Protein Committee Funds Tufts University Scientist
The ILSI North America Protein Committee is partially sponsoring a scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
After an extensive search, Dr. Adela Hruby was selected to conduct a multi-year research project with Dr. Paul Jacques examining relationships between protein intake and health outcomes among older adult Americans. She was most recently a Research Fellow in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.
While at the Tufts University Friedman School earning her PhD, Adela received multiple awards and honors, including an American Heart Association predoctoral fellowship, the Irwin H. Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Predoctoral Research, and a prize for Research Excellence in Nutrition Science and Policy at the Friedman School.
Dr. Hruby’s interests are wide reaching, and include diet, gene-diet interactions, and metabolomics in cardiometabolic health. Her other research interests include the health of soldiers and connections between diet and mental health. She is planning several future publications examining protein intake and health outcomes as a result of this sponsored scientist position.
Food Relevant Chemicals in ToxCast - New Database Available
The Food and Chemical Safety Committee has developed a new, publicly available database that provides context needed for interpreting and analyzing large datasets such as ToxCast. It includes current, chemical use information (in the U.S.) for 1,211 food related chemicals in ToxCast.
EPA's Toxicity Forecaster (ToxCast) generates data and predictive models on over 1800 chemicals from various sources, not just food. It uses high-throughput screening methods and computational toxicology approaches to rank and prioritize chemicals. High-throughput screening allows a researcher to quickly conduct millions of chemicals, genetic, or pharmacological tests. However, the utility of such extensive datasets can be misleading when the context of current chemical usage and exposure is not conveyed.
To provide context for food chemicals identified in ToxCast, this database categorizes the chemicals into three groups: (1) direct food additives, (2) indirect food additives, or (3) pesticide residues. Manual curation resulted in 30% of chemicals having new annotation as well as the removal of 319 chemicals, mainly due to cancellation or only foreign usage. The refined list of food-use chemicals and the sources highlighted for compiling annotated information required to confirm food-use are valuable resources for providing needed context when evaluating large-scale inventories such as ToxCast.
ILSI North America presents at 2017 World Conference on Research Integrity
On May 29th, ILSI North America's Alison Kretser, MS, RD and Delia Murphy presented the ongoing efforts related to scientific integrity at the 5th World Conference on Research Integrity, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. During the poster “walk”, the development of the draft principles and best practices for scientific integrity were presented. These draft principles and best practices were developed in collaboration with individuals from nearly 30 United States and Canadian government agencies, universities, professional societies, and non-profit scientific organizations during a consortium held at the National Academies in March 2017.
The conference was organized around the themes of "transparency and accountability, building on the premise that the honesty and reliability of research are best served by openly sharing all aspects of research and by taking personal responsibility for it. They serve as the underpinning for the research process. It is important that institutions and universities guard and preserve the freedom of research”. These themes are directly in line with ILSI North America's core values. The conference was an opportunity for over 800 attendees from 53 countries around the world to share efforts on research integrity, and it was clear that ILSI North America's efforts are valuable to both the United States and International scientific communities.
The draft principles and best practices for scientific integrity are intended to be used broadly across all scientific disciplines and will be published in peer reviewed journal in the coming months.
New Database Available for Understanding the Role of Fortified Foods in the Diet
There continues to be debate on the value of processed foods compared to whole foods in the diet. To further inform this debate, the ILSI North America Fortification Committee recently sponsored the development of a database which estimates intrinsic (naturally occurring), fortified (voluntarily added), and enriched (added to meet standard of identity) nutrients for foods reported as eaten in the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 releases of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This database is now freely accessible to researchers who are demonstrably skilled in NHANES analysis.
This new database allows researchers to analyze each food identified as fortified or enriched in NHANES. Values for intrinsic, fortified and enriched were estimated in 15 nutrients including; vitamins A, C, D, E, B6 and B12, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and potassium. The database can be used to estimate intakes of nutrients added for fortification or enrichment purposes and how they contribute to overall dietary intake levels.
Ultimately, information on nutrient intakes from added sources could be used to better align intakes with nutrient needs and give the public health community a better understanding of how fortification plays a role in various dietary patterns.
Systematic Review Furthers our Understanding of Caffeine on Human Health
At the Experimental Biology conference in April, ILSI North America released a rigorous and transparent Systematic Review paper on caffeine safety, confirming the results of the widely-cited Health Canada literature review (2003), which concluded that adverse health effects were not associated with caffeine intake levels at ≤400 mg/day for adults ≤300 mg/day for pregnant women and ≤2.5 mg/kg-day for children and adolescents. 400mg is equivalent to about 4 cups of coffee/day and 90% of Americans typically consume less than this amount. Additionally, findings support a shift in future research to unhealthy populations, sensitive populations and inter-individual variability.
The research team was led by ToxStrategies, and included experts from University of Oklahoma, University of Pennsylvania, University of Miami, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, University of Manitoba, and Purdue University.
Since 2003, more than 10,000 papers have been published related to caffeine, but a robust, transparent and systematic assessment of the health effects associated with caffeine consumption was not available in the peer-reviewed literature. For this reason, ILSI North America commissioned a Systematic Review of data published from 2001 to 2015 following the IOM Standards for Systematic Reviews. The manuscript was published in Food & Chemical Toxicology.
In line with ILSI North America's commitment to open data and transparency, all the data supporting this Systematic Review can be accessed on the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality's (AHRQ) Systematic Review Data Repository (SRDR) and the protocol for each health outcome can be reviewed on PROSPERO, a prospective register for systematic reviews.