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  • Christopher Gardner, PhD in Nutrition Science

America's Protein Obsession- WHY?

Updated: Nov 15, 2019

Christopher Gardner holds a PhD in Nutrition Science and is a Professor of Medicine at Stanford. For the past 20 years his research has examined the potential health benefits of dietary components such as soy, garlic, antioxidants, ginkgo, omega-3 fats, vegetarian diets, and weight loss diets in the general population. The most current continuation of this work includes an NIH funded weight loss trial among 609 overweight and obese adults that will try to determine if such factors as insulin resistance, genotype, and/or microbial diversity predict differential weight loss on different diets. Recently his nutrition interests have expanded to two new areas. The first is to explore motivators other than health for making positive dietary changes, taking advantage of ongoing social movements around animal welfare, climate change, social justice, and their relationships to food - stealth nutrition. The second is to focus on a food systems approach to eating habits (from procurement to preparation to consumption) that addresses the quality of food provided by schools, worksites, hospitals and other institutional food settings. Christopher has four boys (ages 8, 11, 22 and 25), and his wife Melissa is a professor of Political Science (Menlo College). He is an avid volleyball player and bikes to work just about every day. He has been a vegetarian since 1983 and most of his meals are vegan these days, with the exception of the eggs he eats from the five chickens in his backyard.

AT THE SALON: After a decade or more of headlines alternately promoting and vilifying fats and carbohydrates, justifiably confused Americans seem to have concluded that the only sure bet is protein, and the more the better. There seems to be a health halo around protein that suggests it is great for strong muscles, satiety, growth for kids, energy and brain power for adults, and more. But really, how much is enough? And how much is optimal? Enough for what? Optimal for what? At this salon, Christopher clarified the facts vs. myths and helped us resolve our dietary conundrums around protein with an engaging blend of science and humor. By the time he was done we were able to tie together chef-inspired great taste, environmental sustainability, and optimal health. We all walked away with personal solutions to try out and global solutions to support.

Click here to see the salon video.

Click here for the salon presentation.

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