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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1:21pm

Fri July 11, 2014
The Salt

If Exercise Feels Like Work, Mindless Snacking May Follow

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:35 pm

In a recent study, participants who focused on the exercise of walking ate more M&Ms than people who focused on music while walking.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

If we hit the gym, don't we deserve a little extra something, maybe something sinfully sweet? The idea that sacrifice begets reward is embedded in our collective thinking.

But a fascinating new study from the folks at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab shows how this thinking might backfire. Thinking of exercise as work can lure us into mindlessly devouring calorie-bombs, such as a big helping of pudding or extra handfuls of M&M's. And compensating for physical activity with sweet treats this way may lead to weight gain.

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5:32pm

Fri June 6, 2014
The Salt

Doughnut Day Downer: Palm Oil In Pastries Drives Deforestation

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 7:29 pm

Doughnuts at a Krispy Kreme store in Washington, D.C. An environmental coalition says leading doughnut companies like Krispy Kreme source palm oil from suppliers who are clear-cutting rain forests and destroying wildlife habitat.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

On National Doughnut Day, it's hard to imagine how our love of doughnuts might be contributing to deforestation halfway around the globe.

But here's the connection: You know that oily smudge left on your fingers after you polish off a doughnut? That's not just sugar. It's also palm oil.

The major doughnut retailers — from Dunkin' Donuts to Tim Hortons and Krispy Kreme — fry their sweet treats in palm oil, or in blends of oil that include palm oil.

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4:31pm

Fri March 14, 2014
The Salt

Companies Tap Celebrity Power For Extreme Vegetable Makeover

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 11:31 pm

Marketing to kids may have gotten a bad rap in the past. Especially since children have been the target of so much junk food advertising.

But it's a new day.

Increasingly, companies are seeing profits pushing ultra-healthy stuff. And they're not using a finger-wagging, guilt-ridden, eat-your-veggies-because-they're-good-for-you messaging.

Birds Eye is taking a page from the playbook of other companies that have had success leveraging the power of teen pop stars: The frozen food giant is turning to Disney.

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8:41am

Wed March 5, 2014
The Salt

Eat Plants And Prosper: For Longevity, Go Easy On The Meat, Study Says

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 3:49 pm

A new study linking animal protein-rich diets to increased mortality in middle age adds fuel to the controversy over how much protein — and from what sources — is ideal for health. One thing that seems pretty clear: It doesn't hurt to go heavy on the greens.
iStockphoto

Americans who ate a diet rich in animal protein during middle age were significantly more likely to die from cancer and other causes, compared with people who reported going easy on foods such as red meat and cheese, fresh research suggests.

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4:07pm

Thu February 27, 2014
Health

With New Food Labels, Back Of The Box Gets A Makeover

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

We've been hearing about the Food and Drug Administration's proposed makeover of the Nutrition Facts Panel, the box on food packages that tells us how much fat, sodium and other things are a product. Today, the first lady introduced the redesigned label at a White House event.

NPR's Allison Aubrey reports.

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12:28pm

Wed February 26, 2014
The Salt

Nutrition Labels To Get Long-Overdue Tweaks

Nutrition labels will be getting a makeover this week to make it easier for consumers to understand the information.
Larry Crowne AP

If you're perplexed about how to make healthy choices when you're shopping for food, you're not alone. We've all puzzled over a food label that was confusing and hard to follow.

But some help may be on the way, as I reported on All Things Considered Tuesday.

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4:05pm

Tue February 25, 2014
Food

New Food Label Aims To Make Healthy Decisions Easier

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

The Food and Drug Administration and the White House are expected to unveil a new food label this week. Changed just once since their adoption, these labels need to be less confusing, advocates say.

6:32pm

Fri February 14, 2014
The Salt

For The Love Of Oysters: How A Kiss From The Sea Evokes Passion

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:58 pm

Lunch with oysters and wine by Frans van Mieris, 1635-1681.
Universal Images Group UIG via Getty Images

Question: Which of these foods are said to stir passion? An oyster, and avocado or a turnip? (Scroll down to the bottom for the answer.)

One of these, at least, is a gimme. The stories linking oysters and other shellfish to lust go back to at least the ancient Greeks.

Think of the image of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, rising out of the sea from the half-shell.

"There's something primal about eating oysters," says oyster-lover MJ Gimbar. He describes them as creamy and velvety. "It's like a kiss from the ocean."

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1:24pm

Wed January 22, 2014
The Salt

Long John Silver's Throws Trans Fats Overboard

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 4:22 pm

Long John Silver's has gained some notoriety in the past for serving up what the food police dubbed the most unhealthful meal in America. (aka heart attack on a hook.)

But the fast-food chain is out to change its reputation. One step in this new direction: a quick transition from partially hydrogenated oils that contain bedeviled trans fats. Today, the chain announced it is moving to a 100 percent soybean oil that is trans-fat free.

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11:27am

Wed January 22, 2014
The Salt

More Signs A Mediterranean Diet Helps Prevent Cardiovascular Ills

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 2:54 pm

A study found that a Mediterranean diet with extra nuts and olive oil was associated with a lower risk of a cardiovascular condition called peripheral artery disease.
Heather Rousseau NPR

There's fresh evidence that a Mediterranean diet can help cut the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

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4:16pm

Fri January 3, 2014
The Salt

Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions

After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.

Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.

In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.

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11:12am

Tue December 10, 2013
The Salt

Fresh Research Finds Organic Milk Packs In Omega-3s

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:35 pm

Cows graze in a pasture at the University of New Hampshire's organic dairy farm in Lee, N.H., Sept. 27, 2006.
JIM COLE AP

While milk consumption continues to fall in the U.S., sales of organic milk are on the rise. And now organic milk accounts for about 4 percent of total fluid milk consumption.

For years, organic producers have claimed their milk is nutritionally superior to regular milk. Specifically, they say that because their cows spend a lot more time out on pasture, munching on grasses and legumes rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the animals' milk is higher in these healthy fats, which are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

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2:05pm

Wed November 27, 2013
The Salt

Easy As Pie: Master The Art Of The Perfect Crust

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 4:45 am

To make a flaky pie crust, start by measuring out 12 ounces (by weight) flour, 8 ounces firm butter and 4 ounces ice water. Keeping it cool is key.
Phil Mansfield CIA

Those of us slaving over pecan and pumpkin pies ahead of Thanksgiving already know that pie-making season is decidedly in full swing. And on a segment for Morning Edition airing Thursday, host David Greene and I discuss the best advice for pie-making newbies. Really, it comes down to this:

Baking is not like cooking a stew or soup. Bakers can't take as many liberties — adding a pinch of this or that.

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6:03pm

Fri November 22, 2013
Shots - Health News

More Children Are Being Medicated For ADHD Than Before

iStockphoto

The number of children being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And families increasingly are opting for medications to treat kids. Two-thirds of children with a current diagnosis are being medicated — a jump of 28 percent from 2007 to 2011.

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6:11pm

Thu November 21, 2013
The Salt

Nuts For Longevity: Daily Handful Is Linked To Longer Life

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 3:02 pm

Regular nut consumers had about a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality, including lower death rates from heart disease and cancer, a study found.
iStockphoto

Americans have not always been in love with nuts.

Think about it: They're loaded with calories and fat. Plus, they can be expensive.

But Americans' views — and eating habits — when it comes to nuts are changing. Fast.

There's a growing body of scientific evidence that's putting a health halo over supermarkets' expanding nut aisles.

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6:41pm

Thu November 7, 2013
The Salt

How 17th Century Fraud Gave Rise To Bright Orange Cheese

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 9:46 am

Shelburne Farms' clothbound cheddar has a bright yellow color because it's made from the milk of cows that graze on grasses high in beta-carotene.
Courtesy of A. Blake Gardner

The news from Kraft last week that the company is ditching two artificial dyes in some versions of its macaroni and cheese products left me with a question.

Why did we start coloring cheeses orange to begin with? Turns out there's a curious history here.

In theory, cheese should be whitish — similar to the color of milk, right?

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4:52am

Wed October 2, 2013
Around the Nation

Day 2 Of Government Shutdown Affects Variety Of Workers

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:09 am

Some federal employees have to work despite the closure, while others have been told not to report to work. On Morning Edition, we hear some voices of folks who have already felt the impact of the shutdown. They say they feel "frustrated," and think the partial shutdown is "ridiculous."

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3:34am

Mon September 30, 2013
The Salt

To Get The Benefits Of Olive Oil, Fresh May Be Best

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 6:17 pm

Experts say lots of factors determine how quickly an oil deteriorates — from the variety of the olives, to how the oil is produced and stored.
Matthias Schrader AP

The Mediterranean diet is a pattern of eating that lately has become a darling of medical researchers. It includes vegetables and grains, not so much meat and, of course, generous portions of olive oil.

Mary Flynn, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University, says the evidence that olive oil is good for your heart has never been more clear. "Olive oil is a very healthy food," she says. "I consider it more medicine than food."

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5:44pm

Thu September 12, 2013
The Salt

No Bitter Pill: Doctors Prescribe Fruits And Veggies

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:21 pm

Johanna Terron, 14, has lost over 20 pounds over the past year. She receives a prescription for fruits and vegetables from her pediatrician at Lincoln Hospital.
Allison Aubrey NPR

It was the Greeks who first counseled to let food be thy medicine. And, it seems, some doctors are taking this age-old advice to heart.

In New York City physicians are writing prescriptions for fresh fruits and vegetables. That's right, 'scripts for produce.

If you listen to my story on All Things Considered, you'll hear that the program is the creation of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit that connects low-income people with local produce.

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3:00am

Tue July 23, 2013
The Salt

Why Skipping Breakfast Might Raise Risk Of Heart Disease

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 3:18 pm

Skipping breakfast is risky.
iphoto

Breakfast has long gotten a good rap for everything from aiding weight loss to improving focus in the classroom.

And ever since the Alameda County study in California back in the 1960s linked breakfast — along with a host of other habits — to a longer lifespan, there's been a societal push towards breaking the fast.

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4:00pm

Thu June 13, 2013
The Salt

Why Bill Gates Is Investing In Chicken-Less Eggs

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 1:34 pm

At left: Beyond Eggs' egg-substitute product, a powder made of pulverized plant-based compounds. Right: Mother Nature's version.
Cody Pickens Beyond Eggs

The egg of the future may not involve a chicken at all. In fact, in the high-tech food lab at Hampton Creek Foods in San Francisco, the chicken-less egg substitute has already been hatched.

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3:28am

Thu April 25, 2013
The Salt

Step Aside, Gents. Witness The Rise Of Women In Coffee

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 3:49 pm

Three women in coffee leading the way: Stephanie Backus of Portland Roasting, coffee farmer Miguelina Villatoro of Guatemala, and coffee exporter/processor Loyreth Sosa. Here they discuss coffee prices as they survey beans ready for milling.
David Gilkey NPR

The inspiration for NPR's Coffee Week arrived in an email last summer. I had just reported on the growing Third-Wave Movement in Coffee, and the burgeoning interest in coffee cuppings.

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4:38pm

Mon March 11, 2013
The Salt

Judge Overturns New York City Ban on Big Sugary Sodas

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 8:06 pm

A customer fills a 21-ounce cup with soda at a New York City McDonald's.
Mario Tama Getty Images

A New York state judge has knocked down New York City's landmark new ban on big, sugary drinks, just one day before it was set to take effect.

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5:20pm

Thu March 7, 2013
The Salt

If Caffeine Can Boost The Memory Of Bees, Can It Help Us, Too?

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 6:13 pm

Adam Cole/NPR iStockphoto.com

Who knew that the flower nectar of citrus plants — including some varieties of grapefruit, lemon and oranges — contains caffeine? As does the nectar of coffee plant flowers.

And when honeybees feed on caffeine-containing nectar, it turns out, the caffeine buzz seems to improve their memories — or their motivations for going back for more.

"It is surprising," says Geraldine Wright at Newcastle University in the the U.K., the lead researcher of a new honeybee study published in the journal Science.

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2:56am

Fri March 1, 2013
Shots - Health News

Sacrificing Sleep Makes For Run-Down Teens — And Parents

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 8:00 am

Napping in class may be common, but it's also a sign that kids need more sleep.
iStockphoto.com

When NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health asked parents and caregivers in our new poll whether getting a good night's sleep is important, families overwhelmingly told us that sleep is a high priority.

But almost all said that it's difficult to pull off. And studies suggest this is especially true for teenagers.

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4:55pm

Tue February 26, 2013
The Salt

Family Dinner: Treasured Tradition Or Bygone Ideal?

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 3:06 pm

From left: 8-year-old Celedonia, 3-year-old Gavin, Amy Spencer and Doug Brown gather around the kitchen as Doug prepares a fruit salad for dinner.
Maggie Starbard NPR

When we asked you (via our Facebook page) to tell us about the weekday challenges your families face, given the competing demands of work, commutes, schoolwork and activities, you didn't hold back. Especially on the subject of squeezing in a family dinner.

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5:21pm

Mon January 14, 2013
The Salt

Women With A Berry-Snacking Habit May Have Healthier Hearts

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 10:08 am

Regular consumption of blueberries, such as these found at Butler's Orchard in Maryland, may prevent heart attacks in middle-aged women.
Maggie Starbard NPR

When it comes to supernutritious foods, the blueberry has long had a health halo floating over it.

Going back to Colonial times when Native Americans and English settlers ground up blueberries and added them to porridge, in both dried and fresh forms, there have been hints of health-promoting effects.

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4:35am

Wed January 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Research: A Little Extra Fat May Help You Live Longer

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 9:09 am

An analysis of many studies finds a small spare tire may be associated with longer life. But skeptics say that conclusion is rubbish.
iStockphoto.com

Being a little overweight may tip the odds in favor of living a long life, according to a new analysis. Researchers say there may be some benefit to having a little extra body fat.

This isn't the first time researchers have raised questions about the link between body weight and how long someone will live. While there's no debate that being severely obese will raise the risk of all kinds of illnesses and even cut some lives short, it's less clear what happens to people who are less overweight.

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3:23am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Salt

A Pie-Making Encore: Start With The Perfect Recipe, Serve With Love

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:00 am

The foundation of a good pie starts with the crust.
iStockphoto.com

It's high season for pie-making. And when we came upon this touching story about a bunch of women gathering to bake fresh apple pies for the people of Newtown, Conn., it warmed our hearts here at The Salt. Truly.

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6:33pm

Thu December 6, 2012
The Salt

U.S. Olive Oil Makers Say Imports Aren't Always So 'Extra Virgin'

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:40 am

Freshly picked Arbosana olives from the Texas Olive Ranch in Carrizo Springs, Texas.
Karen Lee Henry

Italians may still be light-years ahead when it comes to gelato, but when it comes to extra-virgin olive oil? Watch out: U.S. producers are on it.

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