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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Food Components and Health Laboratory » Research » Research Project #445750

Research Project: Strategies to Alter Dietary Food Components and Their Effects on Food Choice and Health-Related Outcomes (BRIDGE)

Location: Food Components and Health Laboratory

Project Number: 8040-10700-002-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jan 23, 2024
End Date: Dec 31, 2024

Objective 1: Determine how changes in dietary food components macro and micronutrients composition affect taste, palatability, food choice and health. Objective 2: Investigate the effect of food processing methods on nutrient intake and disease risk reduction. Objective 3: Determine how foods and food components alter food and energy intake (measured over 2 months).

United States (U.S.) agriculture produces a bountiful array of healthful foods to support the nutritional needs of the American population, providing us vast options to use diet to support health and reduce risk of chronic disease. However, healthful foods are useless if they are not selected for consumption. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) What We Eat in America dietary survey has demonstrated that Americans are not following the Dietary Guidelines, but rather are eating too much salt, sugar, and protein, and falling short on fruits and vegetables. A complex array of factors influences food selection and consumption, including taste/palatability, satiety, convenience, healthfulness, and emotional/psychological factors. This project plan aims to improve understanding of these drivers of food intake and health consequences of consuming certain foods of concern. We will conduct two human feeding interventions to target different factors influencing food selection and consumption. In one study, we will investigate different methods for altering food preference, through either gradual or rapid alterations in the diet. In another study, we will provide a satiating food item twice per day, then measure all other food selected and consumed. We will also evaluate emotional and psychological factors throughout the food selection study. Finally, recognizing that consumers struggle with the balance between convenience and healthfulness, we will evaluate health effects of raw vs. processed meat, to see whether selection of this processed convenience food has negative health consequences. This research will offer paradigms for approaches to improve dietary choices by Americans, and provide a scientific basis for dietary recommendations and nutrition policy.