PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

University of Rhode Island Nutrition study to help inform official USDA dietary guidelines

Professor Kathleen Melanson’s study, funded by $300,000 USDA grant, aims to provide context to ultra-processed food discussion

University of Rhode Island Nutrition study to help inform official USDA dietary guidelines
2024-02-12
(Press-News.org) Ultra-processed foods make up more than half the food average Americans eat. Including frozen and prepared meals, most packaged snacks, desserts and carbonated soft drinks—but also including more innocuous foods—they are often considered the bane of healthy eating, containing little to no nutrition to fuel healthy bodies.

However, “not all processed foods are created equal,” according to University of Rhode Island Nutrition Professor Kathleen Melanson. Evidence to support the assumption that ultra-processed foods are all bad for one’s health is limited, and the nutritional quality of processed foods has not been considered by official U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines. Melanson, along with Nutrition Department Chair Ingrid Lofgren, aims to help inform the newest guidelines, due out in 2025, as she begins a nutritional study funded by a $300,000 grant from the USDA.

“The classification of foods as ultra-processed is kind of nebulous and confusing,” Melanson said. “Consumers don’t understand what it means, and even researchers are in heated debates about classifying foods according to level of processing. Looking at just the process itself is very unidirectional, instead of considering other features of the food, most importantly the nutritional quality. Researchers tend to pigeon-hole foods, so our study is addressing a broader perspective to categorize food that takes into account not only processing, but also the nutritional quality.”

Ultra-processed foods can include what most refer to as “junk food,” like donuts, potato chips and soda. But “processed food” can mean something as simple as the skin being removed from a tomato before canning, or seasonings being added for taste. It can also mean that some foods have actually been improved nutritionally, such as whole grain breads or cereals that have been fortified with vitamins and minerals. Current nutritional guidelines do not delineate between positive and negative processing.

Melanson is seeking volunteers to visit her lab on the Kingston campus on three separate occasions, during which they will be served test meals to compare. One meal will be “the gold standard” of nutrition—minimally processed food with high nutritional value—and participants will compare it to one meal of highly ultra-processed food with high nutritional quality, and another of highly ultra-processed food with low nutritional quality.

“There are foods in the American food supply within that middle category that are ultra-processed, according to the categorization, yet they’re high in dietary fibers, they provide vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, protein, essential amino acids,” Melanson said. “These foods also tend to be more affordable and more convenient for consumers who have a tight budget or a tight schedule. We are trying to understand if they are OK compared to the gold standard for people who do have a tight budget or schedule. These are foods that are still high quality, yet convenient and lower cost because of the specific type of processing they have undergone.”

The study is seeking consumer perceptions of ultra-processed foods, while also measuring energy intake, satiety, and eating behaviors using the Universal Eating Monitor to measure the speed different foods are being consumed. Do consumers take in too many calories because they’re eating the tasty, ultra-processed foods too quickly and not realizing they’re getting full? Are they eating too much to compensate for lower nutrition in some processed foods? Researchers will also track participants’ food and beverage consumption for the remainder of each day to assess possible energy intake compensation, and levels of processing of the foods they choose to eat.

Malanson’s lab is also running a companion study about consumer perceptions of foods regarding level of processing and nutritional quality. Adults 18 to 39 are welcome to take a 15-minute online survey to rate whether they think examples of foods are ultra-processed, and whether they think those foods have high nutritional quality, and why. Any adults 18 to 39 interested in taking part in this or the primary study can contact breakfastclubstudy@gmail.com or Melanson at kmelanson@uri.edu.

Together, the studies will shed light on consumers’ perceptions of ultra-processed foods, help inform the USDA, and dispel some misconceptions about processed foods, especially those that fall in the middle, between ultra-processed and organic.

“It would be the ideal if people could grow their own organic food in their own gardens, but most people don’t have the resources or the time for that, so that is an impractical dream,” Melanson said. “Consumers should consider the whole food—yes whether it’s ultra-processed or not—but also what it provides, the pros and cons; not just trying to pigeon-hole it as good food/bad food. There are foods that are obviously at opposite sides—chips, candy, soda—and at the other end is the organic broccoli you grow in your backyard. But it’s the food in between that takes a little more judgment. That’s why the current categorization is not as clear as it should be. It’s the fuzzy middle parts that our study is trying to get a handle on.”

END

[Attachments] See images for this press release:
University of Rhode Island Nutrition study to help inform official USDA dietary guidelines

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Number of at-risk youth with intellectual disability and autism in the U.S. foster care system is growing

2024-02-12
Youth with foster care involvement have an increased risk for mental health diagnoses, trauma and worse outcomes in adulthood than their peers. Research about how youth with disabilities, including autism and intellectual disability, interact with this system is lacking. Evidence for how youth with autism or intellectual disability in the foster care system access and use services is needed to advance ways to improve their outcomes. Recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, researchers at Drexel University’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, in collaboration with George Mason University’s ...

Multiple city hubs, dispersed parks keep metro areas cooler

2024-02-12
ITHACA, N.Y. – Metropolitan areas with multiple city centers and dispersed green spaces mitigate extreme heat more effectively than those with one dominant city, an analysis by Cornell University city planning scholars finds. Compared to “monocentric” development, “polycentric” spatial patterns better distribute the density of urban cores and curb the sprawl of impervious, heat-absorbing surfaces, according to the analysis of 50 city regions in Germany. Particularly in larger urban areas, polycentric development can moderate the urban heat island effect, ...

Innovation to overcome deficiencies in 3D printing

Innovation to overcome deficiencies in 3D printing
2024-02-12
The University of Houston is collaborating with Texas A&M University to tackle the challenge hindering the use of Additive Manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3D printing, for a variety of commercial applications – the need for real-time monitoring and analysis to ensure consistent quality and reproducibility throughout the production process.  At present, quality control and qualification of metal AM parts is mostly carried out through offline inspection and characterization, but ideally, a broad range of sub-surface and bulk microstructural ...

Novel bispecific design improves CAR T–cell immunotherapy for childhood leukemia

Novel bispecific design improves CAR T–cell immunotherapy for childhood leukemia
2024-02-12
(MEMPHIS, Tenn. – February 12, 2024) St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists improved chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T–cell immunotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), demonstrating better efficacy in the lab. To overcome common problems with CAR T cells, the researchers created an additional means for the therapy to find and eliminate cancer cells, using a small peptide. The study also showed how a computational approach incorporating AlphaFold predicted protein models could help ...

Including socioeconomic status of patients in calculation of Medicare readmission penalties would reduce stress on safety-net hospitals

2024-02-12
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Affordable Care Act requires Medicare to issue penalties that reduce payment to hospitals if post-operative readmission rates within 30 days exceed the national average. A new study led by Regenstrief Institute Research Scientist Andrew Gonzalez, M.D., J.D., MPH, reports that including socioeconomic status in the penalty calculation would reduce the amount of readmission penalties for safety-net hospitals, which typically care for the sickest patients. Other factors, including age and sex are ...

Are ammonia engines the way of the future? (video)

Are ammonia engines the way of the future? (video)
2024-02-12
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2024 — Could ammonia engines power the cars of the future? Carmakers like Toyota are working to make this a reality. Ammonia is combustible and holds promise as a relatively low-effort way to decarbonize the internal combustion engine — but the devil’s in the details. Join George as he discovers at least one of those details by burning stuff in his basement. https://youtu.be/KZ_NlnmPQYk?si=BleQF9-aReuttCU4 Reactions is a video series produced by the American Chemical Society and PBS Digital Studios. Subscribe to Reactions at http://bit.ly/ACSReactions ...

Prevalence of young children fed only breast milk in low- and middle-income countries

2024-02-12
About The Study: In this study of 276,000 children ages 6 to 23 months in 92 low- and middle-income countries, 10.4% were zero-food children (i.e., children who did not consume any animal milk, formula, or solid or semisolid food during the last 24 hours). The prevalence of zero-food children underscores the need for targeted interventions to improve infant and young child feeding practices and ensure optimal nutrition during this critical period of development. The issue is particularly urgent in West and Central ...

Emergency department use disparities among transgender and cisgender Medicare beneficiaries

2024-02-12
About The Study: The results of this study suggested that transgender and gender-diverse Medicare beneficiaries use significantly more emergency department services than cisgender beneficiaries, particularly for psychological care, and these visits were more likely to be followed by an admission. This study quantifies this excess use of emergent services and highlights upstream implications of delays in seeking timely health care.  Authors: Gray Babbs, M.P.H., of the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island, is the corresponding author. To access the embargoed study: Visit our ...

Foster care involvement among youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities

2024-02-12
About The Study: This study found that among youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Black youth and females faced higher risk for foster care involvement, and the likelihood of foster care involvement increased with age. There is an urgent need for research that focuses on addressing system-level factors that drive increased risk. Understanding the specific health needs of Black and female youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities is critical to ensure the formation, ...

Groundbreaking study on decomposing microbes could help transform forensic science

2024-02-12
EMBARGO:  THIS CONTENT IS UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 11 A.M. U.S. EASTERN STANDARD TIME ON FEBRUARY 12. INTERESTED MEDIA MAY RECIVE A PREVIEW COPY OF THE JOURNAL ARTICLE IN ADVANCE OF THAT DATE OR CONDUCT INTERVIEWS, BUT THE INFORMATION MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, OR POSTED ONLINE UNTIL AFTER THE RELEASE WINDOW. For the first time, researchers have identified what appears to be a network of approximately 20 microbes that universally drive the decomposition of animal flesh. The findings have significant implications for the future of forensic science, including ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Heart failure in space: scientists calculate potential health threats facing future space tourists in microgravity

Experts offer guidance on talking with children about racism at pediatrician's office

Drugs for HIV and AIDS trialed as brain tumor treatment for first time

Breakthrough in nanoscale force measurement opens doors to unprecedented biological insights

Scientists discover new behavior of membranes that could lead to unprecedented separations

When inflicting pain on others pays off T

The Lancet: Managing gestational diabetes much earlier in pregnancy can prevent complications and improve long-term health outcomes, experts say

New study finds dinosaur fossils did not inspire the mythological griffin

NASA astronaut Woody Hoburg to deliver keynote address at ISSRDC focused on developing a space workforce

Study: Fatigue-management training improved sleep, safety, well-being for Seattle police

Guiding humanity beyond the moon: OHIO’s Nate Szewczyk and students coauthor papers published in “Nature” journals that revolutionize human space biology

Grant supports research to identify barriers to health care for Black women

Scientists at uOttawa develop innovative method to validate quantum photonics circuits performance

New report on community-centered approach to providing vaccine education and resources to persons experiencing homelessness during COVID-19

Government updates race and ethnicity data collection standards: implications and insights

Dr. Vivek S. Kavadi named CEO of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)

Dietary sucrose determines activity of lithium on gene expression and lifespan in drosophila melanogaster

Assessment of CEA, CA-125, and CA19-9 as adjuncts in non-small cell lung cancer management

Iron meteorites hint that our infant solar system was more doughnut than dartboard

Anti-trust regulators should consider their options carefully when start-ups are acquired, new study suggests

Family conditions may have more of an impact on upward social mobility than gender inequality

People with higher weight, and those who have high-quality experiences with higher-weight people, report less weight bias, per social psychology study of US adults

In two separate clinical studies, combined immunotherapy approach enhances cancer patient response

Airborne mapping reveals roles for biogenic sources and temperature in air pollution emissions in Los Angeles

Old bombs reveal new insights: Plants store more carbon, but for a shorter time frame, than we thought

The time it takes a person to decide can predict their preference

Hurricane changed ‘rules of the game’ in monkey society

Researchers widely observe yet seldom publish about same-sex sexual behavior in primates and other mammals - often because it is perceived to be rare

Wild chimpanzees seek out medicinal plants to treat illness and injuries

New catalyst unveils the hidden power of water for green hydrogen generation

[Press-News.org] University of Rhode Island Nutrition study to help inform official USDA dietary guidelines
Professor Kathleen Melanson’s study, funded by $300,000 USDA grant, aims to provide context to ultra-processed food discussion