Can you imagine 10400+ food and nutrition experts getting together to learn, network and (why not) have fun in the city of Boston? I was thrilled to be present at the world largest dietitians’ conference with colleagues from the US and from all over the globe. Of course it was hard to choose from more than 130 educational sessions during the four-day event and visit 350+ exhibitors on the expo floor. But, the richest part was networking with friends of the AODA (the international affiliation of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), presenting the work we did with my colleagues in Argentina in the poster session, have fun with pals from Food and Nutrition Magazine, catch up with old friends and attend board meetings. I came home with millions of ideas and people I want to connect!
Here, I would like to share selected “take home messages”:
1. EMPOWERING OPENING SESSION: I loved what the Academy President Lucille Besseler remarked as useful for dietitians in any field:
2. GOING INTERNATIONAL: I was happy to see my country both in the ed and poster sessions! The Argentinean Association of Dietitians and Nutritionists (AADYND) presented their initiatives to tackle nutrition problems in our country. A great interest was seen on global initiatives and networks.
3. LEADING MALNUTRITION QUALITY IMPROVEMENT (QI) FOR BETTER HOSPITAL AND PATIENT OUTCOMES: this initiative helps measure and track the identification and treatment of malnutrition through electronic health records, with emphasis on practical advice on how to move forward malnutrition QI at each institution, automate some of the process and make some improvement in something. If you are interested, see the slides:
4. BRAIN HEALTH & NUTRITION: I went to 2 different sessions about nutrition and prevention of cognitive decline, especially on Alzheimer’s disease. One was the lecture of Dr. Nancy Lombardo, who spoke about Memory Preservation Nutrition® (MPN™), an evidence based program she developed with her team. The primary foods recommended are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflamatory nutrients and include fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables, specific spices (cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, sage, oregano, parsley), green tea, chocolate, whole grains, and foods containing omega-three fatty acids. The Memory Preservation Nutrition® program also focuses on reducing cholesterol and substituting healthy fats (omega 3 and mono-unsaturated fats) for saturated and Trans-fat foods. Another major feature of the program is reducing the amount of refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup in the overall diet. Don’t miss the selected slides of the presentation, Dr. Lombardo shared strategies to implement dietary changes specially in the elderly, who frequently have processed, sugary or fatty foods in their pantries or in their long term care menus . The other session about brain nutrition was the MIND diet (Mediterranean Dash Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay developed by Rush University. In the slide from Dr. Lombardo you can see some of the differences between these two approaches for brain health.
5. THE REDUCTIVE MINDSET: ACHIEVING OPTIMAL RESULTS USING THE TOOLS OF WHITE SPACE: Juliet Funt discussed how we must consider the use of WhiteSpace: White Space is a strategic pause taken between activities or business. The term came from literally looking at the white space on the calendar and realizing that on the days where there was more literal white space, people were more effective and projects moved faster. It can be used in tiny sips as small as 10 seconds or in longer stretches, and these thoughtful pauses laced through the busyness of the workday are the oxygen that allows everything else to catch fire. So..Do less, have time off , use filters, reduce email checking, take off your hands off other peoples' work. If you are interested: http://www.whitespaceatwork.com/
“When talented people don't have time to think, business suffer”
6. DIETS, SUPPLEMENTS AND CANCER THERAPY: WHAT SHOULD WE TELL OUR PATIENTS? This one was a very interesting and controversial session! First, Donald Abrams, MD (integrative oncologist) went through the Alkaline, Paleo, Ketogenic, Macrobiotic, or Vegan diets and the rational and evidence behind them as anti cancer diets. He mentioned a systematic review (Huebner et al, 2014) that found no clinical evidence in support of any of these diets and some may have potential harm. However, Dr. Abrams recommend its patients to eat ORGANIC + PLANT BASED + ANTIOXIDANT RICH + ANTI-INFLAMATORY RICH + WHOLE FOODS. Many dietitians in the public didn’t agree in recommending all organic (because lack of access for many people and lack of supporting evidence) and to eliminate dairy of the diet, something that Dr Abrams recommends. Secondly, Mary Marian, RD, spoke about the use supplements and botanicals in cancer patients. Due to drug interactions it’s important to avoid certain botanicals during chemotherapy, like tumeric or resveratrol. If a multivitamin is needed (oral intake < 50% estimated needs, deficiency present) use one that not exceed 100% of the Daily Value. However, some chemo regimens need folate and B12 and some patients may become vitamin D deficient during chemo. See here the presentation slides:
7. GOING COCONUT OVER SATURATED FAT, WHY SO MUCH CONFUSION? Even though the media promotes coconut oil and “butter is back” the evidence does support reduction of saturated fats and increasing plant based PUFAs and MUFAs within calorie limits. Coconut oil health claims are based MCT benefits but they are not the same. Coconut oil contains only 58% MCT and has 44% lauric acid which behaves more like the long chain saturated fatty acids in digestion and metabolism. Cholesterol is not a nutrient of much concern, as some persons respond to dietary cholesterol and other not. However, for prevention follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and for subjects with cardiovascular disease less than 200 mg/day is recommended.
8. TRENDS AT THE EXPO FLOOR: the food stars this year where easy to digest foods like low FODMAP food products (the new gluten free?), pre and probiotics, fermented products. Also sugar free flavored waters and sodas, pulses, convenient whole grains, vegetable noodles and emphasis on sustainable sourced and plant based. Culinary demos (even at each exhibitor) and yoga classes in the expo floor!
Hope to see you in Chicago FNCE 2017 to celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Academy!
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