American Society for Nutrition. America is guilty of self-destructive food behaviors—learned, practiced, and engrained cultural habits that we must amend. This transformation has already begun. In 2028 we will celebrate our centenary; the ASN vision is due to expand. America maintains the ability to lead other countries, to stir momentum for a global movement of improved health through good nutrition. Unfinished business identified, we can position our society to serve the public and the world at large. As a society—embracing our role, responsibilities, and reach—we must continue to examine and explore these issues one bite at a time.


  1. A.van Opstal, Wijngaarden, Marjolein, Pijl, Hanno, van der Grond, Jeroen, Changes in brain activity after weight loss in obesity, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. K. Hurley, Exposure to comprehensive nutrition program among children 6-23m of age in Malawi led to sustained increase in weight but not linear growth during the preschool-age period, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. S. Scott, Intergenerational Benefits of India’s National School Feeding Program: Identifying a Path to Reduced Child Stunting in the Next Generation, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. N. Krebs, Impact of a preconception maternal nutrition intervention on birth length in 4 low middle income countries: the “Women First” trial, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. C. Bahnfleth, Enduring benefits of prenatal choline supplementation in 7-year olds: enhanced attention task performance, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. S. Tanumihardjo, Children: Biofortification of food and possiblevitaminA toxicity, Friday June 8, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. L. Larson, Meta-analysis of the Effects of Various Types of Early Life Interventions on Linear Growth vs. Neurodevelopment, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. A. Astrup, Personalized dietary management of obesity based on simple biomarkers, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.



  1. T. Holland, Dietary Intake of Flavonols May Slow Decline in Multiple Cognitive Abilities, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. S. Johnson, Flavonoid-rich Foods for Attenuating VascularEndothelial Dysfunction and Cardiovascular Risk with Aging, Saturday June 9, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. L. Jahns, The Role of Vegetables and Fruits in Psychological Well-Being, Monday June 11, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. K. Herrick, Consumption of added sugars among U.S. infants aged 6-23 months, 2011-2014, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. K. Moding, The Good Tastes Study: exploring caregiver feeding persistence and the roles of perceived infant liking, child temperament, and caregiver food neophobia, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. B. Lohse, Cooking experience and family involvement key to BMI change in a 4th grade school-based intervention, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.
  2. V. Malik, Principles for Establishing a Guidance System forBeverage Consumption, Saturday June 9, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. J. Beatty, Examining Weight-Related Eating Behaviors within an 8-Week Weight Loss Intervention, Saturday, June 9, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. C. Olson, Use of an online dietary behavior change tool: associations with reduced risk of excessive gestational weight gain, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. E. Shonkoff, Reliability and validity of digital images to assess plate waste in a restaurant setting, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. D. Brassard, Examining the Value of Using Multiple Web-Based Dietary Assessment Instruments to Measure Population Dietary Intake – The PREDISE Study, Sunday June 10, American Society for Nutrition 2018.


  1. J. G. Thomas, The Role of Technology in the Delivery of Behavioral Interventions, Saturday June 9, American Society for Nutrition 2018.

What do I eat? That is a question most people ask themselves at least once a day. Imagine getting a prescription from your physician and vetted by a nutritionist to cook certain foods at home. The prescription is tailored to your personal needs, and your care team has received training as health coaches to help you successfully implement this new plan. This is culinary medicine.

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Which consumer are you?

The astute academic or health professional: You have a degree (one or more) in nutrition, you have PubMed bookmarked on your internet browser, and you spend your days dispelling nutrition myths and/or researching the next nutrition breakthrough.

The health foodie. You scour wholesome recipes online, you already know the nutrition trends for 2019, you make detailed grocery lists like it’s your job, you’re a #mealprepsunday veteran, and always know where to find the best deals for natural/organic/raw/fresh eats.

The bachelor/broke student: Is it cheap? Edible? Delicious? Easy to prepare? If yes, it goes in the cart.

The athlete with phenomenal sport skills, and (developing) culinary know-how: You know that the foods you eat influence your athletic performance. You are game for eating better, under one condition: you need quick/easy foods that pack a nutritional punch.

The busy parent: There are lunches to make, picky eaters to feed, and you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed a calm, healthy mealtime at home. Grocery shopping is typically a stressful battle between your healthy intentions, and the little ones’ demands for sugary cereals and flashy marketing.

Photo Credit: Lifehacker

Whether you identify with one or multiple distinct categories listed here, each one is unified by a few common underlying themes:

We all eat.

We crave amazing flavors.

There are never enough hours in the day.

We really do have good intentions; We want to eat well.

Assuming we don’t grow/hunt/gather our own food, we cross paths with one another for a common purpose: Food Shopping! On that note, we’ve been exposed to the same rules of thumb for healthy grocery shopping:

-Shop the perimeter!

-Steer clear of the middle aisles!

The way I see it, there are two types of people in this world: Those who love the center aisles (but could use a little strategy for picking the best options), and those who openly shun those aisles (but are secretly curious to explore the forbidden foods within).

As a health professional, it’s my duty to pass along this tried-and-true advice. But as a real-life RD on a budget, I hear you: Those middle aisles are mighty tempting, so what’s a guy/girl to do?

Take a deep breath, direct that grocery cart towards those center aisles, keep your eye on the prize and walk with intention because you have a fool-proof plan. Healthy shoppers, unite! Today, you’ll conquer those middle aisles like the savvy consumer you are.

Photo Credit: The Sports Nutrition Coach

Your strategy: Divide and conquer by food group like so:

Whole grains, legumes, and pseudograins: Instant oatmeal, frozen brown rice or quinoa (that’s a pseudograin), ready-to-serve plain cooked rice, Grape Nuts (for impressive iron and fiber content), popcorn, Vaccuum packed pre-cooked lentils (that’s a legume), whole grain bread (can you find bread with 0-1g sugar per serving? Can you find fiber above 2g per serving?)

Fruits and vegetables: Frozen is your friend! These items are picked at peak ripeness and flash-frozen immediately afterwards. Canned items are fine as well (in light syrup or water). Can you get all colors of the rainbow?

Protein: Canned beans, canned tuna, canned chicken, canned salmon, frozen chicken strips (no breading), hummus

Dairy: single serve plain Greek yogurt (Ok, you’ll find this in the perishables, but this is too versatile not to include), string cheese

Fats: Olives, frozen Cool Whip, prepared guacamole

Snacks: Dark chocolate (Pro-tip: Pick one with single-digit grams sugar per serving), nuts (try pistachios, almonds, or walnuts), dried fruit, jerky, whole grain chips, hummus

Drinks: Chocolate milk

Spreads/flavorings: Sriracha, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, pesto

Photo credit: Smile Sandwich

 Once you return home from this über successful grocery trip, you’ll want to assemble some stellar meals using your new bounty. Try this one-day sample plan:

Breakfast: Yogurt cup topped with frozen fruit, Grape Nuts, nut butter (purchase single serve packets in a pinch!) Feeling extra hungry? Prepare a side of instant oatmeal

Lunch: Tuna sandwich (canned tuna mixed w/ mustard, Ezekiel bread). Side of green salad (found in deli section)

Snack: Handful of nuts, handful chips, and hummus

Post Workout: Classic PB&J, or chocolate milk

Dinner: Defrost that frozen rice, quinoa, or lentils, frozen veggies of choice, top w/ beans (and/or thawed ready-to-eat chicken), salsa, pre-made guacamole, and Sriracha

Dessert: 2-3 squares of dark chocolate, alongside frozen blueberries w/ a dollop of cream

Not everyone has a nutrition coach by their side, but you, ASN reader, have an edge. Use this guide to confidently navigate the previously forbidden center aisles. Print it, internalize it, share it. No nonsense, no gimmicks. Blasphemy? Hardly. Creative and backed in science? Absolutely.