A Touro University professor and his research team who are trying to gain more understanding of obesity have received a huge boost to continue their efforts. 

Touro bio chemistry professor Jean Marc-Schwarz and his team have been awarded a new National Institutes of Health grant of more than $3 million to be used over the next five years. 

Schwarz has already captured worldwide attention for his work studying if a prevalent food additive, high-fructose corn syrup, contributes to a host of modern ills -- obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

The grant funding will go into studying if the composition of meals and how often they are eaten contributes to the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

"This new work is related to high fructose corn syrup but it's a different question," Schwarz said. 

The new work will focus more on carbohydrates and provide new information on how two different types of diets and two different sizes of meals affect conditions in the body that point to the risk of cardiovascular disease.

After early medical research urged people to shy away from meals high in carbohydrates, that trend dramatically changed in the last few decades, Schwarz said. 

As people were warned against diets high in fats, they embraced high carbohydrate diets, some of which are now known to lead to conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, he said.

The new study will compare impacts of two different diets, one high in sugars nd the other high in fat, plus small meals plus large ones. 

In technical terms, this research is called "Lipogenesis, Lipoprotein Flux and Cardiovascular Risk: Role of Meal Composition and Frequency." 

The work could very well lead to medical interventions and recommendations for new diets which would cut down on the risk of cardiovascular disease and also encourage new thinking about nutritional advise, Schwarz said. 

His research team includes Kathy Mulligan of University of California at San Franciscso as co-principal investigator, Touro research director Alejandro Gugliucci, plus Morris Schambelan and Susan Noworowlsky. 

Contact staff writer Sarah Rohrs at srohrs@timesheraldonline.com or (707) 553-6832. Follow her on Twitter @SarahVTH.