Food Science and Nutrition Plan B Master's Projects

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    Cow’s milk is an important source of iodine for prenatal health and switching to plant-based milk can lead to iodine insufficiencies
    (2024-04-10) Lundquist, Hallie M
    Iodine insufficiencies are common among many populations, particularly pregnant women. One of the main functions of iodine is making thyroid hormone. The two main hormones that iodine influences are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Thyroid hormone impacts the metabolism of most tissues. For the average adult, the Recommended Dietary Allowance, RDA, for iodine is 150 mcg. During certain stages of life, such as pregnancy, lactation, and infancy, the importance of iodine is even greater as it supports brain, bone, and organ development. The RDA for iodine during pregnancy is 220 mcg and, while breastfeeding, the RDA is 290 mcg. Consuming enough iodine in the diet during pregnancy helps support fetal neurodevelopment. Iodine is found in several food sources such as seafood and iodized salt, however, dairy products are one of the major sources of iodine in American diets. It is important to note that only bovine milk products are rich in this mineral. One cup of milk provides 39% and 57% of the daily iodine needs for average adult woman and pregnant woman, respectively. As the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommends limiting sodium intake, which includes iodized salt, dairy may be an especially important source of iodine. However, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, about 90% of the U.S. population does not meet the dairy recommendations presented in the DGA. In recent years, plant-based diets have received a lot of attention. A market for plant-based milk alternatives has grown and includes a variety of options such as almond, soy, and oat milk. Plant-based milks do not naturally contain iodine and are typically not fortified with iodine. Women of childbearing age who drink plant-based milks instead of cow’s milk have lower urinary iodine concentrations than women who consume cow’s milk. This review will focus on the importance of iodine in the diet to support prenatal health, lactation, and infant health.
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    Nutrition at the Center of a Wellness Ecosystem
    (2023-10-13) Wells, Doug SM
    Participation in individual or team-based sports can impact our mental health and physical performance, while habitual food choices can positively or negatively impact our long-term health and well-being. Limited studies were available in the literature to examine food and nutrition problems and issues within the context of sports and recreation through a holistic, integrated and continuous process. The purpose of this project was to examine the need for cultural intervention within the context of sports nutrition, which may in part be directly related to a lack of cultural diversity within the field of food, nutrition, and dietetics. To gain additional insight, individual interviews were conducted with nutrition experts to further our understanding of the gaps that might exist in feeding culturally/ethnically diverse athletes. Based on information obtained through a review of literature and informational interviews, a preliminary research proposal was developed and designed with the intention of allowing discussions with administrators, coaches and athletes within the University of Minnesota athletic department. The ultimate goal is to elicit funding to support research on the nature and nuance associated with feeding and cultural experiences of college athletes with diverse ethnic backgrounds.
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    Relationship between team sport participation and weight control behaviors in adolescents
    (2023-08-16) Wiggins, Isabella A
    Although studies find positive effects of physical activity, team sports, and social aspects of participating as part of a team, body image and concerns about weight and shape have been found to be related to underlying reasoning for participation in sports and other forms of physical activity. Involvement in sports and physical activity due to these motivations are shown to lead to exercise addiction and poor eating behaviors. This study investigates the relationship between sport participation and weight control behaviors among adolescents. The two research questions addressed are: 1) Do adolescents who participate in team sports have a higher prevalence of weight control behaviors than those that do not?; 2) Are there differences between power team sports and weight-related team sports in relation to weight control behaviors? Behavioral data was collected and analyzed from the EAT 2010 (Eating and Activity in Teens) study for differences between participants of the following groups: power team sports, weight-related team sports, and not involved in team sports. Analysis showed no significant differences in weight control goals or behaviors between adolescent participants of power team sports, weight related team sports, or not involved in team sports. There was also a high prevalence of weight loss goals and weight loss behaviors among each group. It is important to understand that dieting, weight loss goals, and weight control behaviors occur across multiple groups within the adolescent population when developing interventions to improve nutritional status and reduce disordered behaviors.
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    Executive Review of the Stevia Food System
    (2023-06-02) Wibbens, Katie M
    Stevia is an alternative sweetener that provides sweetness to foods without the caloric value of traditional sweeteners such as sucrose. With the rise of an obesity epidemic in the United States, industry is faced with increased pressure to make products with fewer calories, yet with the same or similar palatability as the original product. Alternative sweeteners such as stevia are used to add sweetness without adding calories since the body cannot use the stevia molecule for energy. The gradual introduction of these alternative sweeteners within the American food system could contribute toward greater availability of foods with less caloric density. To increase the feasibility of gradually incorporating alternative sweeteners into common foods traditionally made with sugar ingredients, this paper focuses on four main pillars within the Stevia food system: decreasing the cost of scaling production, improving product formulation, addressing flavor modification, and maintaining consumer acceptability. These four fundamental basic food system functions serve as a guide for scaling-up and gradually introducing non-caloric sweeteners as viable ingredients in traditionally sweetened food products. Addressing our pressing public health issues necessitates a gradual substitution with alternative sweeteners such as stevia. This gradual introduction requires a food systems approach addressing the barriers, challenges and opportunities within our food system while balancing consumer needs, wants, and desires.
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    Introduce General Nutrients Information and Cultural-specific Educational Handouts for Chinese American CKD Patients
    (2022-10-02) Chang, Honghui
    Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the loss of kidney function over time, resulting in kidney damage. CKD is a common condition in the US, with around 15 percent of adults being diagnosed. However, most of those with CKD are unaware that they have the disease as it usually doesn't show any symptoms until its end stages. One of the most common factors that can lead to the development of damaged kidneys is lifestyle changes. Therefore, being aware of the self condition and having enough patient-centered education resources available can help improve the chances of achieving a better outcome. Compared to other ethnic groups, Asian Americans have a higher risk of developing kidney disease and kidney failure. Still, they have a significant disparity in the healthcare system, and there are a limited number of culturally specific handouts for them to access. Therefore, the goal of this project is to provide information on a variety of nutrients that CKD patients need to consider. In addition, a series of bilingual handouts were created based on the common Chinese food items that are commonly used by this population. Thirdly, specific cultural food-based sample menus were developed and introduced for Chinese American CKD patients under different conditions.
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    A Systematic Literature Review of Acrylamide Levels, Adverse Health Effects, and Reduction of Formation in Fried and Baked Potato Products
    (2023-05-01) Branco, Emile C.K.
    Acrylamide is a processing contaminant produced by the Maillard reaction at high temperatures, such as baking or frying. The Maillard reaction is also what creates the brown or caramelized color on the outside of food when going through these processes. Fried and baked potato products are one of the highest acrylamide producers in the food industry. Food researchers have proven the presence of acrylamide in this everyday food through studies which will get higher as the temperature gets higher and the length of time frying or baking gets longer. There are links between dietary acrylamide accumulation in the body and various cancers, reproductive issues, and neurological damage. Some discoveries and developments may help reduce acrylamide in potatoes, starting from pre-harvesting to post-processing. Given the high levels of acrylamide in potato products, research suggests additional monitoring of acrylamide in food products and their consumption.
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    Passive Mitigation of Norovirus through Bathroom Design Optimization
    (2015-10) Ayd, Daniel D
    Norovirus is a persistent and tenacious virus that causes a short-lived and seldom-lethal food-borne infection most commonly associated with vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, and, if persistent, dehydration. In food service establishments, employees become vectors for outbreaks when working while ill or recently recovered. Better bathroom design can reduce the probability of an outbreak, without changing human behavior in them. This is a background research paper that provides speculative analysis on how improved bathroom design can supplement hygiene training, sick time off, and chemical sanitizers in the fight against the most common of all food-borne infections: Norovirus. Outbreaks are often caused by a series of missteps, bad luck, or poor planning when caused at restaurants and the damage can be severe in what is already one of the most cutthroat and competitive industries in the United States. To be associated with an outbreak is potentially damaging to reputations of establishments and taking precautions, including those suggested in my paper, will take some of the contributing factors to any illness outbreak out reducing the chances of the outbreak occurring. They may still occur, but better bathroom design and other precautions can reduce the scale and/or frequency potentially saving human suffering and economic damage to the companies that would otherwise have done nothing preventative.