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UNF dietitians test student palates with rice substitute in research study

November 16, 2020

UNF dietician standing in front of the nutrition study display tableA study conducted by nutrition faculty and dietitians at the UNF Osprey Café has recently been published in the Journal of Foodservice Business Research. The study aimed to determine if college students would approve of eating sorghum as a substitute for white rice. 

There are numerous health benefits in increasing daily consumption of whole grains and reducing refined grains (e.g. white rice). Sorghum is a nutritious, gluten-free and drought-resistant plant that is rich in nutrients and is commonly consumed in many regions across the world.

For the study, Dr. Kristen Hicks-Roof, UNF nutrition and dietetics assistant professor, teamed up with UNF Dining Services to conduct a sensory analysis experiment. Over 650 students participated, and most respondents indicated that they would eat both foods. 

The study highlights that sorghum is an acceptable, palatable grain and can be used in higher education dining establishments to promote the intake of whole grains among the student population. Exposing college students to a variety of grains can help improve their diet choices and make them more likely to choose healthier options in the future.

Research studies have also shown that consuming sorghum can improve colon cancer risk, immunity and blood glucose response.