Kerry Peterson, daughter Clare and dog Maggie
Kerry Peterson enjoys a winter day with her daughter, Clare, and basset hound, Maggie.

What’s new in your field? 

In fall of 2013 the Food and Drug Administration proposed that partially hydrogenated oils be removed from the Generally Recognized as Safe list because they are the leading source of trans fats in the American diet. If this happens, food manufacturers would no longer be permitted to sell foods containing partially hydrogenated oils without prior FDA approval for their use as a food additive. Partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats are found mostly in highly process packaged foods, such as cakes, cookies, crackers, etc.

An interesting finding in nutrition research is that the makeup of your gut bacteria may impact your ability to lose weight. The good news is that research suggests the foods you eat can change the bacteria in your gut, which in turn may affect your weight. Foods that tend to increase the healthy bacteria in your gut include fruits and vegetables. So, eat more fruits and vegetables!

Why do you love teaching, especially at UW-Stout? 

I have the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with so many of my students. I meet many of them during their first year. They become my advisees, and I will have them in two or three classes. Witnessing their personal and academic growth during their time at UW-Stout is an honor, and I am proud to be a small part of it.

What’s your favorite teaching memory, moment or student? 

I have several, but I would say in general one of my favorite moments is when students who have graduated and completed their dietetic internship contact me to let me know they have passed their registration exam and are now officially a registered dietitian. This is a significant achievement in the life of a dietetics student, and the fact that my students take the time to share it with me, their former professor, is really awesome.

What’s interesting about you that your students might not know? 

OK, here is my dirty little secret. I’ve read every single “Twilight” book, multiple times. And I’ve seen all of the movies, multiple times. In fact, I have all of the movies recorded on my DVR. Am I proud of this? No! But, my brain needs a little mindless entertainment or it would never leave the classroom!

If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why? 

Easy, Dr. Oz.  Then, I would have the opportunity to tell him his oversensationalized nutrition “advice” is doing more harm to the public than good.  


Five Questions

About Kerry

» Faculty Profile

Title: Associate professor, food and nutrition, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences

Teaching focus, expertise: I teach advanced nutrition; nutritional assessment; trends in nutrition with a focus on dietary supplements; sports nutrition; multicultural foods; and nutrition for healthy living. I studied fat metabolism during my Ph.D., and investigated why fat accumulates in the liver during obesity. Also, I have done research using non-radioactive isotopes to determine the impact of dietary fat on HDL (good) cholesterol and presented on sustainability issues as they relate to food systems and nutrition.

Background: Sixth year teaching at UW-Stout. I graduated from Mount Holyoke College (Mass.) in 2000 with a bachelor’s in biology. My Ph.D. is in nutrition from the University of Minnesota. While pursuing my graduate degree I also took courses in dietetics so that I could complete my dietetic internship, which I also did through the University of Minnesota. After completing my doctoral degree and receiving my registered dietitian credentials, I was an adjunct instructor and dietetic program coordinator in the department of food science and nutrition at U of M; I also worked as a study coordinator in the School of Medicine, Division of Renal Disease and Hypertension.

Family, hobbies: My husband, Karl, teaches in the chemistry department at UW-River Falls. We have two children, Colin, 6, and Clare, 3, and a basset hound, Maggie. I love to exercise, and if I am not at UW-Stout or at home I am probably out running or doing some sort of group fitness at BodyRox fitness in River Falls. We also have an extremely large garden, and I spend most of my summer and early fall harvesting vegetables. Last year I ended up with 46 pie pumpkins!

February 2014