Dennis Savaiano


Virginia Claypool Meredith Professor of Nutrition Policy
Department of Nutrition Science (NUTR)

Contact Information

Office STON 204
Address 700 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Phone 765.427.7826
Fax 765.494.0674
E-Mail savaiano@purdue.edu
Web Site http://www.purdue.edu/hhs/nutr/directory/index.php/profile/savaiano

Links

Educational Background

  • B.A., Biology at Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA in 1975
  • M.S. , Nutrition at University of California at Davis in 1977
  • Ph.D. , Nutrition at University of California at Davis in 1980

Awards & Honors

  • Virginia Claypool Meredith Professor of Nutrition Policy, 2013 - Present
  • Pew National Nutrition Faculty Scholar, 1989 - 1990
  • Proctor and Gamble Research Fellow, 1979 - 1980
  • Foods and Nutrition Hall of Fame, 2010
  • Internationalization Award, Purdue University, 2009
  • Gamma Sigma Delta, 1995
  • USDA/ESCOP Leadership Development Program, 1993
  • CIC Leadership Development Program, 1993
  • NIH FIRST Award, 1984

Activities & Memberships

  • Director, North Central Nutrition Education Center for Excellence, a USDA NIFA-funded center, 2014 - Present
  • Purdue Liaison, Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Community Health Engagement Programs, 2011 - Present
  • Administrative Advisor, USDA Regional Research Project NC 1028: Promoting healthful eating to prevent excessive weight gain in young adults. Previously NC219, NC1193, 1994 - Present
  • Interim Dean, Honors College, Purdue University, 2011 - 2013
  • Associate Provost, Purdue University, 2010 - 2011
  • BOHS Representative, Board on Agriculture Farm Bill Committee, 2009 - 2010
  • Dean, College of Consumer and Family Sciences, Purdue Univeristy, 1995 - 2010
  • Member (Executive Committee 2005-10, Research Chair, 2002-5, Chair, 2006-8), Board on Human Sciences, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, 1995 - 2010
  • BOHS Representative (CREATE-21 USDA reorganization committee), APLU , 2007 - 2009
  • Board of Directors, Indiana Youth Institute, 1999 - 2005
  • Member, Minnesota Nutrition Council, 1980 - 1995
  • Member, Indiana Nutrition Council, 2014 - Present
  • Member, Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2014 - Present
  • Planning Committee and Speaker, NIH Consensus Conference on Lactose Intolerance, 2010
  • Fellow, American College of Nutrition, 2000 - Present
  • Member, American Dairy Science Association, 1984 - Present
  • Member, Institute of Food Technologists, 1980 - Present
  • Member (former chair, graduate education committee), American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 1976 - Present

Discovery

Dennis Savaiano is Director of the North Central Nutrition Education Center for Excellence, a USDA NIFA-funded center. In this capacity, he oversees the north central research portfolio of projects aimed at improving the effectiveness of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP Ed). Professor Savaiano continues to work to evaluate the effectiveness of Indiana SNAP Ed programs and develop more effective assessment tools. He is also the Purdue liaison for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Community Health Engagement Program. In this capacity, his goal is to build community research partnerships utilizing the extensive intellectual resource base of Indiana University and Purdue University. Savaiano has worked with the CTSI CHEP for the past three years to increase its Community Advisory Council membership and assist with building community-engaged research approaches with Purdue Extension. He has published on school community interventions focused on improving the diets of youth (particularly young women) and has led/developed many of the successful Purdue Extension efforts focused around health as dean of Purdue's School of Consumer and Family Sciences for 15 years.

Professor Savaiano has also studied lactose digestion for the past 30 years. Adequate calcium intake in the US diet depends on dairy food consumption. Dairy foods account for approximately 3/4 of the calcium consumed in the US diet. Approximately 1/4 of the US population and 3/4 of the World population maldigests lactose, due to a genetically controlled loss of intestinal lactase activity post weaning. Among this population of maldigesters, dairy food consumption is often limited due to perceived and real symptoms resulting from intake.

His research group has studied numerous factors which influence lactose digestion and tolerance including lactose load, gastric and intestinal transit, the use of lactose digestive aids, colon fermentation of lactose and the consumption of fermented dairy foods and lactic acid bacteria. Major findings from these studies include: (1) The identification of a microbial lactase in yogurts that assists lactose digestion in the intestinal tract following the consumption of yogurt. (2) The characterization of the amount of lactose required to cause symptoms in lactose maldigesters, being 12g or more of lactose (one cup of milk). (3) The finding that lactose consumed with a meal is tolerated about 3 times better than lactose consumed in a fasted state. (4) Identifying the colonic flora as key in determining tolerance to lactose. The colonic flora readily adapts to lactose in the diet of maldigesters. Thus, maldigesters who routinely consume lactose have less symptoms due to more efficient metabolism of lactose by the colon microflora. (5) The identification of a population of digesters and maldigesters who believe that they are extremely intolerant to lactose, but who tolerate lactose quite well in double-blinded clinical trials. (6) The characterization of the ability of lactic acid bacteria including acidophilus and bifidus to improve lactose digestion in vivo in the gastro-intestinal system.

The results of these studies indicate that almost all maldigesters can consume significant amounts of dairy foods without experiencing symptoms of intolerance. Yet, a substantial group of maldigesters continue to believe that dairy foods, consumed in even small amounts, will result in gastrointestinal distress. Work in his lab is currently aimed at understanding why these maldigesters have developed a strong belief that is not supported by blinded, clinical trials. Further, he is interested in methods of intervention that will allow "lactose intolerant" individuals to learn that they can consume dairy foods without experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms. He continues to assess lactose digestion and tolerance in special populations such as adolescent women. Finally, he is working with the dairy industry to attempt to develop food products that are well tolerated by the lactose maldigester.


Discovery Publications

  • Fialkowski MK, Ettienne R, Shvetsov YB, Rivera RL, Van Loan MD, Savaiano DA, Boushey CJ. (2014) Ethnicity and Acculturation: Do they predict weight status in a longitudinal study among Asian, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white early adolescent females?. Adolesc Health Med Ther. 5:1-7.
  • Brown ON, O'Connor LE, Savaiano DA. (2014) Mobile MyPlate: A pilot study using text messaging to provide nutrition education and promote better dietary choices in college students. J Amer Coll Health. 62(5):320-7.
  • Savaiano DA. (2014) Lactose digestion from yogurt: mechanism and relevance. Amer J Clin Nutr. 99(6):1251S-5S.
  • Savaiano DA, Ritter AJ, Klaenhammer TR, Gareth J, Longcore AT, Chandler JR, Walker WA, Foyt HL. (2013) Improving lactose digestion and symptoms of lactose intolerance with a novel galacto-oligosaccharide (RP-G28): a randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Nutrition J. 12:160.
  • Marrero DG, Hardwick EJ, Staten LK, Savaiano DA, Odell JD, Comer KF, Saha C. (2013) Promotion and tenure for community engaged research: An examination of promotion and tenure support from community engaged research at three universities collaborating through a Clinical and Translational Sciences Award. Clinical and Translational Sci. 6(3):204-8. PMC3852909.
  • Ritter AJ, Savaiano DA. (2013) Using Galacto-Oligosaccharides to Improve Lactose Tolerance. Food Technology. 67(10)
  • Osborne DL, Weaver CM, McCabe LD, McCabe GM, Novotny R, Van Loan MD, Going S, Matkovic V, Boushey CJ, Savaiano DA, ACT research team. (2012) Body size and pubertal development explain ethnic differences in structural geometry at the femur in Asian, Hispanic, and white early adolescent girls living in the U.S.. Bone. 51(5):888-95. PCM3491564.
  • Osborne, D., Weaver, C., McCabe, L., McCabe, G., Novotny, R., Boushey, C., and Savaiano, D. (2011) A pilot study to evaluate the relationship between skin pigmentation and measures of skeletal integrity in adolescent females living in Hawaii. Amer J Hum Biol. 23:470-8.
  • Osborne, D.L., Weaver, C.M., McCabe, L.D., McCabe, G.M., Novotny, R., Boushey, C., and Savaiano, D.A. (2011) Tanning predicts bone mass but not structure in adolescent females living in Hawaii. Am J Hum Biol. 23(4):470-8.
  • Matlik, L., Savaiano, D., McCabe, G., VanLoan, M., Blue, C.L., and Boushey, C. (2007) Perceived milk intolerance is related to bone content in 10-13 year old female adolescents. Pediatrics. 120(3):E669-E677.
  • Weaver, C.M., McCabe, L.D., McCabe, G.P., Novotny, R., Van Loan, M., Going, S., Matkovic, V., Boushey, C., Savaiano, D., and ACT research team. (2007) Bone mineral and predictors of bone mass in White, Hispanic, and Asian early pubertal girls. Calcif Tissue Int. 81(5):352-63.
  • Savaiano, D.A., Boushey, C.J., and McCabe, G.P. (2006) Lactose Intolerance Symptoms Assessed by Meta-Analysis: A Grain of Truth That Leads to Exaggeration. J Nutr. 136:1-7.
  • Pribila, B.A., Hertzler, S.R., Martin, B.R., Weaver, C.M., and Savaiano, D. (2000) Lactose digestion and tolerance among African-American adolescent girls fed a dairy-rich diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 100:524-528.
  • Mustapha, A., Jiang, T., and Savaiano, D.A. (1997) Improvement of Lactose Digestion by Humans Following Ingestion of Unfermented Acidphilus Milk: Influence of Bile Sensitivity, Lactose Transport, and Acid Tolerance of Lactobacillus acidophilus. J Dairy Science. 80(8):1537-1545.
  • Jiang, T., and Savaiano, D.A. (1997) Modification of colonic fermentation by bifidobacteria and pH in vitro: Impact on lactose metabolism, short-chain fatty acid and lactate production. Dig Dis Sci. 42(11):2370-2377.
  • Hertzler, S.R., Savaiano, D.A., and Levitt, M.D. (1997) Fecal Hydrogen Production and Consumption Measurements: Response to Daily Lactose Ingestion by Lactose Maldigesters. Dig Dis Sci. 42(2):348-353.
  • Suarez, F.L., Savaiano, D.A., and Levitt, M.D. (1997) Tolerance to the daily ingestion of two cups of milk by individuals claiming lactose intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 65:1502-1506.
  • Jiang, T. and Savaiano, D.A. (1997) In Vitro Lactose Fermentation by Human Colonic Bacteria is Modified by Lactobacillus acidophilus Supplementation. J Nutr. 127(8):1489-1495.
  • Hertzler, S.R., Huynh, Bao-Chau, L., and Savaiano, D.A. (1996) How much lactose is low lactose?. J Am Diet Assoc. 96:243-246.
  • Hertzler, S. and Savaiano, D.A. (1996) Colonic adaptation to daily lactose feeding in lactose maldigesters reduces lactose intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr. 64:232-36.
  • Ritter AJ, Savaiano DA, Barnes D, Klaenhammer TD. Prebiotic formulations and methods of use. Patents. SG 2014014435 2014, US 8,785,160 B2 2014, UK GB 2480042 2014, US 8,486,668 B2 2013, US 8,492,124 B2 2013.

Learning

Food Policy and Nutrition NUTR 39800We explore the nature of contemporary United States food policy and key events throughout history that have shaped what it is today. We investigate and discuss the roles individuals, corporations, and federal, state, and other government agencies play in creating food policy, and how these stakeholders as well as complex sociological and economic factors influence the way Americans eat. These questions will lead us to consider the future of food and food policy in the United States. Can Americans develop food policy that supports the agricultural economy AND promotes the consumption of healthy foods? Could our agricultural system support this? We learn about and explore these questions with class discussions, debate, research, guest lectures, relevant documentary films, and thought-provoking readings that present a variety of viewpoints. You will explore current, real-life problems and have an opportunity to develop potential solutions.
World Food Problems NUTR 59000The goal of this course is to educate advanced undergraduate and graduate students on the multi-disciplinary challenges that exist in meeting food and nutrition needs of a growing world population. The course aims to instill an appreciation of the importance of economics, food production and technology, trade, culture, communication, political processes and institutions, demography and related factors in determining adequate food availability and health globally. The end point for this multi-disciplinary perspective is nutritional adequacy, and much of the focus will be on factors that can prevent or limit malnutrition (both under and over nutrition) world-wide. The course is collaboration between departments in the Colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, and Liberal Arts.

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