Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Stephan Van Vliet


Stephan Van Vliet


Korry Hintze


Robert Ward


There is a growing concern that the current farming techniques are producing less-nutrient dense soils and foods impacting human health. To improve the health of soils, people, and the plant, a growing number of farmers are using regenerative, or agroecological, farming practices. Some of these methods include multi-cropping (growing various plants on the same plot of land), ley systems (alternating between crops and livestock), and rotational grazing of livestock. Previous studies have found that regenerative farming systems have various benefits for the lands, crops, and animals, as well as increasing the nutrient density of foods.

The purpose of this study was to compare conventional farming practices to regenerative farming practices on human health markers. Sixteen participants completed the study, where they consumed both a regeneratively-produced diet and a conventionally-produced diet for forty-four days with a two-week washout period between the two diet periods. At four different timepoints, blood was drawn from participants to analyze biomarkers of health. Overall, there was no differences in glucose, lipid, and inflammatory levels after the diet. There was significant data indicating there were positive differences between participants' habitual diet and the whole-foods diet that both study diets were based upon. The work showed that there are positive health indications from consuming a whole-foods diet versus a typical standard American diet rich in ultra-processed foods. Future work will include deep metabolic profiling of the blood and stool samples of people.