Phyllis B. Acosta
Born27 December 1933
Shoal Creek Community
Died30 September 2018
OccupationPublic health researcher

Phyllis B. Acosta (27 December 1933 – 30 September 2018) was an American public health researcher best known for her research on inherited metabolic disorders and vegetarian diets. She was a pioneer in developing nutritional therapy for management of phenylketonuria.


Acosta was born at Shoal Creek Community. She obtained a B.A. from Andrews University in 1955 and Doctor of Public Health in 1969 from the University of Southern California.[1][2] She worked with Richard Koch at University of California, Los Angeles during 1966–1970 to establish the first guidelines for nutrition management of phenylketonuria.[1] Acosta had a Master's in Dietetics.[3]

She started the first nutrition clinic to treat patients with inherited metabolic disorders at Emory University.[1] She was chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Florida State University and was Director of Metabolic Diseases at Abbott Nutrition from 1987 until her retirement in 2003.[1] At Abbott Nutrition she developed medical foods for individuals with metabolic disorders. She was the principal author of the Ross Nutrition Support Protocol Handbook which is cited as a resource for clinicians managing metabolic disorders.[1] In 2010, she authored Nutrition Management of Patients with Inherited Metabolic Disorders.[1] She published over 150 peer-reviewed papers.[4]

In 1967, Acosta received the first Lydia J. Roberts Fellowship in Public Health Nutrition. She was named an Outstanding Dietitian by the American Dietetic Association in 1991.[2] She was a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.[5]

Acosta had a total of three children with her husband.[2] Acosta was a Seventh-day Adventist and was later described as "of the Christian faith".[3][6] She died in Cleveland, Tennessee aged 84.[2] The Genetic Metabolic Dietitians International established the Phyllis Acosta Scholarship Fund in her honour.[1]


Acosta was a lacto-ovo vegetarian. She co-authored Diet Manual: Utilizing a Vegetarian Diet Plan in 1965 for the Seventh-Day Adventist Dietetic Association.[6] In 1987, she attended Loma Linda University’s First International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition.[7]

Acosta studied vegan and vegetarian diets with Alice Marsh of Andrews University and at Loma Linda University.[2] She was a reviewer for the 1988 and 1993 position papers of the American Dietetic Association on vegetarian diets.[8][9]

Selected publications


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Calcar, Sandy van (2019). "In Memorium: Phyllis B. Acosta Dr.PH, R.D, December 27, 1933 – September 30, 2018". Molecular Genetics and Metabolism. 126 (3): 209. doi:10.1016/j.ymgme.2019.01.003. S2CID 91808005.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Phyllis B. Acosta" (PDF). Focus: The Andrews University Magazine. 54 (4): 33. 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2023-09-10.
  3. ^ a b "Phyllis B. Acosta, Ph.D.". Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  4. ^ "In fond memory: Phyllis Acosta, Ph. D. (December 27, 1933 – September 30, 2018)". Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  5. ^ "Obituary". Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 118 (12): 2386. 2018.
  6. ^ a b Shurtleff, William; Aoyagi, Akiko. (2014). History of Seventh-day Adventist Work with Soyfoods, Vegetarianism, Meat Alternatives, Wheat Gluten, Dietary Fiber and Peanut Butter (1863-2013). Soyinfo Center. p. 475. ISBN 978-1928914-64-8
  7. ^ "First International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition. Proceedings. Washington, DC, USA, March 16-18, 1987". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 48 (3): 707–927. 1988. doi:10.1093/ajcn/48.3.707. PMID 3414585.
  8. ^ Havala, Suzanne; Dwyer, Johanna (1988). "Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets--technical support paper". Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 88 (3): 352–355. doi:10.1016/S0002-8223(21)01980-5. PMID 3346498. S2CID 44567892.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Havala, Suzanne; Dwyer, Johanna (1993). "Position of the American dietetic association: Vegetarian diets". Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 93 (11): 1317–1319. doi:10.1016/0002-8223(93)91966-T. PMID 8227888.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)