By Caroline Young, MS, RD, LD, RYT
Nutrition studies are published constantly. Whether you’re a health pro or a health-minded consumer (or both!), sometimes it’s hard to navigate the world of nutrition research. One of our industry partners, The Peanut Institute (TPI) just launched a brand-new research data-base to help clear up the confusion when it comes to peanut nutrition research.
To learn more about the exciting new tool, I interviewed TPI Research Director Dr. Samara Sterling:
Can you tell me a little bit about the new TPI research library?
The new research library is a searchable database that we released November 27, 2018. The overall purpose of the library is to function as the hub of all peanut nutrition research. There’s so much research out there and it’s easy for peanut nutrition studies to get lost. The library creates that space to make sure the peanut story continues to be told, and that the benefits of peanut consumption continues to be communicated from a scientific perspective.
How did the idea and creation of the research library come about?
The idea came about through our strategic plan and was initiated by our chairman, Dr. Darlene Cowart. It has been a vision of hers for a long time based on a need she saw within the peanut industry -- for us to have a library where anyone can find peanut nutrition research. I’ve had the privilege of being able to take up that vision and create something that really illustrated what she had in mind.
What we’ve been able to do is to create a global library, so anyone from anywhere in the world can have a space to search for answers to their peanut nutrition questions.
Which audience/s is the new research database intended to reach?
The audience is anyone, anywhere, at any time. It’s for academic, clinical and industry audiences, as well as the general consumer. It is written in a such a way that it can hopefully reach people who may not have a scientific background, as well as those who do. We have a space on the library where if you would like to delve deeper into the research -- you can click on the actual link to the study. But if you just want a synopsis of what the research said, that’s also available to you as well.
Is the new tool to easy to navigate? Any tips for its new users?
Making it user-friendly has been on the top of our priority list from the beginning, and we’ve worked hard on that. We’re open to any feedback from users and suggestions on how we can make it even better.
For tips: When you enter the research library on the website, if you’d like to see all the studies that we have, you can simply click “View All,” and every study will pop up. If you’d like to search generally, the best way to do that is to search by topic or year, and that will give you the most recent research. If there is a specific study you’re looking for but can’t remember where you saw it, you can search for the author, journal or keyword in the study.
How did you decide which studies to include within the database? In other words, do you have certain criteria for included research?
I wanted to start with the most recent studies, as well as reviews that encapsulate many studies that have been done over the past years. I also wanted to include studies that may be easily missed if you were to search a more general scientific database. On the surface, there are certain studies you would not think are related to peanuts, but when you read through them, peanuts are actually very relevant.
So, my priorities are recent research, research reviews and research that would be easily missed. My hope for the future is to have all peanut nutrition studies in there.
Anything else you’d like to add about the research library?
It’s just exciting to have this tool – it’s something we’ve been waiting for, for a long time. It’s something that will help consumers put all the peanut research information together. A lot of times, they hear certain foods are good or certain foods or bad. What the library does is that it shows proof – it shows them the science behind it so they can have confidence. Consumers can feel empowered, knowing they have the information at their fingertips. They can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that peanuts are a superfood.