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Connie Diekman

MEd, RD, LD, FADA

Expert Bio

Connie Diekman, M.Ed, RD, LD, FADA is a Nutrition Communications Consultant and Director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; Former President of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Diekman is a former media spokesperson for the Academy and was the voice of the “Eating Right” minute which aired daily on WBBM radio in Chicago.

Studies, Articles and Answers

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Showing 10 out of 11 results

Question

Q: What are the effects of GMOs on the human body? Has GMO foods led to an increase in the development of allergies among certain groups of people?

Answered By Connie Diekman - Aug 15, 2013

A: This is a great question. First, the Food and Drug Administration has set forth guidelines related to the use of GMOs, and in those documents they reference the science that indicates food developed through biotechnology are digested in the same manner as other foods and therefore provide the same nutrition, or in some cases more nutrition (if the goal of the biotechnology was to enhance nutrient content). The science also indicates that these foods are safe for consumption and that they are not contributors to increased allergies. With regard to your question about allergens, the guidel [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: Are GMO's known to cause any stomach issues?

Answered By Connie Diekman - Aug 16, 2013

A: Current scientific evidence does not show any connection between GMO’s and stomach or any other health issues. A variety of organizations, ranging from the International Food Information Council to the Institute of Food Technologist, have all reported that the body of evidence supports not only the safety of but also the benefits of using biotechnology to enhance the quality of food. [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: How can I avoid GMO food? I just dont want to eat them. Is leaving the U.S. the only way?

Answered By Connie Diekman - Jul 06, 2015

A: Organic foods, and foods that carry the label “Non-GMO Project,” are two types of food that you can purchase knowing that they do not contain GMO’s. Currently the only crops that are GMO are corn, papaya, soy, yellow squash, canola, cotton and sugar beets (the last three are either oil or added sugar, not actual foods you would buy).    If you look at the list you can see that many foods in the supermarket are not GMO but an easy way to also avoid GMO’s is to limit your intake of packaged foods and rely on foods that are sometimes referred to as whole or real. Choosing fruits a [...]

Answered By Connie Diekman - Jul 06, 2015

A: Organic foods, and foods that carry the label “Non-GMO Project,” are two types of food that you can purchase knowing that they do not contain GMO’s. Currently the only crops that are GMO are corn, papaya, soy, yellow squash, canola, cotton and sugar beets (the last three are either oil or added sugar, not actual foods you would buy).    If you look at the list you can see that many foods in the supermarket are not GMO but an easy way to also avoid GMO’s is to limit your intake of packaged foods and rely on foods that are sometimes referred to as whole or real. Choosing fruits a [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: How can I avoid GMO food? I just dont want to eat them. Is leaving the U.S. the only way?

Answered By Connie Diekman - Jul 06, 2015

A: Organic foods, and foods that carry the label “Non-GMO Project,” are two types of food that you can purchase knowing that they do not contain GMO’s. Currently the only crops that are GMO are corn, papaya, soy, yellow squash, canola, cotton and sugar beets (the last three are either oil or added sugar, not actual foods you would buy).    If you look at the list you can see that many foods in the supermarket are not GMO but an easy way to also avoid GMO’s is to limit your intake of packaged foods and rely on foods that are sometimes referred to as whole or real. Choosing fruits a [...]

Answered By Connie Diekman - Jul 06, 2015

A: Organic foods, and foods that carry the label “Non-GMO Project,” are two types of food that you can purchase knowing that they do not contain GMO’s. Currently the only crops that are GMO are corn, papaya, soy, yellow squash, canola, cotton and sugar beets (the last three are either oil or added sugar, not actual foods you would buy).    If you look at the list you can see that many foods in the supermarket are not GMO but an easy way to also avoid GMO’s is to limit your intake of packaged foods and rely on foods that are sometimes referred to as whole or real. Choosing fruits a [...]

GMO Basics Health & Safety

Question

Q: I buy salads with expeller pressed canola oi GMO free. Is it a healthy oil? I know that Canola is not healthy.

Answered By Connie Diekman - Aug 21, 2015

A: Canola oil is a good choice in oils. It has less saturated fat, the type of fat that elevates LDL or “bad” cholesterol, than sunflower, corn, olive, soy and/or peanut oils. It has a very high amount of monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that can help lower LDL cholesterol and may help boost HDL or “good” cholesterol. It is also a source of the omega 3 fatty ALA or alpha-linolenic acid which is an essential fatty acid for the body in that it cannot be made in the body, so it is important to choose fats that contain it. Canola oil, along with flaxseed oil, walnuts and [...]

Answered By Connie Diekman - Aug 21, 2015

A: Canola oil is a good choice in oils. It has less saturated fat, the type of fat that elevates LDL or “bad” cholesterol, than sunflower, corn, olive, soy and/or peanut oils. It has a very high amount of monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that can help lower LDL cholesterol and may help boost HDL or “good” cholesterol. It is also a source of the omega 3 fatty ALA or alpha-linolenic acid which is an essential fatty acid for the body in that it cannot be made in the body, so it is important to choose fats that contain it. Canola oil, along with flaxseed oil, walnuts and [...]

Health & Safety

Question

Q: I buy salads with expeller pressed canola oi GMO free. Is it a healthy oil? I know that Canola is not healthy.

Answered By Connie Diekman - Aug 21, 2015

A: Canola oil is a good choice in oils. It has less saturated fat, the type of fat that elevates LDL or “bad” cholesterol, than sunflower, corn, olive, soy and/or peanut oils. It has a very high amount of monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that can help lower LDL cholesterol and may help boost HDL or “good” cholesterol. It is also a source of the omega 3 fatty ALA or alpha-linolenic acid which is an essential fatty acid for the body in that it cannot be made in the body, so it is important to choose fats that contain it. Canola oil, along with flaxseed oil, walnuts and [...]

Answered By Connie Diekman - Aug 21, 2015

A: Canola oil is a good choice in oils. It has less saturated fat, the type of fat that elevates LDL or “bad” cholesterol, than sunflower, corn, olive, soy and/or peanut oils. It has a very high amount of monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that can help lower LDL cholesterol and may help boost HDL or “good” cholesterol. It is also a source of the omega 3 fatty ALA or alpha-linolenic acid which is an essential fatty acid for the body in that it cannot be made in the body, so it is important to choose fats that contain it. Canola oil, along with flaxseed oil, walnuts and [...]

Health & Safety

Question

Q: How do you detect GMO foods in the Supermarket

Answered By Connie Diekman - May 08, 2015

A: Currently there are only eight GM crops commercially available in the U.S. – corn, soybeans, alfalfa, canola, papaya, yellow squash, cotton and sugar beets; alfalfa is not for human consumption, but used as animal feed. When we look at the other crops, the scientific evidence shows not only are food products from GM crops safe, but they are also nutritionally equivalent to non-GM foods. Since the nutritional makeup of the food is the same as the traditional food, the FDA does not require labeling of GMO foods. Currently food companies can voluntarily label foods as non-GMO, and the FDA [...]

Labeling

Question

Q: If GMOs are healthy and good to eat... why does the United States register as one of the most overweight countries in the world? You think it would flip if we were actually making something good to eat...

Answered By Connie Diekman - Jun 19, 2015

A: The incidence of overweight and obesity in the United States is due to a multitude of factors, but information from the USDA Economic Research Service gives us some insight:   “In 1970, Americans consumed an estimated 2,109 calories per person per day; whereas in 2010, they consumed an estimated 2,568 calories (after adjusting for plate waste, spoilage, and other food losses). Of this 459-calorie increase,  grains (mainly refined grains) accounted for 180 calories; added fats & oils, 225 calories; added sugar & sweeteners, 21 calories; dairy fats, 19 calories; fruits and veg [...]

Health & Safety

Question

Q: Regardless of the need for it... Whats the outlook for demand in Non GMO edible oils for 2016 to 2020 given all the Non GMO popularity at retail see recent WSJ article where Non GMO claims surpassed Organic httpwww.wsj.comarticlesorganicvsnongmolabelswhos

Answered By Dr. Stuart Smyth - Mar 11, 2016

A: Oils fall into a separate category regarding labeling between GM and non-GM. The reason for this is that oil contains no protein. This means that it is impossible to tell the source of the oil as to be able to test, protein is required. With no protein in the oil, labeling between GM and non-GM become very arbitrary, as the ability to determine with accuracy the validity of the label becomes impossible and consumers have to rely on their trust in the company producing the oil.   Many countries that have mandatory labelling requirements have established a level of 5% for oil. This means [...]

Answered By Connie Diekman - Mar 11, 2016

A: As a registered dietitian I cannot address the market economy but what I can tell you is that physically and nutritionally GMO and Non GMO oils are exactly the same so there is no reason from the standpoint of performance, health or nutrient composition to choose one over the other. As oils are processed from the seed the DNA, the genetics of the seed, are destroyed by the heat of the processing so that chemically you cannot detect the genetic engineering.   I do know that many people believe that genetic engineering results in a different product but in fact, because the process occur [...]

Business Practices Other

Question

Q: How do GMOs benefit our health?

Answered By Connie Diekman - Mar 23, 2016

A: Currently there are nine GMO crops, commercially available – corn, squash, papaya, canola, sugar beets, cotton, soybeans, alfalfa, potatoes – one in the pipeline is the non-browning apple that resists bruising. Since GMO technology can boost crop yield that can be viewed as a health benefit but in terms of direct health benefits the health benefits of these crops lies in the traditional nutrition that they contain. GM crops do not differ in nutritional or health benefits from non-GM crops so including them in your eating plan can help your overall nutrition.   The potato, w [...]