Pork Checkoff Invests in Human Nutrition Research

Posted on

In this edition of Pork Pod, National Pork Board manager of nutrition communications and research Adria Huseth highlights the Pork Checkoff investment in human nutrition research. That includes the popular DASH diet.


Don Wick


Adria Huseth , Manager of Nutrition Communications, National Pork Board




Don Wick: 00:01 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines Iowa. It’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research promotion and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff and today our guest is Adria Huseth who is the manager of nutrition communications and research for the National Pork Board. Certainly there’s been a significant investment in research on human nutrition. Adria can you bring us up to date.

Adria Huseth: 00:31 We have quite a few ongoing projects I can actually pull up our RFP which is our request for proposal. This goes out from each Science and Technology Department area and each does it a little different. My area I typically do it once a year depending on the quality of the proposals we get in. So we look at a few different areas. One is looking at protein and health particularly dietary pork that could include the role and diet quality health. Looking at the lifecycle so anything from infancy all the way up to the aging population, looking at healthy eating patterns which are defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. We can look at cardiometabolic well-being & dietary pork including include anything from Heart Health, cardiovascular disease, obesity & related disorders. And then we look at dietary nutrients and functions of pork so we like to keep that kind of broad under this category. If there’s something unique or novel that people are working on or investigating that they think the health effects of fresh pork consumption would be interesting to study. We kind of keep that broad but then we narrow it down a little bit. So looking at the intestinal health throughout the lifecycle defining optimizing the gut microbiome in humans and of course all this is specific to using fresh lean pork.

Don Wick: 02:04 So help me understand who utilizes or uses the studies that come out of this research rate?

Adria Huseth: 02:11 I guess the short answer is anyone can use them but who actually uses them. We use them when we create our educational materials or factsheets particularly for health professionals. Different industries will use them including federal agencies that draft dietary recommendations like the dietary guidelines or World Health Organization the scientific literature when drafting their recommendations every three to five years. And then of course scientists. As you know science is ever evolving area. Other scientists will use the published literature to build off of and make it better as the technology improves.

Don Wick: 02:59 So look back with me what are some of the interesting pieces of research that you’ve seen in recent memory here?

Adria Huseth: 03:06 we have a lot of projects in the works and a lot coming out that we’re looking forward to publishing. And then of course educating not only our producers but our health professionals with that information. Over the last couple of years and they’re really exciting and interesting stuff that we’ve had come down the pipeline is looking at lean pork in the DASH diet. So that’s the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension it really is kind of the gold standard of eating a lot of health professionals recommend this eating pattern of course lots of fruits and vegetables and the lower sodium diet, lean proteins and whole grains. So we looked at research that found that including lean pork instead of the typical chicken or fish that you see recommended in the DASH diet resulted in the same blood pressure benefit. We had overweight men and women who were on a six week DASH diet. One was on chicken and fish. The other group was on that with lean pork and it showed that the blood pressure the systolic & diastolic blood pressure both decreased on both diets. So basically saying pork is just as effective as what usually recommended in the DASH Diet with chicken or fish. It’s just as effective in decreasing the blood pressure and overall health. We’ve done lots of studies looking at body composition and appetite. The higher protein diets and maintaining lean muscle mass and review of 90 studies or more supports that the real high protein diets really support a healthy weight. Now that’s over one gram of protein per kilogram per day. So that averages out to about 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal. And what that has shown regarding body composition is that there’s a greater total weight loss there’s increased fat mass loss which is what you want in preservation of that lean body mass which is really important especially in the aging population to preserve that lean mass because you really start losing that after the age of once you get into your 30s you start losing it. And then as far as appetite a higher protein diet has shown that it makes you feel fuller longer so that longer satiety is really effective compared to other macronutrients you might find in some other some other food. And then the one that was most recently published that we’re really excited about you might have seen some of it in the media is that we looked at sarcopenia obesity. That is looking at older women on a high protein diet and we wanted to look at the effectiveness of a higher protein diet. So about that each meal and it that was influential for their weight loss but also building a very lean muscle mass. So they’re able to do have more functionality throughout their daily routine. And what we found is that there’s two groups. One had a higher protein diet. One was an average protein diet of the typical American. But what we found is that both weight loss groups were at a significant functional benefit in that including higher amounts of protein as part of a lower calorie diet was really effective for weight loss. But more importantly improve the physical function of these daily routines of these older, aging population. So that’s really important in the aging population to preserve that lean muscle mass and keeping them active as possible.

Don Wick: 06:31 Pretty impressive.

Adria Huseth: 06:32 A high protein diet could do that. Yeah.

Don Wick: 06:34 So how does this information how does his research help with the producer level?


Adria Huseth: 06:41 You bet. So I guess the short answer is it creates awareness for the product which in turn we’re helping lead the promotion and sales. But, in the scientific aspect you know it adds to that body of literature which is used for education of health professionals scientists can look at it adds the literature. So when the dietary recommendations come out they use that body of evidence when they’re drafting their federal guidelines and policies. They really take that body of science into consideration. proof is in the pudding right. So the science is out there, they really use that when drafting their recommendations and for different reasons. The surge in obesity and metabolic diseases that substantially increases heart disease risk, combined with heart diseases being the leading cause of death in the U.S. for almost the entire past decade, there is an ever-increasing interest and awareness among today’s consumers on nutritional health and long-term wellness. Funding research projects on varying topics creates a unique opportunity to educate consumers through research about red meat pork and cardiometabolic risks. Continuous funding of human nutrition research broadens the understanding of the role that dietary pork can potentially play in cardiometabolic well-being and other health aspects affecting the majority of U.S. population who prefer routine consumption of meat.

Don Wick: 08:07 Pretty impressive information if folks are interested they want to look up some of the human research projects funded by the Pork Checkout where do they go. What can they find that information?

Adria Huseth: 08:19 You bet. So once the research is published we house it on www.pork.org/research.

Don Wick: 08:28 Thanks to you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself. Visit pork.org.