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Offer kids whole grains; they’ll eat them, UF/IFAS study shows

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Nutrition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Many parents presume their children will shun whole grains because they think they don’t like them, a University of Florida researcher says, but a new UF study may start to debunk that idea.

If whole grains are offered, kids eat them, according to a new study by researchers at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Specifically, former graduate student Allyson Radford and two faculty members found children ate whole- and refined-grain foods in equal amounts.

“We tried to choose foods we thought kids would enjoy, such as cereal bars, macaroni and cheese and SunChips and found that they ate the ready-to-eat snack foods the most,” said Radford, one of the study’s authors. “We were interested to see if they would eat the whole-grain foods as much as the refined-grain foods, and so we were pleasantly surprised that they would eat the same amount whether the food was whole or refined.”

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Online tool lets Florida producers, customers find each other

Topic(s): Economics, Families and Consumers, New Technology, Nutrition

From farm gate to dinner plate, consumers are looking for more local food options.  According to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture, industry estimates put local food sales at $7 billion in 2011, reflecting the market’s growing importance.

A revamped online tool, called Florida Food Connect, at www.floridafoodconnect.com, offers agricultural producers an easy-to-use way to reach new customers and offers consumers an easy way to find local growers of the freshest foods.

Florida Food Connect offers large and small producers and growers opportunities to diversify sales and build profitable relationships.

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UF/IFAS-tested treatment retains avocado taste, smell while keeping it fresh

Topic(s): Crops, Economics, Nutrition

Avocados growing on a tree.  Avocado fruit.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Caption at bottom

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new liquid treatment may keep a Florida avocado hybrid fresh longer, a finding that could expand the avocado’s marketability, a University of Florida study shows.

Former UF doctoral student Marcio Eduardo Canto Pereira used ethylene as well as liquid and gaseous forms of 1-methylcycloprene on Booth 7 avocados, a combination of West Indian and Guatemalan varieties. Ethylene is a natural plant hormone produced by fruits and can be applied to speed the ripening process ─ as is done commonly with bananas and tomatoes ─ while 1-methylcycloprene slows the process.

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UF/IFAS study shows promise for antioxidants extracted from grape seeds, skin

Topic(s): Agriculture, Nutrition

Maurice Marshall.  Professor, PhD.  Food Science and Human Nutrition.

See caption below.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Soaking muscadine grape seeds or skins in a solution of enzymes can boost antioxidants extracted from the fruit, creating possible new uses for grape leftovers, which are loaded with nutrients, a University of Florida study shows.

After making wine, a producer typically sends the grape seeds and skins to a landfill, said Maurice Marshall, a UF/IFAS food science and human nutrition professor and study co-author. But by using cellulase, pectinase and glucosidase, scientists found the grape seeds and skin aren’t just a waste product. The enzymes increase the antioxidant activity, from the grape seeds and skins. New uses could include food additives or nutritional supplements.

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UF/IFAS study: Some consumers confuse ‘local’ with ‘organic’ food

Topic(s): Conservation, Crops, Economics, Environment, Food Safety, Nutrition

OrganicVsLocalStory001 (2)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With more people buying local and organic food, consumers should know the difference between the two so they recognize what they’re buying, but nearly one in five still confuse the terms, a University of Florida researcher says.

Newly published research, done in partnership with three other universities, aims to help local and organic food producers and sellers target their marketing messages to reinforce or dispel consumers’ perceptions. The organic-food industry has spent millions of dollars building brand awareness, only to see some consumers confuse “organic” food with “local” food products, said Ben Campbell, a University of Connecticut extension economist and the study’s lead author.

Hayk Khachatryan, a UF food and resource economics assistant professor, worked with Campbell and others to survey 2,511 people online in the U.S. and Canada in 2011 and found 17 percent thought the terms were interchangeable, the study said.

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UF/IFAS part of $4.9 million national child obesity study

Topic(s): Agriculture, Families and Consumers, Nutrition, Research
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida students will create obesity prevention programs for their peers and later, for high school students, as part of a $4.9 million federal research and extension grant awarded last week.

University of Tennessee Assistant Professor Sarah Colby will lead the national study, called “Get Fruved,” a phrase that alludes to fruits and vegetables.

“Get Fruved” is a campaign that uses peer interaction to try to get high school and college students to eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more and manage stress more effectively.

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Florida cooking show debuts Jan. 4 on WUFT-TV, will include UF/IFAS food topics

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Nutrition

chef's table photo1

Gainesville, Fla. —  A new television show that starts Jan. 4 on WUFT Channel 5 will give viewers tasty tidbits about Florida food along with a focus on fresh, sustainable food and native Florida cooking.

Independent videographer Jeff Goertz produces and directs the program, “The Chef’s Table with Randal White,” from his home studio in Ocala, said Sue Wagner, WUFT’s community relations director. Studios for public television station Five WUFT are located on the University of Florida campus. WUFT (digital channel 5.1) can be located on Cox Cable Chanel 3 in Gainesville and Channel 5 in Ocala.

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UF/IFAS study: Confusion surrounds added vs. natural sugar in drinks

Topic(s): Agriculture, Families and Consumers, Nutrition, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumers who are more concerned about what types of sugars are in their drinks will likely choose a less-sweetened beverage, although most people don’t know the difference between natural and added sugars, a new University of Florida study shows.

Gail Rampersaud, a UF registered dietitian, and Lisa House, a UF food and resource economics professor ─ both with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences ─ teamed with other UF researchers to conduct the 60-question online survey, in which people from across the U.S. answered questions about their perceptions about various drinks.

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UF survey: Adults lack basic knowledge on caloric intake

Topic(s): Agriculture, Families and Consumers, Nutrition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Adults generally don’t know how many calories they should consume daily to maintain their current weight, according to a new University of Florida survey, but that may not be a bad thing.

That’s because knowing one’s calorie needs can be a double-edged sword, said Cassie Rowe, who worked on the survey as a graduate student and is now a study coordinator at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“On one hand, it may allow people to balance energy intake with physical activity to manage their weight,” Rowe said. “On the other hand, I think most Americans get bogged down by the numbers. In this respect, knowing your calorie needs may lead to unnecessary stress surrounding counting calories.”

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New UF-developed strawberry varieties are bred with a focus on flavor

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Cultivars, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research

Vance Whitaker

Click here or image above for video about UF/IFAS’ strawberry breeding program.

Vance Whitaker

For high-resolution version of above photo, click here. Caption below.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the time for Florida growers to plant strawberries right around the corner, it won’t be long before Florida-grown strawberries appear in grocery aisles.

And for some of the best-tasting strawberries on the market according to multiple taste panels and tests, shoppers can simply look for those grown in the Sunshine State, thanks to work by the University of Florida.

Researchers with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have continued to improve the quality and flavor of Florida-grown strawberries, as evident in their latest releases of the cultivars Winterstar and Florida Sensation.

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