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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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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5:04am

Fri November 2, 2012
The Salt

After Sandy, It's Pizza And Homemade Meatballs For The Lucky In New Jersey

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:43 am

While this pizzeria in Belmar, N.J., remained closed after Hurricane Sandy, Geno D's in Toms River turned out 500 pies to grateful customers on Wednesday.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

The produce aisle may not yet be restocked at the Stop & Shop in Toms River, N.J., and other perishables may still be hard to come by. But rest assured, the local pizza joint is hopping.

"We've been busy, very busy," says Marissa Henderson, granddaughter of the proprietor of Geno D's pizzeria in Toms River. It was one of the few restaurants open in the area in the wake of the hurricane that rolled through earlier this week.

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5:57pm

Wed October 24, 2012
The Salt

Data Linking Aspartame To Cancer Risk Is Too Weak To Defend, Hospital Says

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 6:06 pm

Diet soda
Maggie Starbard NPR

We almost brought you news today about a study that appeared to raise some troubling questions about aspartame, the popular sugar substitute found in many common foods like diet soda. Note the key word — almost.

A study due to be published at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and released to reporters earlier in the week under embargo found some correlation between drinking diet soda and an increased risk of leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as a few other rare blood-related cancers.

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4:26pm

Thu September 27, 2012
The Salt

Health Benefits Of Tea: Milking It Or Not

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 5:50 pm

The Emperor's Himalayan lavender tea is popular at Washington, D.C.'s Park Hyatt Tea Room, but please don't put milk in it.
Courtesy of Park Hyatt

The idea that milk may diminish the potential heart-health benefits of tea has been a topic of some debate. Lots of us can't imagine black tea without a little dairy to cut the bitterness. But, according to this research going back to 2007, we might want to at least consider trying, say, a nice cup of green tea sans sugar or cream.

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8:37am

Tue September 11, 2012
The Salt

Heavy Teens Eat Less But Weigh More Than Their Thinner Peers

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:08 pm

Overweight teens tend to eat fewer calories than their healthy-weight peers. So why do they weigh more? A drop-off in exercise in the tween years may be one reason.
Robert Brown iStockphoto.com

It may be more important than we thought to tackle obesity in childhood. A new study published in Pediatrics finds that overweight teenagers eat fewer calories than their healthy weight peers.

That's right — they eat less.

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3:22am

Tue September 4, 2012
The Salt

Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:13 pm

A shopper surveys the produce at Pacifica Farmers Market in Pacifica, Calif., in 2011.
AP

Yes, organics is a $29 billion industry and still growing. Something is pulling us toward those organic veggies that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

But if you're thinking that organic produce will help you stay healthier, a new finding may come as a surprise. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.

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3:29am

Tue August 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

High School Daze: The Perils of Sacrificing Sleep for Late-Night Studying

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 9:01 am

It may not be the best strategy to stay up late and cram. A new study finds that when teens don't get the sleep they need, all kinds of things can go poorly.
iStockphoto.com

High school students with heavy academic course loads often find the demands of homework colliding with the need for adequate sleep.

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5:21pm

Thu August 16, 2012
The Salt

Coffee Is The New Wine. Here's How You Taste It

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:03 am

Samantha Kerr prepares coffee at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore, MD.
Maggie Starbard NPR

The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.

Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.

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8:52pm

Sun July 15, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Thriving Gut Bacteria Linked To Good Health

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:19 am

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is important for gut health, especially in aging adults.
iStockphoto.com

There's no magic elixir for healthy aging, but here's one more thing to add to the list: good gut health.

A study published in the latest issue of Nature finds diet may be key to promoting diverse communities of beneficial bacteria in the guts of older people.

To evaluate this, researchers analyzed the microbiota, or gut bacteria, of 178 older folks, mostly in their 70s and 80s.

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5:48pm

Thu May 31, 2012
The Salt

Antibiotic-Free Meat Business Is Booming, Thanks To Chipotle

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 7:12 pm

The antibiotic-free pigs roam freely on Niman Ranch in Iowa.
Sarah Willis courtesy Niman Ranch

It's no longer just foodies at farm markets or Whole Foods buying antibiotic-free, pasture-raised meats.

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2:37am

Mon May 7, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Is It Possible To Walk And Work At The Same Time?

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 10:01 am

Studies say just 30 minutes of walking a day can reduce several lifestyle diseases many Americans are living with.
iStockphoto.com

When it comes to walking, the easy part is understanding the benefits: Regular, brisk walks can strengthen our bones, help control blood sugar, help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and the list goes on. The hard part is finding the time to fit it in.

Engineering physical activity back into Americans' daily lives is the goal of an educational campaign launched by Kaiser Permanente,an Oakland, Calif.-based health plan.

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