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Julie Hess


Headshot of Julie Hess

Julie Hess, Ph.D.
Contact Information

(701) 795-8146


Dr. Hess received Bachelor of Arts degrees in French and English from the University of Texas at Austin and earned a doctoral degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Minnesota, where she studied the health impacts, consumption patterns, and dietary guidance around snacking, mushroom intake, and dairy intake.

Before joining the USDA ARS Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center (GFHNRC) as a Research Nutritionist in July 2021, Dr. Hess served as Vice President of Scientific Affairs for the National Dairy Council. She is an active member and volunteer with several nutrition and scientific organizations, including the Institute of Food Technologists and the American Society for Nutrition.

Research Interests

Dr. Hess’s research is centered on identifying and evaluating strategies to help Americans meet recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Her work involves investigating how American diets currently align with dietary guidance and recognizing and addressing barriers to following recommendations, including diet cost, dietary restrictions, and dietary preferences. She is especially interested in eating frequency and how “snacking,” or eating between meals, may impact overall energy and nutrient intakes as well as how external factors may affect eating frequency and eating behaviors.

Research Accomplishments

  • Established that “snacking” as an eating occasion was poorly defined in the nutrition literature and that, in cross-sectional studies, “snacks” were largely comprised of nutrient-poor foods, indicating an important opportunity to encourage nutrient-dense choices
  • Demonstrated that the food patterns recommended for adults by the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans can be modified to accommodate vegan and dairy-free diets with minimal impact on nutrient adequacy
  • Demonstrated that white button mushrooms consumed as part of a typical American diet do not impact energy (calorie) intake in healthy young adults
  • Established that whole- and reduced-fat dairy products can be included in recommended USDA food patterns from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans with minimal impacts on energy and saturated fat intake
  • Established that Americans meeting recommendations for dairy food intake from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans were more likely to have adequate intake of several micronutrients (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin B12, zinc) than Americans not meeting dairy recommendations
  • Determined the lowest cost food sources for nutrients of public health concern (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and fiber) in the American diet