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July/August 2020 - Volume 55 - Issue 4

  • Johanna Dwyer, DSc, RD
  • 0029-666X
  • 1538-9839
  • 6 issues / year

The dog days of summer are here and, for those under lockdown, they aren't much fun at all. But we have an issue this month that we think you will really enjoy. So, get yourself a nice, cool drink, a fan, and an easy chair and dig in.

We begin by tackling a delicious topic, the "Southern" diet from several angles. Our columnist, Dr. Kathy Kolasa, ably assisted by Dr. Gina Firnhaber and Kay Craven, wrote a fascinating review of this much loved and, sadly, sometimes maligned food pattern. Avoid the "Southern Diet"? What, really? Actually, there is no need to forego its delights. They find ways for people to have their cake and eat it too; providing hints on how to preserve the flavors of those tasty dishes while cutting back on some of the less desirable features from a nutritional standpoint. For those wanting CE credit, this is the pick of the month for credit and there is a short test for you to take to get certified.

Next, we give the podium to Deanna Pucciarelli, PhD, a cultural anthropologist, who provides a fascinating perspective in her article "The Southern Diet: A historical view on food consumption and how the region's foodways get a bad rap." This really helped me to understand many nuances that somehow eluded me until now. The article explains some of the demonization that this pattern has been subjected to, owing to associations with adverse health effects that may leave out some other important variables that have little to do with food and a lot to do with economics.

A lot of us have had enough of COVID to last the rest of the century, but our columnists Sylvia Rowe and Nick Alexander take a constructive look at some of the communication disasters associated with it over the past few months and highlight some lessons we nutritionists can benefit from. Take a look at their piece, entitled: "Risk Communication in the Time of COVID: Early lessons for Nutrition, Food, and Health Communicators."

We all know that yoghurt is often a fermented food (some are fake and not) but now there are plenty of other fermented foods on the market. Some of them seem to claim that they hold the secret to life everlasting. Taking a more science-based view of these offerings, Emily Heinen, Rylee T. Ahnen, and Dr Joanne L. Slavin, describe what they are and evaluate their pros and cons. It is a quick and useful primer on these new, not-so-
miracle foods

Speaking of claims that often go a bit too far, take a look at "Dietary Supplement Use in the US: Prevalence, Trends, Pros and Cons" by Jeff Moore, along with Drs Amanda McClain and Dr. Mee Young Hong. They point out that some supplements can help consumers fill gaps in their nutrient in takes but others may be useless or even harmful and make unsupportable claims.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report has just come out and it is no surprise that they recommend plenty of fruits and vegetables, but many of us are still not getting as many as experts say we need. Dr. Dennis Saviano, our columnist, teams up with Gretchen Wiese, Maria Reina Krisham, and Camille Clark to product a fascinating manuscript entitled "Incentivizing Fruits and Vegetables in the Farm Bill." That might work!

On a pleasant note, our spice guru Dr. Keith Singletary does "Vanilla: Possible Health Benefits" in an excellent review of this popular flavoring. And while you're at it, maybe take your mask off for long enough to enjoy a nice, cool, vanilla ice cream cone to cut the heat and indulge yourself a little in this COVID summer!

Listen to public health advice, stay safe, and stay happy. If you do, by this time next year, we will be in a much better place.

Johanna Dwyer

Editor, Nutrition Today

P.S. An excellent Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report was issued on July 15 and comments are welcome from the public until mid-August. Take a look and we will be featuring an analysis in an upcoming issue of Nutrition Today. In the meantime, congratulations to the committee, which includes two distinguished members of our Editorial Board

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