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Impact of Dietary Sweetness Exposure on Future Dietary Intake: Reanalysis of Existing Intervention Trial Data

Several global health authorities recommend avoidance of sweetness in the diet from both sugar and low-calorie or non-nutritive sweeteners, due to concerns that intake of sweet taste drives a preference for more sweetness, with ultimate negative consequences for energy intake and weight. However, the scientific data available to understand the role of sweetness in the diet is severely lacking. The aim of this project is to re-harvest existing clinical trial data in a way that provides information about selection and intake of sweet vs. non-sweet foods after some intervention.

Institution: Bournemouth University
Principal Investigator: Katherine Appleton, PhD, RD
Year Awarded: 2020

Read More: Repeated exposure to and subsequent consumption of sweet taste: Reanalysis of test meal intake data following the repeated consumption of sweet vs non-sweet beverages.

Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework.

Learn more about the IAFNS Low-Calorie Sweeteners Committee.

Updating the Metal Dietary Exposure Screening Tool

The IAFNS Food and Chemical Safety Committee invests in the training and education of future scientists and leaders in the fields of food and chemical safety and food toxicology by supporting a Summer Fellowship Program for doctoral students. This project focuses on updating the Metal Dietary Exposure Screening Tool.

Detection of heavy metals at trace levels in foods and food ingredients is common given the unavoidable presence of metals in nature coupled with advancement in analytical methods and lower detection limits. In 2015, the Heavy Metal Subcommittee of the IAFNS Food and Chemical Safety Committee sponsored the development of a Metal Dietary Exposure Screening Tool and publication of the paper titled “Partitioning of Dietary Metal Intake—A Metal Dietary Exposure Screening Tool”. The tool provides a screening-level approach that serves as a first step in a tiered risk assessment process to evaluate potential public health risks when confronted with the detection of select heavy metals in foods and food ingredients. IAFNS and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) have agreed to collaborate on the continued development and biennial updating of the Metal Dietary Exposure Screening tool.

Institution: University of Rochester
Summer Fellow: Candace Wong, PhD Candidate
Year Awarded: 2019

Access the Metal Dietary Exposure Screening Tool.

Read more: Review of Regulatory Reference Values and Background Levels for Heavy Metals in the Human Diet

Learn more about the IAFNS Food and Chemical Safety Committee.

Effect of the Use of Potassium-Based Sodium Replacers on Sodium and Potassium Intakes of the US Population

Sodium intake in the US population exceeds recommendations, and efforts have long been underway to reduce the amount of sodium in foods. Salt in the form of NaCl is the largest source of sodium in processed foods. Given the particular roles NaCl plays in foods (functional, taste, food preservation), it is difficult to remove it either entirely or in large part. Potassium chloride (KCl) is one of the most effective tools for NaCl replacement, due to its ability to perform many of the functional roles of NaCl, and thus, sodium reduction in foods. Replacement of NaCl with KCl would also have the greatest impact on potassium intake, compared to other NaCl or sodium containing ingredient (e.g. potassium bicarbonate vs. sodium bicarbonate) replacement options.

This switch has the potential to alter intakes of both sodium and potassium. There is evidence that the Na-K ratio of the diet is relevant in blood pressure physiology, but to what extent reformulation efforts have or could affect intake of these nutrients, and as a secondary question, health, is unknown. In addition, there is concern that expanding the use of KCl will lead to unsafe potassium intake levels for certain high-risk groups (e.g., those with chronic kidney disease instructed to limit potassium intake). Several of these questions could be clarified through a population-based intake assessment.

The project will be conducted in three steps: 1) Identify the primary contributors to sodium intake using the FDA voluntary sodium reduction guidance, and 2) develop practical and feasible replacement scenarios for the identified categories, and 3) assess US population intakes of sodium and potassium for these categories under two scenarios: a) 100% replacement of NaCl with KCl, and b) “practical and feasible” replacement for each food category.

Institution: Exponent
Principal Investigator: Mary Murphy, MS, RD; Carolyn Scrafford, PhD, MPH
Year Awarded: 2019

Read more: Potassium Chloride-Based Replacers: Modeling Effects on Sodium and Potassium Intakes of the US Population with Cross-Sectional Data from NHANES 2015–2016 and 2009–2010

Read more: Targeting the Dietary Na:K Ratio--Considerations for Design of an Intervention Study to Impact Blood Pressure

View this project on the Center for Open Science's Open Science Framework.

Learn more about the IAFNS Sodium Committee.

Scientific Integrity Principles and Best Practices: Recommendations from a Scientific Integrity Consortium

The Scientific Integrity Consortium published a set of principles and best practices in Science and Engineering Ethics in February 2019. The principles and best practices are intended to be applied broadly across scientific disciplines, and provide a standardized approach for scientists to achieve accountability and integrity in scientific research. They focus on multiple aspects of […]

Protein Intake and Human Health: Implications of Units of Protein Intake

Current dietary recommendations for protein intake are expressed as grams per kilogram of body weight in recognition of its role as the structural building blocks for lean body mass. Although FAO/WHO acknowledges that this recommendation is appropriate for those in the ideal weight-for-height ranges, it may not be appropriate for those who are overweight. This project will demonstrate a method to express protein intake in nutrition studies that removes confounding among overweight individuals.

Institution: Tufts University
Principal Investigators: Adela Hruby, PhD, MPH; Paul Jacques, DSc
Year Awarded: 2019

Read more: Protein Intake and Human Health: Implications of Units of Protein Intake

Learn more about the IAFNS Protein Committee.

Sampling of Post-Hurricane Florence Floodwater for Human Foodborne Pathogens

Heavy rainfall and flooding following a hurricane can massively impact water quality, especially via runoff from agricultural and industrial operations. The IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee is supporting researchers at North Carolina State University to examine the emergence, potential routes of contamination and proliferation, as well as virulence and susceptibility of three major foodborne pathogens in the freshwater supply following Hurricane Florence: Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter.

These findings will be integrated with geospatial analysis and land use information. The choice of these pathogens was dictated by the significant threats that they pose to food safety and public health and their known capacity to survive and persist in fresh water. The data will provide assessments of pathogen prevalence during and post-flooding, as well as estimates of the time periods required for return to baseline levels. The learnings from this study will also support mitigation and control of pathogens in future food systems.

Institution: North Carolina State University
Principal Investigator: Sophia Kathariou, PhD
Year Awarded: 2018

Learn more about the IAFNS Food Microbiology Committee.

Application of Acceptable Daily Intake Values in Nutrition Research Studies that Consider the Safety of Low-Calorie Sweeteners

Several recent publications on the intake of low-calorie sweeteners (LCSs) have compared intake data to the corresponding Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) values. This indicates a use of ADI that may not be appropriate, since ADI is not meant to be considered a threshold for a safety concern at one moment in time. This may lead to misunderstanding of the safety of LCSs, and affect the potential of LCSs as effective tools for lowering added sugar intake.

The proposed project aims to evaluate the trends in application of ADI to LCS intake data, health-related research, and international government documents/evaluations. The study is designed to test the hypothesis that there is an increasing misapplication of ADI as a type of “safety intake threshold” for particular age groups, and to discuss the ramifications of such a trend. This project should help researchers and clinicians better understand both what is meant by an ADI and what limitations exist for safety determinations when comparing LCS intake data to an ADI. It should also help clinicians to better understand the safety of LCSs and the level of expected risk with use in various life stages.

Institution: ToxStrategies, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Daniele Wikoff, PhD
Year Awarded: 2019

Read more: Use of Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) as a Health-Based Benchmark in Nutrition Research Studies that Consider the Safety of Low-Calorie Sweeteners (LCS): a Systematic Map

View this project on the Center for Open Science's Open Science Framework.

Learn more about the IAFNS Low-Calorie Sweeteners Committee.

Nutrient Adequacy and Diet Quality in a Randomized Controlled Trial with Normal and Higher Protein Intake

Foods that are high in protein are often rich in other nutrients that are unique to specific categories of foods (e.g., iron in red meat, vitamin E in nuts). When individuals select a protein-containing food on a calorie-controlled diet, it is at the expense of other foods in the diet. It is unclear what foods or categories of foods are being displaced with higher dietary protein intakes, and what the impact of this is on overall diet quality. The aim of this study is to evaluate nutrient intakes and overall diet quality in women assigned to self-select a higher and normal protein diet during a one-year weight loss intervention.

Institution: Rutgers University
Principal Investigator: Sue Shapses, PhD, RD
Year Awarded: 2018

Read more:

Higher Protein Intake During Caloric Restriction Improves Diet Quality And Attenuates Loss Of Lean Body Mass

View this project on the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework.

Learn more about the IAFNS Protein Committee.


Impact of New Labeling for Daily Values on Total Nutrient Intakes from Foods and Beverages

Changes to the Nutrition Facts Panel are underway following recently issued regulations by the FDA to correspond with current Institute of Medicine (IOM) Dietary Reference Intakes. However, the expected impact of this new labeling of Daily Values (DVs) on nutrient values is unknown. The objective of this project is to use the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 NHANES cycle releases to evaluate the impact of new labeling DVs on total nutrient intakes from foods and beverages within the US population and among children and adults overall, as well as by age groups.

Institution: Medical University of South Carolina
Principal Investigators: Jill Newman, MS; Angela Malek, PhD
Year Awarded: 2018

Learn more about the IAFNS Fortification Committee.

Opportunities for Improvement in Nutrition-Related Research: Implications of Overall Quality and Risk of Bias Domain Ratings

Nutrition research informs consumer eating habits, public policy, healthcare practice decisions and research agenda development. Yet, virtually every individual scientific study has limitations in design and methodology. The purpose of this study is to examine these limitations and identify ways to improve scientific methods and in turn, research quality, in the future.

Institution: EF Myers Consulting, Inc
Principal Investigator: Esther Myers, PhD, RDN, FAND
Year Awarded: 2016

Read more.

Learn more about the IAFNS Assembly on Scientific Integrity.