The gastrointestinal tract is considered one of the most complex microbial ecosystems on earth and the gut is the body site that is most densely populated with microbes which are known to affect digestion. By understanding the way foods interact with living organisms, it is certain to create diets that help people with disease control, as well as their health overall. The entire intestinal microflora is part of the immune system and about 80 percent of it originates in the gut. Moreover, studies have found that microbes of all kinds play instrumental roles in the functioning of the body. Research advances in the field of gastrointestinal health have noted that advanced DNA sequencing is now being used to shed light on the complex interactions of gut bacteria, and how such interactions affect health and the development of disease. This paper focuses on dietary patterns that provide positive control of gut microbiome that are associated with greater protective species and more health benefits. Fortunately, even if the beneficial bacteria are depleted, there are ways to increase them and help balance the bacteria in the digestive system. There are live microorganisms, probiotics, which, when consumed in adequate amounts, provide a health benefit while the prebiotics, including many dietary fibers, are food for the gut bacteria that stimulate the growth or activity of the intestinal bacteria. The current consensus is that gut bacteria have metabolic consequences for the host, with the understanding of what constitutes a healthy microbiota and how changes in its structure correlate with and affect health and disease.
Purpose: This cooking course was designed to teach children how to make tasty, nourishing food and foster an early love of healthy cooking.
Background: Childhood obesity is a growing nationwide epidemic (a). The standard American diet contains high amounts of fat, sodium, and sugar with deficiencies in fiber and vitamins. Numerous studies have shown that healthy eating can prevent and even reverse disease (b). Teaching children healthy cooking skills is a building block in the effort to prevent disease among families and decrease the burden of chronic disease.
Methods: A curriculum was designed using various online resources. The curriculum was designed for elementary students to participate in five one-hour classes over the course of one week at the Boys and Girls Club in Corvallis, OR. Each day highlighted different nutrition principles. The course also taught handwashing, knife safety, and oven safety. Approximately 40 minutes was used to prepare the food, and 20 minutes were used for discussions and educational activities. A survey was administered both before and after the class to assess changes in knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes about cooking and healthy foods.
Results: All the children who volunteered for the class already enjoyed cooking and believed that healthy eating is important. Although the number surveyed (5) was too small to complete meaningful statistical analysis, surveys showed an increased ability to identify plant-based foods and processed foods after the class was complete. Fruit consumption, veggie consumption, hand washing before cooking, and cooking at home also increased throughout the class. 4/5 of the children enjoyed the class and would take it again if offered.
Conclusion: Further research with a larger sample size is needed. However, surveys showed an increase in healthy eating behaviors such as eating at least one fruit and one veggie per day, helping with home cooking, and washing hands before cooking. The overall response to the class was positive, and it provided a fun and engaging environment for children to build their love of cooking and healthy foods.
Purpose: This week-long, three hours per day, cooking camp for kid's ages 7-13, emphasized a plant-based diet with nutrition and cooking lessons. The purpose was to increase participants' nutritional knowledge and their motivation to cook plant-based meals.
Background: Obesity has become an epidemic in the US. Plant-based diets (high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes) have been associated with preventing and treating chronic diseases, including obesity. (a) Lack of nutritional knowledge and/or cooking skills are factors that can contribute to unhealthy dietary choices, resulting in obesity. (b) Community-based programs that offer culinary and nutrition instruction have been implicated as promising approaches to addressing unhealthy dietary habits of children. (b.c)
Methods: A curriculum was designed based on online nutrition resources and Lifestyle Medicine literature. Each day, the participants cooked various plant-based foods, attended nutrition lessons, and played games. The pre-camp survey, designed to examine knowledge and motivation for healthy eating and cooking, was offered at the beginning of the camp; 32 participants completed it. There were 27 participants who completed the post-camp survey on the last day.
Results: Chi-square analysis shows that five out of the thirteen questions significantly increased in favor of plant-based nutrition. The greatest improvements in nutritional knowledge pertained to the questions about meat and cow’s milk, which increased by 63% and 50% respectively. Overall, interest in a plant-based diet increased by 33% (from 29% interested pre-camp to 62% interested postcamp.)
Conclusion: The participants of our study were enthusiastic and enjoyed the experience. The survey analysis shows increased nutritional knowledge and increased interest in plant-based diets. Culinary medicine provides a unique avenue to promote a plant-based diet for the purpose of preventing obesity and other chronic diseases. Offering cooking camps emphasizing plant-based diets, with nutrition lessons can be a successful mechanism of culinary medicine.
Western diets can influence behavior and gut microbiome due to the excessive intake of high fat and sucrose. Altering the microbiome can also influence the brain and behavior. The hypothesis that was tested was that diet-induced changes in the microbiome cause changes in cognitive abilities. A previous study showed learning and cognitive flexibility deficits in mice fed a high sucrose diet. The present study was designed to investigate whether altering the microbiome, via antibiotic treatment, would change the behavioral results when animals were on a high sucrose diet. Eight week old, male mice were randomly assigned to either high-sucrose (12% Kcal fat, 18% protein, 70% CHO (primarily sucrose)) or control defined (13% Kcal fat, 25% protein, 62% CHO) diets and either water or a combination of 4 antibiotics (vancomycin, neomycin, metronidazole and ampicillin) in the water. The animals were tested during the study for memory, anxiety, impulsiveness, and cognitive flexibility. Step-down latency, novel object recognition and marble burying tasks were performed both pre- and 7 weeks post-diet change. The Morris water maze, which tested for long and short-term memory and cognitive flexibility, was conducted during week 8 post-diet change. We found a significant effect of the antibiotic treatment on long term memory. The mice on antibiotics performed better than those on water treatments, suggesting that animals with reduced gut bacteria were learning better than those with only water treatment. There were no effects of diet in this study, which may be due to the use of a defined control diet, rather than the chow used in the previous study. These results suggest that the microbiome does play a role in learning.
The gut microbiome influences human disease including Type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome and interacts with the innate immune system. The human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (hCAMP), an important component of the innate immune system, and vitamin D and xanthohumol, a natural compound found in beer hops, regulate its expression. The overall hypothesis of current research in the Gombart lab is that consumption of these micronutrients regulates expression of hCAMP in the gut and that this changes the composition of the bacteria in the gut. These changes may lead to reduced obesity while consuming a high fat diet due to changes in the metabolites produced by the bacteria that affect the metabolism of the host. The working hypothesis for this project is that the composition of the microbiota is different between the wild type (WT) C57BL/6J , humanized CAMP/wild type mice (Tg/WT), Camp knockout mice (KO) and humanized CAMP/Camp knockout mice (Tg/KO). 16s rRNA sequencing data were aligned to the Greengenes 13.8 16s rRNA database using QIIME 1.9 from which a high quality phylogenetic tree was created using FastTree 2.1.7. The phylogenetic distance between groups was measured using the weighted and unweighted versions UniFrac metric and alpha diversity was measured through the phylogenetic diversity metric. Permutational ANOVA showed significant differences in the composition of the microbiota between the different CAMP genotypes. Additionally, KO mice showed significantly lower measures of phylogenetic diversity than other CAMP genotypes. Several bacterial species and genera that varied significantly between genotypes were identified.
Although epidemiological studies are equivocal regarding full-fat dairy consumption increasing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, controlled studies indicate that dairy milk, regardless of fat content, attenuates postprandial hyperglycemia (PPH), a predictor of CVD-related mortality. We hypothesized that dairy milk, independent of fat content, would protect against PPH-mediated oxidative stress that decreases nitric oxide (NO•) bioavailability by attenuating dysregulated arginine (ARG) metabolism and increases in endothelin-1. In a randomized, cross-over trial, prediabetic adults (n = 23) ingested iso-volumetric beverages (473 mL) of 75 g glucose alone (GLU) or with non-fat milk (NFM) or full-fat milk (FFM). Plasma glucose, malondialdehyde, ARG and metabolites [asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA); symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA), homoarginine (hARG)], endothelin-1, and NO• metabolites (NOx) were measured at 30 min intervals for 180 min. Compared with the GLU trial, the NFM and FFM trials had similarly attenuated increases in glucose at 60-90 min, malondialdehyde at 30-60 min, and endothelin-1 at 30-60 min and 120 min (P<0.05). GlucoseAUC, malondialdehydeAUC, and endothelin-1AUC were lower in NFM and FFM compared with GLU. GlucoseAUC, malondialdehydeAUC, and endothelin-1AUC were positively correlated (r = 0.34-0.38, P<0.05). NFM and FFM trials, compared with GLU, also had similarly attenuated decreases in ARG at 30-120 min and 180 min, and NOx at 30 min and 90-180 min, and increases in ADMA/ARG, SDMA/ARG, hARG/ARG at 60-180 min. Compared with GLU, ADMA/ARGAUC, SDMA/ ARGAUC, and hARG/ARGAUC were lower, and NOxAUC higher, in NFM and FFM. GlucoseAUC and malondialdehydeAUC correlated with ADMA/ARGAUC, SDMA/ARGAUC, and hARG/ARGAUC (r = 0.34-0.46, P<0.05). Collectively, despite recommendations derived from epidemiological studies to limit full-fat dairy consumption, these findings support dairy milk, regardless of its fat content, to lower CVD risk by attenuating PPH-mediated oxidative stress responses that limit NO• bioavailability likely by competitively.