Food As Medicine Everyday Research (FAMER): Evaluating Physiological Changes Associated with a Shift Toward a Whole-Foods Diet

Principal Investigator: Kim Tippens ND, MSAOM, MPH

Clinical Investigator: Andrew Erlandsen, ND

Abstract: Diabetes and heart disease are serious public health problems affecting more adults each day. Pre-diabetes, or impaired glucose tolerance without a formal diagnosis of diabetes, is becoming more common in the United States.  Without adequate prevention, those with pre-diabetes are likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.  People with pre-diabetes are also at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease.  Promoting changes in diet and physical activity are the key behavioral targets for preventing progression to type 2 diabetes.  Diabetes and CVD are highly co-morbid conditions that share a number of risk factors.  Dietary intake is one of the key behavioral risk factors for these and other chronic diseases.  As such, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), local governments, healthcare institutions, and community-based public health agencies have adopted health promotion and nutrition education programs to support health behavior change.  Structured community-based programs may provide the greatest impact in communities at high risk for behaviorally-mediated chronic diseases.  This study will measure the health impacts of a physician-led 12-week whole-foods nutrition education program among 60 Portland-area adults with or at risk for pre-diabetes.  This pre/post assessment will measure the degree of change in physiologic and behavioral outcomes.  We hypothesize that active participation in the FAME course will be associated with reductions in markers of diabetes and CVD risk, including hs-CRP, hemoglobin A1c, and lipids, which will be sustained after program completion.  We will assess whether a whole-foods nutrition curriculum increases vegetable and whole grain consumption using a validated food frequency questionnaire.