Gaining Perspective

The nutrition world is funny. We are all trying to work towards an end goal of enhancing health, but the approaches taken to do so vary tremendously-it all comes down to perspective. Researchers sometimes adopt a different approach than health professionals. However, even within research, there are those focusing on the biochemistry and those working on the social aspects of nutrition. It is overwhelmingly fantastic how there are so many angles to view nutrition, but all these viewpoints can make the job of creating a healthy world challenging, since sometimes conflicting messages emerge. I am looking forward to the day where these different perspectives begin to come together. Until then, we have to be aware of the types of messages the nutrition world sends the public (check out that link to my latest blog post about nutrition messaging on the American Society for Nutrition blog).

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In other exciting news, the proposed Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) 2015 is now open for public comment. The major suggested change is to nix the cholesterol recommendation due to lack of supporting evidence. This is a big one! Hopefully the price of eggs doesn’t continue to climb after this…;). My personal favorite change is the recommendation for COFFEE!

For my program, we have to take a big oral exam the summer after our first year and present on a nutrition topic of our choice to an assigned committee of 3 faculty members. I did mine last summer and my topic of choice? Coffee, of course! Specifically, the impact of coffee on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Through my research, I learned there is certainly conflicting evidence out there for coffee’s benefit or risk to CVD risk. Some research suggests coffee may enhance insulin sensitivity (i.e. decrease risk of Type 2 Diabetes), while other research found that boiled/unfiltered coffee (i.e. my beloved french press coffee) increases blood cholesterol. The DGA is not saying there is a benefit to coffee drinking, just that around 3-5 cups of coffee a day can be a part of a healthy diet. So don’t adopt a coffee habit just because of this proposed recommendation. However, for the habitual coffee drinkers out there, rejoice!

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