From the Academy

By: Tara Kessinger

USDA Grant Funding

The USDA announced more than $113 million in grants to strengthen local and regional food systems, support farmers markets, minority and veteran farmers, organic research and offers funding opportunity for specialty crop research. The $26 million Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program will provide for more than 100 projects that support rural economies, increase market opportunities for farmers and help close supply chain gaps in communities across the country. The $21.4 million Organic Research and Extension Program will provide for 26 projects that help organic farmers and ranchers improve business operations and bring more organic food to the table for consumers. Community Food Projects will be allotted $8.6 million to provide for 33 projects that help make healthy, nutritious foods available to people from low income neighborhoods. The funding will also provide for support systems based research and extension activities that accelerate science based solutions and new technology for the specialty crop industry by providing $48.1 million towards Specialty Crop Research Initiatives. Finally, $8.4 million will provide funding for programs in 24 states that provide training outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers.

Mushrooms and Vitamin D Levels

There are few naturally occurring sources of Vitamin D, especially for those who choose a vegetarian or vegan meal pattern. Mushrooms that are cultivated in the wild have historically contained higher amounts of vitamin D when compared to those grown in a commercial setting. The outdoor exposure to ultraviolet light helps to improve the vitamin D content of wild mushrooms; however, ultraviolet light after harvesting can also increase the amount of vitamin D in commercially grown mushrooms. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis confirmed that the number of randomly controlled studies examining the bioavailability of vitamin D and its effectiveness in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels have been few in number and produced inconsistent findings. Several trials referenced white or brown button mushrooms; however, the amount of vitamin D obtained through UV exposure and the preparation of mushroom used by the participants varied, as did the duration of the trials, seasonality, and methods used to measure serum levels. While it is evident that some varieties of mushrooms could be regarded as good source of vitamin D, not all types will meet the criteria, yet mushrooms provide other valuable nutrients and are naturally low in calories and make a great addition to the overall diet to help compliment other good sources of vitamin D.

Apple vs Pear Body

fat distribution is an important risk factor for obesity-related disorders. Individuals who have a primarily upper-body fat distribution (characterized by an android or apple shape) are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death, even after controlling for BMI. In 2013 the Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the Obesity Society was published. It was determined that the available evidence for waist circumference measurements of >102 cm [>40 in] in men and >88 cm [>35 in] in women) was inadequate to address the relationship between current cut points and CVD outcomes. Therefore, expert opinion was used to recommend the measurement of waist circumference at annual visits or more frequently in overweight and obese adults. The RDN, in collaboration with other health care professionals, administrators, and/or public policy decision makers, should ensure that all adult patients have the following measurements at least annually: height and weight to calculate BMI; and waist circumference to determine risk of CVD, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality.




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