Allison Aubrey

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News. Aubrey is a 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards nominee for her broadcast radio coverage of food and nutrition. And, along with her colleagues on The Salt, winner of a 2012 James Beard Award for best food blog. Her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also host of the NPR video series Tiny Desk Kitchen.

Through her reporting Aubrey can focus on her curiosities about food and culture. She has investigated the nutritional, and taste, differences between grass fed and corn feed beef. Aubrey looked into the hype behind the claims of antioxidants in berries and the claim that honey is a cure-all for allergies.

In 2009, Aubrey was awarded both the American Society for Nutrition's Media Award for her reporting on food and nutrition. She was honored with the 2006 National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism in radio and earned a 2005 Medical Evidence Fellowship by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Knight Foundation. She was a 2009 Kaiser Media Fellow in focusing on health.

Joining NPR in 1998 as a general assignment reporter Aubrey spent five years covering environmental policy, as well as contributing to coverage of Washington, D.C., for NPR's National Desk.

Before coming to NPR, Aubrey was a reporter for PBS' NewsHour. She has worked in a variety of positions throughout the television industry.

Aubrey received her bachelor's of arts degree from Denison University in Granville, OH, and a master's of arts degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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2:32pm

Fri July 24, 2015
The Salt

No More Hidden Sugar: FDA Proposes New Label Rule

Originally published on Sat July 25, 2015 1:22 pm

NPR Photo Illustration FDA

Sixty-five grams of added sugar. That's how much you'll find in a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola.

But can you picture 65 grams? It's about 16 teaspoons worth of the sweet stuff.

The Food and Drug Administration wants to make it easier for Americans to track how much added sugars we're getting in the foods and beverages we choose.

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5:33pm

Thu July 23, 2015
The Salt

Even If You're Lean, 1 Soda Per Day Ups Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Originally published on Mon July 27, 2015 10:53 am

A daily habit of sugary-sweetened drinks can boost your risk of developing the disease β€” even if you're not overweight.
Ryan Kellman NPR

It's true that being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes.

But attention, skinny and normal-weight people: You may be vulnerable, too.

Lots of lifestyle choices influence the risk of diabetes: everything from whether you smoke to how much you exercise (or don't). It turns out, what you choose to drink is also a risk factor.

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5:36am

Fri July 17, 2015
The Salt

Sugar Hooked Us On Yogurt. Could Savory Be The New Sweet?

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 11:24 am

Everything Bagel: This yogurt from Sohha Savory Yogurt comes topped with roasted pine nuts, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, onion and extra virgin olive oil.
Christina Holmes Courtesy of Sohha Savory Yogurt

Back in the 1940s, turning Americans onto the tangy taste of yogurt wasn't an easy sell.

It seems many of our grandparents turned their noses up at the idea of sour, fermented milk.

"The tart taste was totally unfamiliar to Americans, and that was really the biggest hurdle," says Michael Neuwirth, a spokesman for the Dannon Co.

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3:42am

Tue July 14, 2015
The Salt

Prozac In The Yogurt Aisle: Can 'Good' Bacteria Chill Us Out?

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 11:04 am

Scientists have documented that beneficial microorganisms play a critical role in how our bodies function. And it's becoming clear that the influence goes beyond the gut β€” researchers are turning their attention to our emotional health.
iStockphoto

The idea that fermented foods β€” including yogurt and kefir β€” are good for us goes way back. But could the benefits of "good bacteria" extend beyond our guts to our brains?

Nobel Prize-winning scientist Elie Metchnikoff (also known as Ilya Ilich Mechnikov) first observed a connection between fermented milk and longevity among Bulgarian peasants more than a century ago.

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5:39pm

Wed July 8, 2015
The Salt

Can Subway Freshen Up Its Image After Jared?

Originally published on Wed July 8, 2015 6:34 pm

For 15 years, Jared Fogle has been the famous face of Subway. Here, Fogle (left) visits a Subway shop in Daytona Beach, Fla., with NASCAR driver Carl Edwards in 2012.
Brian Blanco AP

If you can't picture Jared Fogle's face, you may remember his pants.

Before he lost a jaw-dropping 245 pounds, he was once an obese college student wearing blue jeans with a 60-inch waist.

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4:23pm

Tue July 7, 2015
The Salt

Tea-Infused Sweets: Chocolate + Jasmine Tea Is A Match Made In Heaven

A quartet of tea-infused treats. Clockwise from left: Pastry chef's Naomi Gallego's old-fashioned doughnuts, flavored with Earl Grey; chocolate custard infused with jasmine tea, topped with a whipped cream ganache with a bit of lemon; berry scones with a hint of black berry tea; and blue French-style macarons made with lapsang souchong.
Allison Aubrey NPR

One secret to a long life may be the simple daily ritual of tea.

We've told you how Okinawans β€” who are known to have more than a few centenarians among them β€” enjoy jasmine-infused tea.

And if you're looking to incorporate this fragrant aroma with a bit of creamy indulgence, pastry chef Naomi Gallego, of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C., has you covered.

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5:42pm

Tue June 30, 2015
The Salt

Communities Get A Lift As Local Food Sales Surge To $11 Billion A Year

Tomatoes at Union South Farmers Market in Madison Wisconsin.
Patrick Kuhl Flickr

There's a renaissance in local and regional food, and it's not just farmers markets in urban areas that are driving it.

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3:04pm

Mon June 29, 2015
The Salt

Curb Your Appetite: Save Bread For The End Of The Meal

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 3:56 pm

Bite into that bread before your main meal, and you'll spike your blood sugar and amp up your appetite. Waiting until the end of your dinner to nosh on bread can blunt those effects.
iStockphoto

Ah, the bread basket. You sit down for a nice meal out, and there it appears: piping hot, giving off a waft of yeasty divinity.

Who can resist?

There's a reason this age-old tradition prevails. Even in the era of paleo and gluten-free, there are still hordes of us who will gladly nosh on crusty, chewy, soul-warming bread.

But the downside may be more than just some extra calories. Turns out, eating all those carbs before a meal can amp up our appetites and spike our blood sugar.

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3:58pm

Mon June 22, 2015
The Salt

Sans Artificial: General Mills Scrambles To Reformulate Lucky Charms

Brace yourself, leprechaun: General Mills wants to ditch the artificial colorings and flavorings in your Lucky Charms.
Mike Mozart Flickr

We hate to break it to you, Mr. Leprechaun, but someone really is after your Lucky Charms: General Mills.

Or more specifically, it's after the artificial colorings used to give the cereal its trademark rainbow-colored marshmallow shapes. General Mills on Monday announced it will remove artificial colors and flavors from all of its cereals.

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5:03am

Fri June 19, 2015
The Salt

Chocolate, Chocolate, It's Good For Your Heart, Study Finds

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 5:58 pm

There's a growing body of evidence suggesting that compounds found in cocoa beans, called polyphenols, may help protect against heart disease.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

Here's a sweet notion: Eat a little chocolate each day and you could be doing your heart a favor.

A new study published in the journal Heart found that habitual chocolate eaters had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes compared to people who didn't eat chocolate.

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1:50pm

Wed June 17, 2015
The Salt

To Tackle Food Waste, Big Grocery Chain Will Sell Produce Rejects

Originally published on Thu June 18, 2015 10:45 am

Imperfect Produce is a new venture that's sourcing funny-looking produce and partnering with the chain Raley's to sell it at discounted prices.
Courtesy of Imperfect Produce

It's easy to blame someone else for food waste. If this is really a $2.6 trillion issue, as the United Nations estimates, then who's in charge of fixing it?

Turns out, we the eaters play a big role here.

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2:29pm

Tue June 16, 2015
The Salt

FDA To Food Companies: This Time, Zero Means Zero Trans Fats

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 8:06 pm

Microwave popcorn containing trans fats from November 2013. The Grocery Manufacturers Association says the industry has lowered the amount of trans fat added to food products by more than 86 percent. But trans fats can still be found in some processed food items.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced that food companies have three years to remove all trans fats from processed food. The long-expected move is aimed at making food more healthful.

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3:48am

Mon June 15, 2015
Shots - Health News

Take A Swing At This: Golf Is Exercise, Cart Or No Cart

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 1:29 pm

Ryo Ishikawa, one of Japan's biggest golf stars, demonstrates his swing on the pro tour in February.
Donald Miralle Getty Images

When we asked adults who play sports which one they play the most, golf topped the list. That's right: Our poll finds that a day on the links beat out soccer, softball and tennis.

My first reaction was: Whaaat? Golf is played by people riding around in motorized carts; how much exercise could you possibly get?

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3:50am

Fri May 22, 2015
The Salt

Adios, Trans Fats: FDA Poised To Phase Out Artery-Clogging Fat

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:32 am

Various food items that contained trans fats in November 2013. That month, the Food and Drug Administration first announced plans to ban partially hydrogenated vegetable oils from all food products. A final rule is expected any day now.
Scott Olson Getty Images

The case against trans fats is not new. For years, health experts have been telling us to avoid them.

And as retailing behemoths such as Wal-Mart have committed to the removal of all remaining, industrially produced trans fats in the products they sell, the food industry has stepped up its pace to reformulate its offerings.

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6:08pm

Wed May 20, 2015
The Salt

McMadness: Activists Pile On At McDonald's Shareholders Meeting

Demonstrators march on McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., on Wednesday, demanding a wage increase to $15 per hour.
Brian Kersey UPI /Landov

Whoa, I wouldn't want to be Steve Easterbrook right about now.

The newish CEO of McDonald's β€” who has pledged to turn the fast-food giant into a progressive burger chain β€” is getting an earful this week, as the company prepares to convene its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday.

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3:30am

Wed May 20, 2015
The Salt

Pollinator Politics: Environmentalists Criticize Obama Plan To Save Bees

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 12:09 pm

The White House announced an action plan Tuesday aimed at reversing dramatic declines in pollinators like honeybees, which play a vital role in agriculture, pollinating everything from apples and almonds to squash.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The buzz around bees has been bad lately. As we've reported, beekeepers say they lost 42 percent of honeybee colonies last summer.

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5:35pm

Fri May 15, 2015
The Salt

USDA To Certify Non-GMO Foods With New Label

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 6:40 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will verify companies' claims of using non-GMO ingredients through its Process Verified Program.
USDA/AMS

If you want to know if the beef you're buying is grassfed, there's a U.S. Department of Agriculture label for that. The agency is also behind the nation's biggest certified organic label, and an antibiotic-free one, too.

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6:01pm

Thu May 14, 2015
The Salt

From Scornin' It To Lovin' It: McDonald's Tests Out Kale On Its Menu

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 6:31 pm

Kale is not only loaded with nutrients, but it's become a emblem of a healthy lifestyle that's increasingly appealing to Americans ready to move away from processed, high-calorie food.
Peet Sneekes/Flickr

Just a few months ago McDonald's was showing no love for kale.

In a TV ad promoting the beefiness of the Big Mac, the chain poked fun at the leafy green and other vegetarian fare: "You can't get juiciness like this from soy or quinoa," a low voice quips as the camera focuses on a juicy burger. "Nor will it ever be kale."

But the chain is now showing it some affection. McDonald's has announced that it's testing a new breakfast bowl that blends kale and spinach with turkey sausage and egg whites. McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb says the bowls are "freshly prepared."

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5:06pm

Tue May 12, 2015
The Salt

Brain Boost: Mediterranean Diet May Fend Off Memory Loss

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 6:44 pm

A whole range of foods in common in the Mediterranean diet β€” from fish to nuts to fruits and vegetables β€” are rich in antioxidants and may protect against cognitive decline.
iStockphoto

If you've ever walked out of the house without your phone and wallet β€” as I did yesterday β€” you might have wondered: Am I starting to lose it?

Even if you're too young for any real concern about dementia, this kind of precursor to a "senior moment" can be rattling.

But a new study suggests we're not powerless when it comes to keeping our mental acuity and memory intact.

Researchers have documented that a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fish, whole grains, along with daily servings of nuts and olive oil can help fend off age-related cognitive decline.

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2:21pm

Fri May 8, 2015
The Salt

Promises, Promises: Is Big Food Marketing Less Junk To Kids On TV?

TV marketing that pushes foods high in salt, sugar and fat to children can put their long-term health at risk, according to past research. So has Big Food changed its ways?
iStockphoto

It's not hard to connect the dots between what kids see on TV and what they eat. Advertising works.

And researchers have documented that marketing practices that push items like sugary cereals, salted snacks and fast food put children's long-term health at risk, by promoting unhealthy eating habits.

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6:47pm

Wed April 22, 2015
The Salt

Buzz Over Bee Health: New Pesticide Studies Rev Up Controversy

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 11:58 am

A honeybee forages for nectar and pollen from an oilseed rape flower.
Albin Andersson/Nature

It has been about a decade since beekeepers and scientists began documenting a decline in honeybee populations and other important pollinators.

Even if you're not a lover of bees or honey, you should know that bees are critically important to our food supply. They help pollinate billions of dollars of crops each year, from apples and carrots to blueberries and almonds.

So if bees are threatened, ultimately, the production of these crops will be threatened, too.

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4:58pm

Fri April 17, 2015
The Salt

Running A Marathon? How To Eat and Drink So You Don't Hit The Wall

Performance nutrition experts recommend stopping at all the hydration stations for a quick fill-up of a sports drink to replenish the glycogen that's being burned during a marathon.
iStockphoto

Elite runners know the drill. When you run a marathon, you've got to consume extra amounts of carbohydrate β€” either from food or energy gels or energy drinks β€” in order to go the distance.

And if you don't fuel up enough? You may hit the wall during the big event, which, believe me, is pretty miserable.

The wall comes on abruptly. Suddenly your legs feel like lead. And then you're woozy.

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3:49am

Thu April 16, 2015
Shots - Health News

Tylenol Might Dull Emotional Pain, Too

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 12:17 am

Paul Taylor Getty Images

A common pain medication might make you go from "so cute!" to "so what?" when you look at a photo of a kitten. And it might make you less sensitive to horrifying things, too. It's acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Researchers say the drug might be taking the edge off emotions β€” not just pain.

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4:00pm

Thu April 2, 2015
The Salt

Sodium Sleuths: Do Southerners Eat More Salt Than The Rest Of Us?

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 5:02 pm

The salty suspects: Some 70 percent of the cheeses, soups, cold cuts and pizzas we buy at the grocery store exceed the Food and Drug Administration's "healthy" labeling standards for salt. Since we eat so much bread, it is β€” perhaps surprisingly β€” the top contributor of sodium to our diets.
iStockphoto; Deborah Austin/Flickr; Beckman's Bakery/Flickr; iStockphoto; The Pizza Review/Flickr

It's not the salt shakers on our tables that explain why Americans consume way too much sodium. It's the processed foods we buy in grocery stores.

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4:44pm

Wed March 25, 2015
The Salt

Arsenic In California Wines: Should Drinkers Be Concerned?

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 12:58 pm

"There's no reason to believe that exposure to arsenic in food and wine is above levels that are considered to be safe," says Susan Ebeler, a professor and chemist in the Foods For Health Institute at the University of California, Davis.
Erik Schelzig ASSOCIATED PRESS

There's been a lot of buzz around the story that some inexpensive California wines, including a Charles Shaw (aka two-buck Chuck) white Zinfandel sold at Trader Joe's, have been found to contain traces of arsenic.

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3:33am

Mon March 23, 2015
Shots - Health News

Rethinking Alcohol: Can Heavy Drinkers Learn To Cut Back?

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:34 am

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

The thinking about alcohol dependence used to be black and white. There was a belief that there were two kinds of drinkers: alcoholics and everyone else.

"But that dichotomy β€” yes or no, you have it or you don't β€” is inadequate," says Dr. John Mariani, who researches substance abuse at Columbia University. He says that the thinking has evolved, and that the field of psychiatry recognizes there's a spectrum.

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3:12am

Wed March 18, 2015
The Salt

Do TV Cooking Shows Make Us Fat?

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 1:37 pm

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis during a guest appearance on ABC's The Chew last fall. She can cook rich foods and keep her trim figure, but new research suggests that's a difficult feat for amateur cooks watching along at home.
Lou Rocco ABC/Getty Images

If you've ever watched Giada de Laurentiis make gooey chocolate-hazelnut spread or a rich carbonara pasta dish, you may have wondered: How can she cook like this and maintain her slim figure?

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11:12am

Wed March 11, 2015
The Salt

How Big Sugar Steered Research On A 'Tooth Decay Vaccine'

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 3:18 pm

Garry Gay Getty Images

Sugar can promote tooth decay. Duh.

So if you want good oral health, it makes sense to brush and floss regularly and perhaps limit the amount of sugar you consume. Right?

In 2015, this may seem fairly obvious.

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4:18am

Tue March 10, 2015
The Salt

Circadian Surprise: How Our Body Clocks Help Shape Our Waistlines

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 5:18 pm

Katherine Streeter for NPR

We've long known about the master clock in our brains that helps us maintain a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle.

But in recent years, scientists have made a cool discovery: We have different clocks in virtually every organ of our bodies β€” from our pancreas to our stomach to our fat cells.

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5:01pm

Fri March 6, 2015
The Salt

Voluptuous Veg: Can Food Porn Seed Lust For Healthy Eating?

A "ballet" of Brussels sprouts dazzles at the Food Porn Index, a site that tracks which foods are trending in social media part of an effort to heighten the appeal of healthy eating.
via Bolthouse Farms

Sorry to be so risquΓ©, but beautiful photos of tempting foods can make our mouths water.

Think molten spoonfuls of chocolate, voluptuous layer cake or melted cheese oozing from a perfectly grilled croque monsieur.

We're awash in these types of food porn images. But, by comparison, do pictures of Brussels sprouts or beets get as much love online?

Nope. According to Bolthouse Farms, which markets baby carrots and fresh juices, of the more than 1.7 million food images posted daily, only about one-third are of fruits and vegetables.

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