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The science behind human nutrition is complex and rapidly changing.  For decades the focus has been on consuming a balanced diet, while avoiding too much saturated fat, salt, and added sugars.  Today, the dietary guidelines for the nation place much more emphasis on fruit and vegetable intake, because of our need to increase average intakes of antioxidants by two- or three-fold.

We have become, according to the USDA, a nation of people who are overfed yet also undernourished. Degenerative diseases with their roots in poor dietary choices are driving up health care costs upward and are now the leading cause of death.

It is becoming clearer that the problem with fat intake for most Americans is not just a matter of excess calories, but consuming an unhealthy mix of fats.  For example, the typical western diet is far too high in omega 6 fatty acids and too low in omega 3 fatty acids.  The imbalance in fatty acid intakes is emerging as a more decisive risk factor for cardiovascular disease than overall fat intake. And for this reason, the search is on across the food industry, and in several CSANR research projects, for ways to alter the fatty acid profile of foods and daily diets.

Featured Publications

Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition: A United States-Wide, 18-Month Study

Benbrook CM, Butler G, Latif MA, Leifert C, Davis DR (2013) PLoS ONE 8(12):e82429.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082429  Key findings and media coverage available HERE.

Initial Reflections on the Annals of Internal Medicine Paper “Are Organic Foods Safer and Healthier than Conventional Alternatives? A Systematic Review”

Charles Benbrook; September 2012.

Additional Publications

Stability of anthocyanins in frozen and freeze-dried raspberries during long-term storage: In relation to glass transition

Syamaladevi, R. M., Sablani, S. S., Tang, J., Powers, J. and Swanson, B. G. 2011. Journal of Food Science 76: 414-421.

Helping Sustain Agriculture in Africa

WSU scientist Lynne Carpenter-Boggs is working with an international group of scientists to help find bean varieties and microbial inoculates that will improve yields on the ancient soils that farms in many parts of Africa must contend with. Dr. Carpenter-Boggs took a Flip camera to Africa and shot some wonderful footage of farms, people and animals.

Aging of amorphous raspberry powder: enthalpy relaxation and fragility

Syamaladevi, R. M., Sablani, S. S. and Swanson, B. G. 2010. Journal of Food Engineering 101: 32-40

Effect of thermal treatments on phytochemicals in conventionally and organically grown berries

Sablani, S. S., Andrews, P. K., Davies, N. M., Walters, T., Saez, H., Syamaladevi, R. M., and Mohekar, P. R. 2010. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 90: 769-778

Effects of air and freeze drying on phytochemical content of conventional and organic berries

Sablani, S. S., Andrews, P. K., Davies, N. M., Walters, T., Saez, H., Bastarrachea, L. 2011. Drying Technology 29: 205-216

Yield, Protein and Nitrogen Use Efficiency of Spring Wheat: Evaluating Field-Scale Performance

Chapter 17 in Climate Friendly Farming: Improving the Carbon Footprint of Agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. Full report available at

Nutritional Value of Winter and Spring Wheat: A Comparison of historic and Modern Varieties – Summer 2007

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter

The USDA Disconnect: Nutritional Guidelines and Farm Subsidies – September 2005

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter

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