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August 2009

Healthy Diets Include Nuts

The inclusion of nuts, both tree (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts) and ground (peanuts), into the diet improves lipid profiles and likely lowers cardiovascular disease risk.  The evidence is sufficiently strong that the FDA approved a qualified health claim on the issue.  Complimentary data indicates that moderate nut consumption poses little risk for weight gain.  This is due to the fact that nuts: A) are filling so they reduced energy intake from other sources; B) may increase energy expenditure; and C) are not efficiently digested resulting in a loss of a portion of their energy from the body.  As recommendations to increase nut consumption appear, new questions have arisen.  One concerns the effects of flavoring nuts (e.g., salting, honey roasting) on lipid profiles and energy intake.  To address this question, Fiona McKiernan recently completed a trial that explored the effects of ingesting raw, roasted, roasted and salted and honey-roasted peanuts daily for a month on serum lipids and energy intake.  The effects were comparable across the tested forms.  All led to reduced total and LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides in participants starting the trial with elevated concentrations of these blood constituents.  The added variety the seasonings provide to nuts should enhance their appeal and regular consumption. 

Another question is whether there are other health effects of nut consumption.  There are preliminary data suggesting consumption may hold benefits for gut health and selected disorders including diabetes and cancer.  Alisa Mori is presently engaged in a study at Purdue with almonds and collaborators at the University of Vicosa in Brazil are conducting a study with peanuts exploring the effects of nut consumption of blood sugar control.   The findings should help to define the role of nuts in diet of diabetic individuals. For more information, contact Dr. Rick Mattes at: mattes@purdue.edu.

Over 470 childcare providers from throughout the state of Indiana attended 19 workshops during the month of June hosted by Purdue Extension and the Indiana Department of Education. Barb Mayfield, continuing lecturer in Foods and Nutrition was the creator of the workshops.

A review of Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) menus documented a need for an increase in the variety of:  fruits and vegetables; whole-grain products; and lean meat/meat alternate selections.  To meet this need, child care foodservice staff must have the necessary knowledge and skills for planning and preparing healthy and appealing meals and snacks.                                                             

 Indiana received a USDA 2007 Team Nutrition Training Grant to implement a statewide plan to train child care food service staff on planning and preparing meals and snacks that comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid.  The Indiana Department of Education partnered with Purdue University to address these needs.  Resource materials and video-based trainings were created for use with the nineteen workshops, which were held throughout the state in June, 2009.  Staff were motivated and inspired to create a total environment that recognizes the role of quality nutrition education and positive adult role modeling for children to build lifelong healthy beliefs and behaviors.  Ideas were presented for encouraging children to consume more fruits and vegetables, whole-grain products, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, and lean meat and lean meat alternatives. 

Participants who attended the workshops enhanced their knowledge and skills in the areas of child nutrition, menu planning, recipes, food preparation and food safety. Over 35 Purdue Extension Consumer and Family Sciences Educators presented the workshops with assistance from the CACFP and Team Nutrition staff.  Pre/Post workshop assessments are currently being analyzed by Purdue.

 Initial comments from workshop participants have been positive and indicate goal-setting to improve their food service environment and menus. Video-based training resources will also be created that will be accessible across the country online for others to replicate these workshops. 

Contact Barb Mayfield, bmayfield@purdue.edu for more


Foods and Nutrition Honors Students are Outstanding (Part 3 of 3)

Ten outstanding F&N seniors were honored for their hard work and accomplishments in May 2009 through their Honor’s Project. The Honor’s Project is a program open to students with a GPA >3.2. Students discover F&N research labs and work with a faculty mentor to conduct research or develop a program. Students must complete and present a research/scholarly study and have completed 6 credit hours of independent study to graduate with honors.

The first two groups of student projects were highlighted in June and July and the final projects are highlighted here.

Chelsea Kingston – Chelsea completed her Honor’s Project with Mrs. Barb Mayfield. She developed and evaluated a tool to assess frequency of family meals, characteristic of mealtime environment and fruit and vegetable consumption in families served by WIC, EFNEP and FNP, the programs targeted by Indiana’s State Nutrition Action Plan (SNAP).

Erin Harpenau – Erin’s Honor’s Project was completed under her faculty mentor, Dr. Dorothy Teegarden. Her project focused on vitamin D and breast cancer.


Sarah Thomas – Sarah worked under her faculty mentor, Dr. Wayne Campbell while completing her Honor’s Project, “The Effects of Dietary Protein and Meal Frequency on Appetite During Weight Loss” 

Brittany Behrens – Brittany’s Honor’s Project was conductedwith her faculty mentor Dr. Megan McCrory. Her project is titled: “Breakfast Association with Adiposity in Adults:Methodological Considerations"

For more information on F&N student Honor’s Projects, contact Dr. Kim Buhman at kbuhman@purdue.edu

Foods & Nutrition Department
Stone Hall, Room 213
700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN

Phone: (765) 494-8228
Fax: (765) 494-0674

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