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Silver appointed to national committee assessing human requirements for energy intake and expenditure

Dec. 17, 2021, 9:20 AM


by Bill Snyder

Heidi Silver, RDN, MS, PhD

Heidi Silver, RDN, MS, PhD, an internationally known registered dietitian and nutrition scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been appointed to an ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to assess the human requirements for energy intake and expenditure.

The 11-member Committee on Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Energy, is scheduled to hold its first meeting virtually on Monday, Dec. 20.

The committee has been charged with producing a report that reviews the scientific evidence on energy and macronutrient requirements specific to age, sex, body size and body composition, physiological states including pregnancy, menopause, and chronic conditions such as obesity, and the level of physical activity consistent with good health.

The DRIs establish the Adequate Intakes (AI), the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) and Tolerable Upper Levels (TUL) for energy and nutrient intakes of the U.S. population. “As such, they serve as the foundation for federal, state and local policies, programs, and guidelines,”  Silver said.

Understanding the body’s requirements for energy and macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat and protein) is essential to addressing the national and global epidemic of obesity and improving the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and cardiovascular diseases, she said.

Silver is research professor of Medicine at VUMC and health scientist at the Nashville Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, part of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.

She established and directs the Vanderbilt Diet, Body Composition and Human Metabolism Core. The core provides nutrition and diet assessments, menu development, nutrition counseling and intervention, as well as body composition, energy expenditure and cardiometabolic testing for the study protocols of VUMC, VA and outside investigators.

Silver has been an independently funded investigator at VUMC and the Nashville VA for the past 18 years.

She designs randomized controlled trials investigating how modulating dietary fat and carbohydrate intake in adults with obesity affects body composition, inflammation, insulin resistance and risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Her studies have shown significant differences in the response to diet intervention by sex and race.

The recipient of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2020 Excellence in Research Practice Award, Silver is a long-standing champion for advancing the scope of practice of registered dietitians.

She has trained and mentored more than 500 registered dietitians as well as dozens of medical and graduate students in valid nutrition, diet, energy balance and body composition methods for clinical research.

Since 1998, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) has issued eight volumes of DRIs that provide guidance for planning and assessing nutrition programs as well as individual dietary intakes, which are an essential component of improving and maintaining health.

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