Nutrition | St. Louis Public Radio


The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that includes meat, dairy, eggs and low-carb vegetables.
Ted Eytan | Flickr

A few weeks ago on St. Louis on the Air, we learned about a brand-new medical device that allows users to measure nutritional ketosis with a breathalyzer. Nutritionists say they’ve witnessed the reemergence of the keto diet as a means for weight loss in the past few years.

Both during and after that segment aired, we received a lot of questions about the keto diet, as well as some concern that this may be an unhealthy choice for some people. So, we looked into it on Thursday’s show with people who follow the latest research on the topic.

Salad is available to students at Hickey Elementary School.
Hilary Davidson | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 12% of Missouri children are obese, but the 2018 rate held steady from the year before, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Although obesity among Missourians age 10-17 is relatively unchanged, doctors say the stabilizing rate is a sign that public awareness campaigns and other health initiatives are working. 

“I think the fact it’s not going up is a great thing to see,” said Julie Benard, a Columbia pediatrician who specializes in treating childhood obesity. “It’s a great thing to see, at least for our initial efforts in making sure we’re at least curbing the trend of childhood obesity.”

Jennings school kids pick up lunches delivered June 4, 2018 by Operation Food Search at Hanrahan Elementary School. The north St. Louis County district serves meals as part of its summer school program.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

During the school year, Stacey Vehlewald’s kids are able to grab bagels in the cafeteria before class, and chow down on chicken nuggets at lunchtime. When summer break arrives, those free meals from the school cafeteria aren’t available.

Even with trips to the food pantry and shopping discounts, last summer Vehlewald's grocery bill went up at least $300 per month.

Sylvester Brown and Tamara plant sweet potato seeds in front of Union Avenue Christian Church in June.
Kim Oswalt | St. Louis Public Radio

Encouraging more residents to grow fruits and vegetables in St. Louis could depend on making it easier for residents to acquire vacant lots, according to a new survey. 

The St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, consisting of environmentalists, policy experts and community leaders, collected 854 responses that came from nearly every neighborhood in the city. Residents were asked about their interest and participation in urban agriculture and the challenges they faced in doing so.

Fruit and vegetables
U.S. Department of Agriculture | Flickr |

In the midst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, a group of friends in St. Louis started cooking meals in the kitchen of a church. These meals were distributed to seven people they knew who were living with the disease.

That small group of friends quickly grew into a non-profit organization called Food Outreach.  

Today, 28 years after it was founded, Food Outreach provides nutritional counseling and meals to low-income individuals with HIV/AIDS or cancer.

Little boy trying spinach.
Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

A single school is like an entire community.

You've got the mayor, or principal. There is the general population, the students and their parents. There's a grocery store in the form of a cafeteria. And the teachers are kind of like doctors and police officers rolled into one. Within that batch of characters, there are gossips and scofflaws; actors and judges; even engineers and critics.

Rabiul Hasan, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research

New research out of Washington University could help explain why malnourished children suffer long-term health effects, even after medical treatment.

As young children develop, the community of bacteria and other microbes in their intestines develops with them. In healthy children, the community reaches maturity about the time a child turns two years old.

Washington University microbiologist Jeff Gordon calls those tens of trillions of intestinal microbes “an organ within an organ,” because of the key role they play in helping people digest food and absorb its nutrients.

Ragesoss | Wikipedia

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. The dictionary defines it as “that department of philosophy which investigates critically the nature, grounds, limits, and criteria, or validity, of human knowledge; Theory of cognition.” Woody Allen once called it the intellectual discipline that asks the question, “can we know what we know and if not, how do we know that?”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 9, 2012 - Frequent exercise, good nutrition and often a single medication have turned out to be an ideal regimen for helping many adults control their type 2 diabetes. But what works for adults has turned out to be less effective in children, according to results of the first major national study of treatment options for type 2 diabetes among young people.

(via Flickr/Matthew Black)

Starting next month, passengers who ride MetroLink or Metro buses will be be able to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables at certain transit centers.

The mass transit agency is partnering with the Sappington Farmers Market community program, Mobile Market, to sell locally-grown farm foods in areas where nearby residents have little or no access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The stops are:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 19, 2012 - Kristin Bilyeu knows a lot about microwave popcorns, one of her favorite treats. When shopping at a supermarket in Columbia, Mo., one day, Bilyeu was looking at the different varieties when an extra label on the front of one of the colorful boxes caught her eye. Zero grams of trans fat, it said. It might have sounded like good nutrition to an unwary consumer. But a look at the label on the side of the box revealed that the manufacturer had traded ingredients high in saturated fat for the trans fat that had been removed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 1, 2012 - The Juice Box, in south St. Louis, was among the organizations First Lady Michelle Obama singled out last year as being part of a new movement to "transform lives and lift up communities" beset by obesity and other preventable health problems.

Scientists have taken another step toward understanding human nutrition.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have shown they can grow entire collections of human intestinal microbes in the laboratory.

Washington University microbiologist Dr. Jeffrey Gordon says his team then transplanted the bacterial communities into previously germ-free mice, to see how the lab-grown bacteria would respond to a human diet.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 24, 2009 - My affair with the Big Mac: Making my junk food a bit more nutritious

Like most of us, I try to eat healthy food. I really do. But I have a weakness for fast food - especially Big Macs. My wife and daughters have tried for many years to cure me of this addiction, to no avail. Every few weeks, sure as taxes, I encounter a Big Mac too attractive for me to resist.

Learning the power of healthy eating

Feb 24, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 24, 2009 - Twelve-year-old Scott Harris and his buddy Jonathan Cannon, 13, share a gargantuan interest in food. Not just gobbling up all things vaguely edible. These guys from south St. Louis are nutrition detectives. They read labels. They have the goods on hidden calories, fat and sugar.

"Look at this," first said one, then the other. In a grocery store dairy department recently, they held up cartons of yogurt and revealed it contained high fructose corn syrup. The sweetener isn't nutritious, but it packs a wallop of energy followed by a letdown.