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Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Nicholle Benedict Nutritional Sciences Chandler Bourff Nutritional Sciences Maria Martinez Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Anne VanBeber Nutritional Sciences Lyn Dart Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 4

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Background: To replace milk fats and eggs commonly found in ice cream, vegan varieties substitute with vegetable fats and/or pureed fruits. Vegan ingredient substitutions for ice cream must contain similar structural components to milk fat to preserve the expected texture/mouthfeel of the product. The purposes of this study were 1) to measure university students’ preferences and sensory ratings of vegan ice cream substitutions and 2) to identify which ingredients act as the best replacements.

Methods: 54 students enrolled in one of two TCU Nutritional Sciences (NTDT) courses participated in this single-blind, cross-sectional study. Subjects completed sensory evaluation of three homemade vegan ice creams containing different structural/flavor components. Sample A included coffee, cashews, and coconut cream; B used coconut cream and dates, and C contained coconut milk. Evaluations took place on two separate occasions in the NTDT Laboratory Kitchens. Flavor, sweetness, texture, mouthfeel, eye appeal, color, and overall rating of vegan ingredient substitutions for ice cream recipes were assessed. Sensory criteria responses were analyzed using SPSS XIX. Frequency distributions, ANOVAs, correlations, and descriptive statistics were determined to meet study objectives (p≤0.05). Protocol was approved by the TCU IRB.

Results: 53% of participants preferred the flavor of sample A, 42% of participants reported that sample B was the preferred flavor, and sample C received the lowest overall acceptability rating, with 73% of the participants disliking the flavor. More than 50% of participants stated sample A was most similar to traditionally-prepared non-vegan ice cream, and 78% of participants stated that they would consume these ice creams outside of the study.

Conclusions: Acceptable vegan ice cream fat substitutes are available. Cashew, coconut cream, dates, and coffee contributed to the rich flavors, creamy textures, and overall desirable sensory qualities in samples A and B. Coconut milk, utilized in sample C, contributed to an undesirable and unacceptable crystallized texture.

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The Transformation of Views and Knowledge of Plant-Based Diets of University Students Throughout the Course of Education and Exposure

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Alby Bounlutay Nutritional Sciences Jane Speaker Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Anne VanBeber Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 1

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Background: Research indicates individuals who follow plant-based diets make healthier food choices and have less chronic disease than those consuming the Standard American Diet. It is hypothesized that Texas Christian University (TCU) students have limited knowledge and/or exposure to vegan/plant-based lifestyles and diets. The purpose of this study was to determine whether knowledge level and attitudes/beliefs of vegan/plant-based diets/lifestyle changed with exposure and newly-gained knowledge in a semester-long three-hour course.

Methods: Subjects included 23 junior/senior multidisciplinary TCU students (56%/female; 44%/male) enrolled in a course about plant-based diets and lifestyles. Students completed a pre-assessment questionnaire on the first day of class before exposure to any content regarding vegan/plant-based diets and lifestyles. Students completed a post-assessment questionnaire at semester end to ascertain if changes in attitudes/knowledge/beliefs regarding vegan/plant-based diets and lifestyles changed over time with exposure and newly-gained subject knowledge in the course. Data was analyzed using SPSS (p<0.05).

Results: Prior to starting the course, 13% of students reported they were vegetarians, and 83% typically consumed animal protein in their diets (p=0.01); more students in health-related disciplines noted having friends/family members who followed vegan diets (p=0.01). Pre-assessment results showed that female students were more knowledgeable than male students about plant-based diets/veganism (p=0.01); whereas, post-assessment knowledge scores showed no differences among gender. Overall, post-assessment scores improved for all students in the following categories: reasons why people choose veganism, acceptable foods for vegans, nutrients at risk for vegans, availability of vegan ready-to-eat foods/grocery store and restaurant meals, and risk for chronic disease of vegans vs. people who consume animal products (p=0.01).

Conclusions: Students majoring in the sciences and nursing/health sciences possessed greater knowledge about vegan/plant-based diets/lifestyles than their counterparts majoring in other subjects. Although level of prior knowledge varied among all students, exposure to the topic through a vegan/plant-based studies course increased knowledge of participants.

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Nutrition Education and Sensory Evaluation Influence Preferences for Peanut and Alternative Nut/Seed Butters

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Greg Carr Nutritional Sciences Colton Galbreaith Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Lyn Dart Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 2; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 4

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Peanut butter is an all-American staple in nine out of 10 households. It’s estimated that each U.S. youth consumes an average of 1,500 peanut butter sandwiches by the time he/she graduates from high school. Although, the popularity of peanut butter alternatives such as tree nuts/seed butters has grown in recent years due to their rich source of nutrients, peanut butter continues to be the “nut butter” of choice for most people. This may be due to lack of knowledge about the health benefits of different nut/seed butters and/or lack of exposure to these products.

The purpose of this study was to examine if taste-testing and increased awareness about the health benefits of tree nut/seed butters would influence their consumption among university students. 52 students enrolled in a multi-disciplinary introductory nutrition course participated in this single-blind, cross-sectional study. Participants completed a pre-study questionnaire identifying key nutritional benefits of peanut and alternative tree nuts/seeds butters and typical consumption of each. Following education about the nutrient content of peanuts compared to cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds, participants taste-tested and evaluated a sample butter of each and completed a post-study questionnaire. Study procedures were approved by university IRB, and participants responses and sensory rankings were analyzed to meet study objectives (SPSS; p<0.05).

Significant improvement in pre and post-study knowledge of nutrient content in nut/seed butters was noted (p=0.01). Sensory evaluation showed that preferences for peanut butter were highest among participants, followed by almond butter and cashew butter. Sunflower seed butter was least preferred (p=0.01). Taste, color, and texture/mouthfeel sensory rankings correlated with overall acceptability for each sample (p=0.05). Following sensory evaluation, preferences for consuming almond butter increased by 38% compared to pre-tasting responses (p=0.01).

Education and sensory evaluation are both important strategies for enhancing awareness of health benefits and acceptability of peanut butter alternatives.

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The Relationship Between Probiotic Comsumption and Immunity in College Students Ages 18-24

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Colleen Coffey Nutritional Sciences Claire Sorrels Nutritional Sciences Grace Williams Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Rebecca Dority Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 2; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 1

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Background: Among the many benefits associated with the consumption of probiotics, modulation of the immune system has recently received the most attention. Previously, researchers and scientists thought that the use of probiotics only improved the gastrointestinal tract, thereby aiding digestion. However, there is now evidence to support that intake of probiotics is effective in the prevention and/or management of many gastrointestinal diseases plus modulating immune functions in a person with normal immunological status and microbiota.
Methods: An online survey regarding knowledge of foods containing probiotics, consumption of these foods, frequency of probiotic supplementation, and recent illness was developed to determine the relationship between probiotic intake and immune health among college students. Researchers recruited Texas Christian University students through e-mail and social media. Once the target number of participants (>150) responded to the survey, data was analyzed using SPSS.
Results: Upon surveying participants (N=157), 58% (n=91) of respondents reported that they did not take a probiotic supplement, while 19.8% (n=31) reported taking a supplement every day or ≥3-4 times/week. There was a strong correlation between those who reported frequent probiotic supplementation and lower incidence of strep throat (p<0.01), lower incidence of nausea and vomiting (p<0.01), and lower incidence of constipation (p<0.05). There was also a correlation between the consumption of certain foods containing probiotics, yogurt specifically, and illness frequency, notably, lower incidence of fever (p<0.01) and cold (p<0.05).
Conclusions: There is a significant correlation between the consumption of probiotic supplements and positive effects with certain illnesses, but some foods containing probiotics show opposite or negligible results. For more conclusive results, further research should be conducted with controlled variables to determine the relationship between illness and intake of probiotic supplements versus probiotic-containing foods.

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Fad Diet or Exercise? Maintaining Weight among Millennials

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Leigh Mattson Nutritional Sciences Katie Shamoon Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Anne VanBeber Nutritional Sciences Lyn Dart Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 5

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Background: Research indicates Millennials are more concerned about having healthy eating habits than following fad diets, and they exercise more than their Baby Boomer counterparts. The purposes of this study were 1) to determine reasons university students follow fad diets, and 2) to determine other methods students utilize for weight management.
Methods: In this un-blinded, randomized trial approved by TCU IRB, participants completed an online research questionnaire after providing informed consent. Population included 236 TCU male and female students, 18-22 years old. Analyses assessed students’ history of fad dieting and outcomes, perceived health status based on body weight and image, eating and exercise habits, and incidence of lifestyle practices such as smoking and alcohol use. Data was analyzed using SPSS (p<0.05). Frequency distributions and correlations were analyzed for trends in health maintenance behaviors.
Results: Participants self-identified as 76% females, 85% white, 6% Hispanic, and 4% other ethnicity. Only 32% of participants had followed a fad diet (p=0.01). Participants who followed fad diets included 30% Paleolithic®, 23% Gluten-Free®, 20% Weight Watchers®, and 14% Atkins®. Of those who followed the respective diets, 58% did not achieve desired results and reported feeling tired, had no change in health status, experienced temporary weight loss, and always felt hungry, and 56% of participants answered “no” when asked if fad diets work. Of those who followed a fad diet, 40% would not follow one again. Results also show a strong relationship between females and healthy eating habits, pressure to be a certain weight, and perceiving themselves to be a normal weight (p=0.01). Finally, weight loss behavior results show that 97% of participants exercise, while only 57% consciously eat less, and 55% count calories (p=0.01).
Conclusions: University students who followed fad diets experienced temporary or adverse results. Exercise was preferred rather than dieting to maintain weight.

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Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Petra Rack Nutritional Sciences Hannah Post Nutritional Sciences Abby Read Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Gina Hill Nutritional Sciences
Location: Session: 2; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 5

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Background: Up to 40% of food produced in America is wasted each year. Meanwhile over 42 million Americans are food insecure. The purposes of this study were to 1) identify contributing factors to local restaurant food waste, 2) describe barriers to restaurant food donations, and 3) describe barriers to donation acceptance by shelter employees.
Methods: Two electronic surveys were distributed to either local restaurant managers/owners or to employees involved in food donation acceptance in local shelters/kitchens following phone calls and/or personal visits by researchers to facilities. Data were coded into and analyzed using SPSS.
Results: There was a 17% (N=12/72) and 100% (N=14/14) response rate for restaurants and shelters requested to participate, respectively. While only 16% (N=2) of restaurant survey respondents (RSR) were concerned about food waste in their establishments, all RSR (N=12) agreed that reducing food waste in their facilities was important. Over 83% (N=10) reported having successful food waste prevention measures in their restaurants. There was a positive correlation with report of presence of prevention measures and knowledge of the Good Samaritan Act (r=.67, p<0.05). Approximately 42% (N=5) of RSR reported they would be interested in connecting with local shelters to donate food and also agreed that liability is a barrier to safe food donations.  Among shelter respondents, 81% (N=9) agreed that their facilities would benefit from excess restaurant food donations.
Conclusion: Although all RSR agreed that food waste prevention measures were important, the majority were not concerned about food waste in their facilities. Due to the overall poor response rates among restaurant owners/managers, the RSR in this survey may represent a segment that were more interested in food waste and more likely to respond to the survey.  The majority of respondents of both surveys agreed that partnering with restaurants and shelters for safe excess food donation was desirable.
Word count: 297

Funding Source: None

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The Correlation Between the Addition of a Condiment and Plate Waste in an Elementary School Meal Program Serving Students Ages 5-12

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Samantha Lane Nutritional Sciences Sarah Timmer Nutritional Sciences
Advisor(s): Rebecca Dority Nutritional Sciences

Background: There have been many food waste studies done in elementary schools around the country. Several studies have determined that main entrées contribute significantly to plate waste in elementary school food programs, but studies relating the use of condiments and their influence on food waste need further exploration.
Objectives: Determine the correlation between the addition of condiments and the amount of plate waste from a chicken entrée.
Methods: In Phase I, data was collected in an elementary afterschool meal program. Researchers evaluated plate waste for the chicken entrée once a week for a total of four weeks. Chicken entrée plate waste was evaluated by weight and visual assessment. The waste weight was compared to the weight of one serving of the chicken entrée. A photograph of the total plate waste was taken each week for visual comparison. Researchers compared the total number of servings prepared to the number of servings leftover. In Phase II of the study a condiment (ketchup) was added to the menu when the chicken entrée was served. A marketing campaign was implemented with flyers to advertise the addition of the condiment. For the remaining four weeks, plate waste was documented using the same methods utilized during Phase I.
Results: In Phase I, an average of 26.7% of chicken entrées was wasted. In Phase II, an average of 20.8% of chicken entrées was wasted. No statistically significant difference was found in the percentage of food leftover between Phase I and Phase II (p<0.06). After adjusting for differences in initial portion size, there was still no statistically significant difference in weight of entrée left over (p<0.3).
Conclusion: Though there was no significant difference, the amount of waste is large enough to draw attention to the problem of waste in school foodservice. More research is necessary to determine what factors are leading to food waste.

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