Phyto-nutrients from Plant-based Foods: Whole Food Trend

Session Track: Health Issues
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2012; 12:40 – 1:40 p.m.

Session Description:

Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts are increasingly becoming a part of dietary recommendations. With increasing knowledge about phytonutrients fulfilling the molecular and cellular needs of the human system, there is greater demand for good health intervention through food. Epidemiological and clinical observations suggest positive health effects of many phytonutrients associated with the consumption of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts. However understanding their role in nutrition is still a major challenge. This session will address emerging evidence that suggests the health benefits of plant-based foods may be attributed to the additive and synergistic interactions of phytochemicals present in whole food.

Speaker Information:

Connie Diekman, M.Ed., R.D., L.D., F.A.D.A., Director University Nutrition, Washington UniversityConnie Diekman
Connie Diekman is director of University Nutrition at Washington University. She is immediate past chair of the Missouri affiliate of the American Heart Association. Prior to her appointment at Washington University, Ms. Diekman was in a private practice, working with physicians and corporations, and as an instructor at St. Louis' Fontbonne University. She is a former television nutrition reporter with St. Louis' NBC and FOX affiliates. She has received numerous honors, including the Alumni Distinguished Service Award from Fontbonne College, the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award from the Missouri Dietetic Association, the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year, and the Dr. Arthur Strauss Award from the American Heart Association in St. Louis. Ms. Diekman earned her master's degree in education/counseling from the University of Missouri.


Carl Keen, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition & Internal Medicine; University of California, DavisCarl Keen
Professor Carl is The Mars Chair in Developmental Nutrition at UC Davis. Keen research group has four main areas of focus. The first concerns the influence of diet on embryonic and fetal development. A significant proportion of birth defects are the consequence of embryonic and fetal malnutrition. A thesis in the laboratory is that the correction of suboptimal nutritional deficiencies during early development should result in a marked reduction in pregnancy complications. The second research theme in the group is the study of gene-nutrient interactions, with an emphasis on how subtle changes in cell mineral concentrations influence the expression of select genes. The third major research theme in the group is the study of how diet influences oxidant defense systems and cellular oxidative damage. The fourth area of research in the laboratory is on the effects of diet on the development and progression of vascular disease. A current hypothesis in the laboratory is that the putative cardiovascular health benefits associated with plant food-rich diets can be attributed in part to their flavonoid content.


Rashmi Tiwari, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, PepsiCoRashmi Tiwari
Rashmi Tiwari is Principal Scientist at PepsiCo, Long Term Research in Hawthorne, NY. Rashmi holds a Ph.D in Food Chemistry from Rutgers University and has her expertise in chemistry, food chemistry, and food ingredients to support the food and beverages businesses. At PepsiCo Rashmi is responsible for driving discovery, evaluation and development for natural ingredients. Rashmi was also a part of PepsiCo’s Fruit and Vegetable Innovation Team looking at improving flavor & nutrition enhancement in fruits & vegetables products. She has conducted research in the area of understanding distribution of nutrients in fruits and vegetables. Prior to PepsiCo, Rashmi also had a 2-year stint with Unilever Research India’s beverage innovation group.  Rashmi currently serves on several advisory panels providing her expertise, IFT’s Wellness Conference Advisory board and on the grant review panel for USDA, Food Science and Nutrition.