Importance of Ratio in Essential Fatty Acids

While omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies have been clearly linked to memory and learning problems in rodent models, studies involving dietary supplementation have produced mixed results. A contributing factor could be that the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet is a more important marker than omega-3 fatty acid intake alone. This hypothesis is based on the fact that these fatty acids share metabolic pathways, and on the assumption that they have compensatory or antagonistic effects.

What they did:

To test this hypothesis, scientists from the Cheatham Nutrition and Cognition Laboratory at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute looked at the omega-6: omega-3 ratio and as well as omega-3 levels in association with cognitive ability in children ages 7-12 years. Dietary intake was estimated from diet surveys; fatty acid levels in blood were measured directly. When analyzed across the entire child cohort, there were no significant correlations between fatty acid intake and cognitive ability. However, when children were separated into two age groups (7-9 y and 10-12 y), intriguing and statistically significant findings emerged.

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Appetite For Life

Cooking Demo + Talk : Featuring Chef Megan Lambert and Steph Saullo, R.D.

Cooking for Nourishment

In collaboration with Johnson & Wales University, we are pleased to present another in our series of cooking events at the JWU campus in Center City Charlotte. Chef Megan Lambert from Johnson and Wales and registered dietitian, Stephanie Saullo from the NRI will come together to demonstrate delicious, healthy cooking while sharing tips for consuming a balanced, nutritious diet. Attendees will be able to sample the fare. The location of the event is the Hance Auditorium, Johnson & Wales University, 801 West Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202. Register early for this much-anticipated event!

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NRI Director Awarded Highest Honor by ASN

NRI Director, Steve Zeisel, M.D., Ph.D., has been elected as a member of the American Society for Nutrition Class of 2017 Fellows. To be inducted as a Fellow is the highest honor this society bestows and recognizes Dr. Zeisel’s distinguished career in nutrition research. He was president of ASN in 2002-2003.

Dr. Zeisel’s work and dedication to nutrition research helped prove that choline is essential to a normal diet. His lab’s work led the US National Academy of Science to set a minimum amount of choline required for a healthy diet, and the Food and Drug Administration to approve labelling on packaging to tell consumers how much choline is in a food product. Read more about Dr. Zeisel’s many contributions to the field of human nutrition.

This recognition by the ASN is a true honor and significant career achievement. Please join us in extending congratulations to Dr. Steve Zeisel.

Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics, & Precision Nutrition Workshop

Book your calendars for May 22-25, 2017 as the second annual Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics, & Precision Nutrition workshop is being offered in Kannapolis, NC.

This short course is designed for graduate students, health professionals and nutrition scientists from academia and industry. The workshop-style course will provide the fundamental concepts of nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics and personalized nutrition through cutting-edge presentations and hands-on experiences. Attendees will be afforded the opportunity to participate in a personal DNA test and examine their own nutrigenetic data. Graduate student and post-doc registration fees are subsidized. In addition, full scholarships are available.

For more information, email NRI_NGX@unc.edu or visit uncnri.org/workshop.

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Give into FEWer Sugary Temptations

There is a scientific reason we often can’t resist delicious treats. The NRI’s Robyn Amos-Kroohs, Ph.D., explains what that is.

Chocolate is largely composed of fat and sugar, which taste delicious on their own, but together create often irresistible flavor. Scientifically, fat and sugar in chocolate and other foods trigger a response in the brain termed a “food reward,” where the release of a brain chemical, dopamine, connects the taste of chocolate with a positive feeling in the brain. Dopamine controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, occupying a unique link between something you do and the resulting emotional response.

“This connection between the taste of chocolate and dopamine release from the brain reinforces the idea that eating chocolate will make you feel better in situations where you’re feeling sad or stressed,” Amos-Kroohs explained.

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