Nutrition & Food Sciences

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    Engagement in nutrition education provided on Instagram versus Facebook among low-income caregivers of preschoolers
    (December 2023) Alford, Anne-Marie 1995-; Davis, Kathleen; Warren, Cynthia; Massey-Stokes, Marilyn
    Poor diet quality in preschool-aged children is increasing in prevalence, leading to childhood obesity and comorbidities in adulthood. Social media often shares nutrition information that features foods of low nutritional value compared to fruits and vegetables (F/V). This study used qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the influence of social media on F/V intake in low-income families as well as satisfaction with social media over an eight-week period. Social media content was developed to promote F/V intake among low-income families of preschoolers using Health Belief Model concepts. Data was collected through Facebook and Instagram by assessing engagement through likes, comments, and shares. F/V intake were assessed in four participants (n=4) through a pre- and post-assessment survey and a post-assessment social media satisfaction survey. Overall, F/V intake of the families did not change. More studies are needed to assess whether social media can influence F/V intake for low-income families.
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    The effects of whole pureed mango intake on serum biomarkers of muscle damage in response to moderate intensity aerobic exercise in sedentary adults
    (December 2023) Putnam, Amanda 2000-; Broughton, Kenneth; Tucker, Wesley; LeMieux, Monique
    Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the effects of whole pureed mango on cycling performance and biomarkers of muscle damage following exhaustive exercise in healthy sedentary young adults. Methods: A 10 week randomized, placebo-controlled cross-over study was conducted. Participants consumed a mango puree or placebo product daily for 4 weeks each. An exhaustive exercise trial was performed at the end of each treatment. Differences in biomarkers of muscle damage and performance within and between treatments were analyzed. Results: A total of 25 participants completed each treatment. There was a significant difference in Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) within the placebo group and in Myoglobin (MG) and cycling time at given wattage within both groups. There were no significant differences between treatment groups. Although not significant, there was a trend of reduced muscle damage biomarker levels in the mango compared to the placebo group. Conclusions: The findings of this study do not support the hypothesis that consuming whole mango causes decreased biomarkers of muscle damage post-exercise and performance improvement in sedentary young adults.
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    Quantification of total and individual polyphenolic content in over 400 cucumbers (cucumis sativus) for genome-wide association studies (GWAS)
    (December 2023) Edwards, Tara 1996-; Du, Xiaofen; Wang, Danhui; LeMieux, Monique
    This thesis study aimed to investigate the impact of growing conditions and variety on the total polyphenolic content (TPC) in over 400 GWAS cucumbers grown under greenhouse and open field, and the contents of gallic acid and quercetin in the greenhouse cultivars. The TPC was analyzed spectrophotometrically at 750 nm and the individual polyphenols were analyzed using HPLC-DAD at 273 nm (gallic acid) and 368 nm (quercetin). The greenhouse cucumbers (417 fruits) had TPC of 9.54 – 31.82 (average: 18.92) mg GAE/100 g and the open field cucumbers (416 fruits) 5.48 – 25.30 (average: 13.02) mg GAE/100 g. The individual gallic acid content ranged 0.00039 – 0.18 (average: 0.024) mg/100 g and quercetin ranged 0.0035 – 0.15 (average: 0.024) mg/100 g for greenhouse cucumbers (406 fruits). These results indicated that the polyphenolic content, total and individual, is variety dependent and significantly impacted by the growing conditions.
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    The effects of a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet versus a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet on dancer's performance
    (August 2023) Ellis, Stacie Vanessa 1983-; Kenneth Shane Broughton; Rigby, Brandon; Tucker, Wesley; Miketinas, Derek; LeMieux, Monique
    Purpose of study. The objective of this study was to compare a high-carbohydrate, low-fat (HCLF) diet versus a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet on performance in dancers. Methodology. In a cross-over design, dancers consumed a HCLF and a LCHF diet for approximately one month. A Perceived Fatigue Assessment, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and exercise testing including a 30 second Wingate, lateral raises, calf raises, push-ups, and 90-second box jumps were performed at pre- and post-assessment for both diets. HRV was measured daily during the intervention. Results. Both diets showed an increase in peak power (p=.033, ɳ2=.27), relative peak power (p=.028, ɳ2=.28), anaerobic power (p=.025, ɳ2=.27), and in fatigue index (p=.005, ɳ2=.42) during the Wingate test. Both diets also showed a significant increase in the number of push-ups (p=.031, ɳ2=.27). During the box jump test, both diets showed that dancers jumped significantly more at 90 seconds (p=.014, ɳ2=.34), and were less fatigued from 60 to 90s (p =.015, ɳ2=.33), from 30 to 90s (p=.005, ɳ2=.42), and overall (p=.014, ɳ2=.34). There were no significant differences in performance with the lateral raise and calf raises. The diets did not cause a significant difference in body weight, body fat, or lean mass; however, there was a significant difference in the A/G ratio and the percentage fat of the trunk to percentage fat of the leg’s ratio showing the LCHF diet may cause an increase in fat around the trunk area. There were no significant differences in the energy consumed or expended while on the two diets. There were also no significant differences in HRV scores or perceived fatigue and recovery. Conclusion. Both diets may be beneficial for dancers that are required to do more power movements and dance movements that will utilize anaerobic power. Dances that are less intense will not gain any additional performance benefits from consuming a HCLF or LCHF diet.
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    Acceptability of food products containing almond oil in place of soybean oil
    (2005-12) Kier, Megan
    The effect of replacing soybean oil (SBO) with almond oil (AO) on the hedonic characteristics (appearance, taste, texture, and overall likeability) of four products (carrot muffins, bread, cornbread, and chocolate chip cookies) was determined in 71 participants (40 female; 30 male). A split plot factorial analysis of variance design was used to avoid order effects. Products were rated on a nine-point hedonic scale (1 = Dislike Extremely; 9 = Like Extremely). With the exception of the values for texture, taste, and overall likeability for bread (for which values were significantly [p < .05] higher for the AO than the SBO product), there were no significant between-product differences. Gender had no effect on product rating. For both sets of products, the ranking from the highest (4) to lowest (1), using values for overall likeability was: cookies (4); muffins (3); cornbread (2); and bread (1). Thus, replacement of SBO with AO had no appreciable effect on the assessed hedonic characteristics for either gender or on within set, or oil type, ranking.
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    Chondroprotective action of tart cherry in the monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) rat model of osteoarthritis
    (August 2023) Crabtree, Keith E 1963-; Juma, Shanil; LeMieux, Monique; Pahlavani, Mandana
    Objective: To investigate the dose-dependent effects of whole tart cherry in a monosodium iodoacetate (MIA) induced rat model of osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: A total of forty, 45-day-old female CD rats were used for study. Thirty rats were injected with MIA to induce joint destruction and randomized into three groups of 10 animals each. Rats were fed a casein-based diet with two groups receiving whole tart cherry powder at 5% and 10% respectively for 48 days. Fasted blood samples and tissues of interest were analyzed. Results: Histological analysis of knee joint determined significant worsening of damage between control and MIA groups. There was a slight increase in TIMP-1 concentration. The introduction of tart cherry resulted in IL-10 levels which emulated non-MIA group level. Conclusions: Introduction of tart cherry powder achieved some reductions in pro-, and anti-inflammatory markers, but statistical significance between untreated MIA induced rats and those given tart cherry powder was with observed in aggrecan only.
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    Impact of menstrual cycle on resting and postprandial metabolism in recreationally active, eumenorrheic females
    (August 2023) Kanaan, Adelle; Tucker, Wesley; Patterson, Mindy A; Miketinas, Derek
    The impact of the menstrual cycle on resting and postprandial metabolism is unclear. In this study, five eumenorrheic women had resting energy expenditure (REE) and substrate utilization measured at rest and after a mixed meal during three phases of the menstrual cycle (early follicular, late follicular, and mid luteal). REE was higher during mid luteal (1509 ± 143 kcal), compared to early follicular (1447 ± 94 kcal) and late follicular phases (1409 ± 89 kcal)(p = 0.38). Resting RQ did not differ across menstrual cycle phase. Diet-induced thermogenesis was higher during early follicular (35.6 ± 9.3 kcal) and late follicular (31.8 ± 11.8 kcal) versus mid luteal phase (21.1 ± 14.1 kcal)(p = 0.17). Mean postprandial RQ was higher during early and late follicular compared to mid luteal phase (p = 0.36). These preliminary findings indicate potential differences in resting and postprandial metabolism across the menstrual cycle.
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    Quantification of sugars and organic acids in 210 cucumber (cucurbis sativus) varieties for genome-wide association studies (GWAS)
    (August 2023) Harris, Spencer 1998-; Du, Xiaofen; LeMieux, Monique; Beatty, John
    There is limited information on the sugar and acid contents in Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) cucumbers. This study aimed to measure total soluble solid content (ºBrix), three main sugars via high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), pH, titratable acidity (TA), and three main organic acids via HPLC in 210 GWAS cucumber samples. A histogram and Agglomerative Hierarchical Clustering (AHC) were performed for each measured variable. The °Brix ranged from 1% – 4.6%. The content of fructose, glucose, and sucrose ranged from 2.88 - 62.28 mg/mL, 3.99 – 63.99 mg/mL, and 0.05 – 13.73 mg/mL, respectively. The pH ranged from 5.01 - 6.57. The TA ranged between 0.55 – 2.80 g/L. The content of malic, citric, and fumaric acid ranged from 0.08 – 2.64 mg/mL, 0.03 – 0.73 mg/mL, and 0.02 – 0.50 mg/mL, respectively. Results from this study can be beneficial for cucumber breeding program to produce a preferable tasting cucumber.
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    The impact of whole pureed mango on inflammatory biomarkers and immune function after post-exhaustive exercise in healthy sedentary young adults
    (August 2023) Murad, Mirna; Shanil, Juma; Warren, Cynthia; LeMieux, Monique
    Objective: This study aimed to investigate the effects of whole pureed mango smoothies on inflammatory biomarkers, Interleukin 10 (IL-10), IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α, and immune function, CD4+, and CD8+, after post-exhaustive exercise in healthy sedentary young adults. Methods: Thirty-four healthy men and women were recruited for this randomized, placebo-control, cross-over, 10-week study. Participants were randomized to consume 250g mango smoothie or 185g placebo smoothie daily. Each treatment arm lasted 4 weeks, with a 2-week washout period between treatments. Anthropometric measurements such as weight, height, and body composition via Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry were collected. Overnight fasted venous blood was collected to evaluate inflammatory biomarkers and immune cells, IL-10, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, CD4+, and CD8+. All measurements were collected at the beginning and the end of each treatment arm. Differences within and between treatments were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA test. Results: A total of 25 participants completed the mango treatment, and 25 participants completed the placebo treatment. At the end of the study, there was a significant difference between groups in cell concentration count-dead p < 0.001. There was also significant change within the mango group in IL-10 between baseline and at 0-minutes post-exercise (p=0.036), and baseline and 2-hr post-exercise (p=0.031). There was also a significant change in the placebo group from fasted blood draw at final visit and 0-minutes post-exercise (p=0.029) and fasted blood draw at final visit and 1-hr post-exercise (p=0.021). There was a significant change in CD8(+) T Lymphocytes (UR) in both groups between baseline and 2-hr post-exercise (p=0.022 and p=0.030, respectively). There was also a significant increase in pro-inflammatory biomarkers IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α in the placebo group but not in the mango group. Although it was not significant, there was a trend in decreased inflammatory biomarkers in the mango treatment group. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that consuming whole pureed mango may decrease inflammatory biomarkers after post-exhaustive exercise in sedentary young adults.
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    Digitization of nationally-representative nutrition intake data to support policymaking and research via interactive visualizations
    (August 2023) Shankaranarayanan, Kavitha 08/31/1977-; Miketinas, Derek; Brock, Clare-Leib; Warren, Cynthia; Davis, Kathleen; Kenneth Shane Broughton
    Nutrition intake data are widely available for researchers and policymakers for use to direct research and inform dietary recommendations. However, these data are often not in a format that is intuitive, easily accessible, or readily usable. Moreover, estimates from these data can be derived using varying methodologies ranging in complexity. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosts a dashboard on three health indicators derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) datasets, there is a need for a more comprehensive platform that will visualize nutrition intake associated with nutritional adequacy. A dashboard can reduce the analysis time required for policymakers and researchers to estimate dietary intake and trends among key demographics. The primary objective of this study was to develop a visually-rich, user-friendly, and interactive dashboard for dietary intake of Americans using a robust analytical protocol. The dashboard compiles best dietary analysis practices using population surveys. In doing so, an online, interactive dashboard that displays the usual intake (UI), prevalence of inadequate and excessive intake, for macronutrients and nutrients of public health concern in the non-institutionalized US population has been developed. The dashboard will serve as a first-step to a digital and interactive visualization of nationally-representative data that is easily accessible, efficient, and evidence-based.
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    Effect of mixed mushroom polyphenols in energy metabolism in human adipocytes
    (August 2023) Gonzalez Duarte, Lina; Shanil, Juma; LeMieux, Monique; Tucker, Wesley
    Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of dose-dependent mixed mushroom polyphenols on lipid accumulation and metabolic changes in human adipocytes. Methods: Cells were treated with dose-dependent mixed mushroom polyphenols with 50μg, 100μg, 200μg, and 400μg per ml of media, and evaluated for lipid accumulation, mitochondrial respiration, and glycolysis rate. Statistical analysis included means, medians, standard error, ANOVA test. Results: There was a positive dose-dependent effect for polyphenol concentration on adipocyte proliferation and ATP production from 50μg/ml up to 200μg/ml. In contrast, the maximal dose of polyphenol yielded a significant reduction in adipocyte proliferation and ATP production via mitochondrial respiration. Mushroom polyphenols did not affect ATP production via glycolysis under stress conditions. Conclusions: Preliminary results showed that as concentration of mushroom polyphenols increased, adipocytes proliferation significantly increased. Also, mushroom polyphenols at a higher concentration, reduced lipid accumulation, increased ATP production via mitochondrial respiration, and adipocytes were more energetic.
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    The effect of freeze dried whole watermelon powder on endothelial function and vascular health in older adults
    (August 2023) Patel, Karishma D 1996-; Juma, Shanil; LeMieux, Monique; Broughton, Shane
    This study investigated the effects of freeze dried whole watermelon powder on cardiovascular biomarkers and endothelial health. In a 16-week double-blinded, randomized placebo-controlled study design, 38 men and women between the ages of 45 to 79 years old consumed whole freeze dried watermelon powder or placebo powder (control). An EndoPATⓇ was used to measure endothelial function and fasting blood samples were obtained to evaluate vascular and lipid biomarkers. Watermelon treatment powder did not significantly change endothelial function or vascular biomarkers. However, the treatment group showed improved levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and P-selectin from baseline to final visits. These findings suggest that consumption of watermelon may reduce the risk or progression of cardiovascular disease from improved lipid and vascular biomarkers.
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    Tree nut consumption and its association with health outcomes among adults in the national health and nutrition examination survey
    (August 2023) Lopez-Neyman, Stephanie Michelle 1972-; Miketinas, Derek; Moore, Carolyn; Davis, Kathleen; Broughton, Kenneth
    Tree nuts are nutrient dense, and their consumption has been associated with improvements in health outcomes. This dissertation includes two separate studies. The first study estimated the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, cardiometabolic (CM) risk factors, and cardiovascular health metrics (CVHMs) among US adults and across race and ethnic groups. The most prevalent health risk factors in the overall sample were hypertension (45%), obesity (40%), and fasting plasma glucose ≥100 mg/dL or hypoglycemic medication use (51%). The most prevalent health behavior and factors in the overall sample were ideal physical activity (59%) and ideal smoking status (57%). Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic Blacks had elevated risk for some, but not all, CVD and CM risk factors compared to non-Hispanic Whites and non-Hispanic Asians. The second study estimated usual intake of tree nuts and examined the association between tree nut consumption and health outcomes among US adults. Approximately 8% of participants (n=1238) reported consuming at least ¼ oz/d (7.09 g) of tree nuts and had a mean usual intake of 39.5 ± 1.8 g/d (SE). Mexican Americans (33.6 ± 4.4 g/d) and other Hispanics (32.5 ± 5.2g/d) mean usual intake of tree nuts was less compared to non-Hispanic Blacks (48.2 ± 3.1 g/d). CVD and CM risk factors prevalence and means were lower among tree nut consumers than non-consumers. Tree nut consumers were less likely to have obesity (31% vs. 40%, P <.001) and reduced high-density lipoprotein (22% vs. 30%, P <.001), and a lower mean waist circumference (97.1 ± 0.7 vs. 100.5 ± 0.3 cm, P <.001) and apolipoprotein B (87.5 ± 1.2 vs. 91.8 ± 0.5 mg/dL, P = .004) than non-consumers. While most US adults do not consume tree nuts, modest consumption was associated with decreased prevalence of CVD and CM risk factors and better for some health outcome measures. Inclusion of tree nuts as part of a healthy diet offers an approach to further reduce health disparities and persisting differences among racial and ethnic groups which is vital to achieving the American Heart Association vision of all people having ideal cardiovascular health, living healthier and longer.
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    Curriculum redesign and impact of an after-school garden enhanced nutrition education (GENE) program on skin carotenoids, vegetable preferences and vegetable intake of children
    (August 2023) Sibayan, Shelyn 1997-; Broughton, Shane; Warren, Cynthia; Haubrick, Kevin
    The purpose of this study was to streamline and condense the gardening enhanced nutrition education (GENE) program curriculum content used in an after-school program at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston locations. Participants were given questionnaires to complete and were taught a streamlined gardening curriculum based on Texas A&M AgriLife’s gardening program content, “Learn, Grow, Eat, Go!” (LGEG) once a week for 10 weeks. Additionally, participants taste-tested various store-bought vegetables and planted and harvested fruits and vegetables at their respective club garden locations. During Week 1 and 10, sample participants’ skin carotenoid scores, plant and nutrition knowledge, and vegetable intake were collected and compared between the treatment group and control using paired sample t-tests. Results revealed no significant changes of carotenoid scores and vegetable intake (p = 0.66) and plant/nutrition knowledge (p = 0.40) in the treatment group after the 10-weeks GENE program. Future research is necessary to further determine the effectiveness of gardening-enhanced nutrition interventions in after-school settings.