Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences


In the United States, nearly 80 million people have some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This amounts to one in three adults, making it the number one cause of death each year for over a century. Because of the high prevalence of CVD, it is a priority in the U.S. to decrease its morbidity and mortality. Extensive research has been dedicated to pinpointing risk factors, determining preventive techniques, and developing treatments. A major focus in this research is the role of nutrition in the pathogenesis of CVD. Quality of diet is an important factor in health and disease progression. To transfer this information to the general public, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created labeling regulations and health claims to be used on food labels. The intent is to convey to the American public the positive or negative effects of the foods they choose to consume. Health claims are beneficial because they increase consumer awareness, encourage manufacturers to create healthier products, and recognize the work of researchers. But they can cause confusion and manufacturers often distort their meanings. The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate the efficacy of the health claims regarding trans fat, unsaturated fat, and plant stanols and sterols. It is important for dietitians to examine current research, scrutinize products, and convey this information to their clients. Understanding health claims, along with living a healthy lifestyle and having good dietary habits play a part in maximizing heart health.



Faculty Mentor

Noreen Schvaneveldt

Departmental Honors Advisor

Janet Anderson