Publications by authors named "Charis Davidson"

7 Publications

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The Fast-Casual Conundrum: Fast-Casual Restaurant Entrées Are Higher in Calories than Fast Food.

J Acad Nutr Diet 2016 10 11;116(10):1606-12. Epub 2016 May 11.

Background: Frequently eating fast food has been associated with consuming a diet high in calories, and there is a public perception that fast-casual restaurants (eg, Chipotle) are healthier than traditional fast food (eg, McDonald's). However, research has not examined whether fast-food entrées and fast-casual entrées differ in calorie content.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the caloric content of entrées at fast-food restaurants differed from that found at fast-casual restaurants.

Design: This study was a cross-sectional analysis of secondary data. Calorie information from 2014 for lunch and dinner entrées for fast-food and fast-casual restaurants was downloaded from the MenuStat database.

Outcome Measures: Mean calories per entrée between fast-food restaurants and fast-casual restaurants and the proportion of restaurant entrées that fell into different calorie ranges were assessed.

Statistical Analyses Performed: A t test was conducted to test the hypothesis that there was no difference between the average calories per entrée at fast-food and fast-casual restaurants. To examine the difference in distribution of entrées in different calorie ranges between fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, χ(2) tests were used.

Results: There were 34 fast-food and 28 fast-casual restaurants included in the analysis (n=3,193 entrées). Fast-casual entrées had significantly more calories per entrée (760±301 kcal) than fast-food entrées (561±268; P<0.0001). A greater proportion of fast-casual entrées compared with fast-food entrées exceeded the median of 640 kcal per entrée (P<0.0001).

Conclusions: Although fast-casual entrées contained more calories than fast-food entrées in the study sample, future studies should compare actual purchasing patterns from these restaurants to determine whether the energy content or nutrient density of full meals (ie, entrées with sides and drinks) differs between fast-casual restaurants and fast-food restaurants. Calorie-conscious consumers should consider the calorie content of entrée items before purchase, regardless of restaurant type.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2016.03.020DOI Listing
October 2016

Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: a randomized controlled trial of five different diets.

Nutrition 2015 Feb 18;31(2):350-8. Epub 2014 Oct 18.

Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of plant-based diets on weight loss.

Methods: Participants were enrolled in a 6-mo, five-arm, randomized controlled trial in 2013 in South Carolina. Participants attended weekly group meetings, with the exception of the omnivorous group, which served as the control and attended monthly meetings augmented with weekly e-mail lessons. All groups attended monthly meetings for the last 4 mo of the study. Diets did not emphasize caloric restriction.

Results: Overweight adults (body mass index 25-49.9 kg/m(2); age 18-65 y, 19% non-white, and 27% men) were randomized to a low-fat, low-glycemic index diet: vegan (n = 12), vegetarian (n = 13), pesco-vegetarian (n = 13), semi-vegetarian (n = 13), or omnivorous (n = 12). Fifty (79%) participants completed the study. In intention-to-treat analysis, the linear trend for weight loss across the five groups was significant at both 2 (P < 0.01) and 6 mo (P < 0.01). At 6 mo, the weight loss in the vegan group (-7.5% ± 4.5%) was significantly different from the omnivorous (-3.1% ± 3.6%; P = 0.03), semi-vegetarian (-3.2% ± 3.8%; P = 0.03), and pesco-vegetarian (-3.2% ± 3.4%; P = 0.03) groups. Vegan participants decreased their fat and saturated fat more than the pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, and omnivorous groups at both 2 and 6 mo (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Vegan diets may result in greater weight loss than more modest recommendations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2014.09.002DOI Listing
February 2015

Varying social media post types differentially impacts engagement in a behavioral weight loss intervention.

Transl Behav Med 2014 Dec;4(4):355-62

Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC USA.

The purpose of this study was to examine whether different types of posts differentially affect participant engagement and if engagement with social media enhances weight loss. Data are a subanalysis from a randomized weight loss study with a 4-month follow-up support period via private Facebook groups and monthly meetings. Counselors posted five different post types/week based on social cognitive theory (weight-related, recipes, nutrition information, poll votes, or requests for suggestions). Types of participant engagement (likes, comments/poll votes, and views) were assessed. Poll votes were the most engaging (mean number of votes or comments/poll 14.6 ± 3.4, P < 0.01) followed by suggestions (9.1 ± 2.7 posts, P < 0.01) and weight-related posts (7.4 ± 3.1 posts, P < 0.01). Engagement with Facebook was significantly associated with weight loss during the 4-month maintenance period (B = -0.09, P = 0.04). The findings provide evidence for ways to provide social support during weight loss interventions using remote methodology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13142-014-0274-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4286554PMC
December 2014

Low glycemic index vegan or low-calorie weight loss diets for women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled feasibility study.

Nutr Res 2014 Jun 24;34(6):552-8. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

The aim of this randomized pilot was to assess the feasibility of a dietary intervention among women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) comparing a vegan to a low-calorie (low-cal) diet. Overweight (body mass index, 39.9 ± 6.1 kg/m(2)) women with PCOS (n = 18; age, 27.8 ± 4.5 years; 39% black) who were experiencing infertility were recruited to participate in a 6-month randomized weight loss study delivered through nutrition counseling, e-mail, and Facebook. Body weight and dietary intake were assessed at 0, 3, and 6 months. We hypothesized that weight loss would be greater in the vegan group. Attrition was high at 3 (39%) and 6 months (67%). All analyses were conducted as intention-to-treat and presented as median (interquartile range). Vegan participants lost significantly more weight at 3 months (-1.8% [-5.0%, -0.9%] vegan, 0.0 [-1.2%, 0.3%] low-cal; P = .04), but there was no difference between groups at 6 months (P = .39). Use of Facebook groups was significantly related to percent weight loss at 3 (P < .001) and 6 months (P = .05). Vegan participants had a greater decrease in energy (-265 [-439, 0] kcal/d) and fat intake (-7.4% [-9.2%, 0] energy) at 6 months compared with low-cal participants (0 [0, 112] kcal/d, P = .02; 0 [0, 3.0%] energy, P = .02). These preliminary results suggest that engagement with social media and adoption of a vegan diet may be effective for promoting short-term weight loss among women with PCOS; however, a larger trial that addresses potential high attrition rates is needed to confirm these results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2014.04.011DOI Listing
June 2014

Dietary intake, eating behaviors, and quality of life in women with polycystic ovary syndrome who are trying to conceive.

Hum Fertil (Camb) 2015 Mar 12;18(1):16-21. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health , Columbia, SC , USA.

The Healthy Eating for Reproductive Health study was conducted among 18 (45% non-white) mostly obese (BMI 39.9 ± 6.1) women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who were experiencing infertility and interested in losing weight. A variety of markers were measured at baseline: body mass index (BMI), diet, physical activity, eating behaviors (using an Eating Behavior Inventory, a questionnaire which assesses both positive and negative eating behaviors associated with weight status, with a higher score indicating adoption of eating behaviors which have been shown in prior weight-loss research to promote a healthy weight (EBI) and the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire, which assesses cognitive and behavioral components of eating among overweight adults), and a quality of life (PCOS Health-Related Quality of Life (PCOSQ)) index, which assesses satisfaction around five 'domains': emotional health, presence of body hair, infertility, weight, and menstrual problems). A comparison group of overweight women without PCOS (n = 28) was used to examine differences in measured outcomes between women with and without PCOS. Participants' habitual diets were high in fat and saturated fat and low in fiber, folate, and iron and contained significantly lower amounts of carbohydrate, iron, and whole grains compared with women without PCOS who had enrolled in a behavioral weight loss programme. Participants had a low EBI (indicating that most were not adopting eating behaviors associated with achieving a healthy weight), disinhibition (indicating participants had a tendency to overeat in the presence of highly palatable foods or were susceptible to emotional cues for eating, such as stress), and hunger scores (indicating participants did not report being susceptible to hunger, prompting overeating) and moderate dietary restraint (indicating they were not consistently attempting to restrict food intake consciously). PCOSQ scores were lowest for infertility and weight domains (indicating low satisfaction with current infertility and weight status); however all domains received low scores (emotional health, body hair, and menstrual problems). Higher energy intakes (kcal/day) were associated with a lower EBI score (r = - 0.60, P = 0.02), lower dietary restraint (r =- 0.50, P = 0.04), and higher disinhibition (r = 0.63, P = 0.01). Greater energy expenditure (kcal/day) was associated with lower PCOSQ scores for body weight (r =-0.54, P = 002) and infertility (r =- 0.51, P = 0.003) domains. Results suggest that overweight women with PCOS-related infertility have poor dietary intake, particularly in terms of whole grains, fiber, and iron, and eating behaviors inconsistent with achieving a healthy body weight, as well as low scores for PCOS-related quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/14647273.2014.922704DOI Listing
March 2015

Does the type of weight loss diet affect who participates in a behavioral weight loss intervention? A comparison of participants for a plant-based diet versus a standard diet trial.

Appetite 2014 Feb 20;73:156-62. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Public Health Research Center, 921 Assembly St., Columbia, SC 29208, USA. Electronic address:

Studies have found that people following plant-based eating styles, such as vegan or vegetarian diets, often have different demographic characteristics, eating styles, and physical activity (PA) levels than individuals following an omnivorous dietary pattern. There has been no research examining if there are differences in these characteristics among people who are willing to participate in a weight loss intervention using plant-based dietary approaches as compared to a standard reduced calorie approach, which does not exclude food groups. The present study compared baseline characteristics (demographics, dietary intake, eating behaviors (Eating Behavior Inventory), and PA (Paffenbarger Physical Activity Questionnaire)) of participants enrolling in two different 6-month behavioral weight loss studies: the mobile Pounds Off Digitally (mPOD) study, which used a standard reduced calorie dietary approach and the New Dietary Interventions to Enhance the Treatments for weight loss (New DIETs) study, which randomized participants to follow one of five different dietary approaches (vegan, vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, or omnivorous diets). There were no differences in baseline demographics with the exception of New DIETs participants being older (48.5±8.3years versus 42.9±11.2, P=0.001) and having a higher Body Mass Index (BMI, 35.2±5.3kg/m(2) versus 32.6±4.7kg/m(2), P=0.001) than mPOD participants. In age- and BMI-adjusted models, there were no differences in EBI scores or in any dietary variables, with the exception of vitamin C (85.6±5.9mg/d mPOD versus 63.4±7.4mg/d New DIETs, P=0.02). New DIETs participants reported higher levels of intentional PA/day (180.0±18.1kcal/d) than mPOD participants (108.8±14.4kcal/d, P=0.003), which may have been the result of New DIETs study recommendations to avoid increasing or decreasing PA during the study. The findings of this study demonstrate that using plant-based dietary approaches for weight loss intervention studies does not lead to a population which is significantly different from who enrolls in a standard, behavioral weight loss study using a reduced calorie dietary approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2013.11.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3932532PMC
February 2014

Toll-like receptor genes (TLRs) from Capitella capitata and Helobdella robusta (Annelida).

Dev Comp Immunol 2008 17;32(6):608-12. Epub 2007 Dec 17.

Division of Natural Sciences, Bryan College, Dayton, TN 37321, USA.

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are an important part of the innate immunity system and are found throughout the animal kingdom, but have not yet been reported in annelids. We searched shotgun reads of the genomes of the leech Helobdella and polychaete Capitella for TLR homologs. We found 105 TLR homologs in Capitella and 16 in Helobdella. The deduced phylogeny of these sequences, together with TLRs from other animal phyla, reveals three major clades. One clade consists of a mixture of both vertebrates and invertebrates, including sequences from Capitella and Helobdella, while the other two clades contain only invertebrate TLRs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dci.2007.11.004DOI Listing
August 2008