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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8:50am

Wed October 22, 2014
Shots - Health News

Banned Drugs Still Turning Up In Weight-Loss Supplements

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 9:04 am

Even versions of Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen labeled "genuine" and "anti-counterfeit" have been found to contain the drug sibutramine, which was supposed to come off the U.S. market in 2010 for safety reasons.
Food and Drug Administration

Americans spend about $4 billion a year on weight-loss supplements. And the Food and Drug Administration spends a lot of effort policing distributors who market fraudulent products that are tainted with unsafe, banned drugs.

But a study published Tuesday finds that buyers should beware: Just because the FDA recalls a product for containing dangerous substances doesn't mean the product disappears from the market.

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4:32pm

Thu October 16, 2014
The Salt

Reality Check: To Burn Off A Soda, You'll Have To Run 50 Minutes

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 9:32 am

Would you think twice about that 20-ounce soda if you were informed that it would take 5 miles of walking — or 50 minutes of running — to burn it off?
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

As a society, we don't pay much attention to nutrition information when we eat out.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report estimates just 8 percent of Americans use nutritional information when deciding what to order.

But that could change soon.

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3:19am

Wed October 8, 2014
The Salt

Restaurants Shave Calories Off New Menu Items

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 12:22 pm

A sign displaying calorie counts is seen in a Subway restaurant in New York City in 2008. A yet-to-be-finalized federal rule requiring big chain restaurants to post calorie counts has likely led eateries to tweak their menus.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Last month we reported that big food retailers have eliminated billions of calories from the packaged foods they sell in supermarkets.

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3:45am

Wed October 1, 2014
The Salt

From Kale To Pale Ale, A Love Of Bitter May Be In Your Genes

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 4:02 pm

The roots of your hankering for hoppy beers and cruciferous vegetables may be genetic.
iStockphoto

The word bitter can make some of us wince. In conversation, we talk of "a bitter pill to swallow" or "bittersweet" memories.

But if you're puzzled by the bad emotional rap on bitter — perhaps you even like the taste of bitter greens or bitter beer — it may say something about your genes.

Scientists have been studying a particular taste receptor gene to understand why some of us may be more predisposed to liking bitter foods and hoppy beers. And a new study sheds new light on the bitter gene connection.

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7:03am

Sat September 27, 2014
The Salt

Culinary Diplomacy Takes Texan Chef To The Land Of Grilled Yak

As you may have heard, America's diplomats are struggling these days with a few distracting and unpleasant events in far-off parts of the world. But they're rising to the challenge: They're sending in the chefs.

The U.S. State Department launched a Diplomatic Culinary Partnership two years ago in order to "elevate the role of culinary engagement in America's formal and public diplomacy efforts." Some of the country's most renowned chefs have volunteered to help out, joining the department's "Chef Corps."

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11:14am

Fri September 12, 2014
The Salt

From Cotton Candy To Cat Pee: Decoding Tasting Notes In Honey

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 2:21 pm

Honey can be as golden as the sun or as dark as molasses. Researchers have identified over 100 different flavors in it, too, some more savory or stinky than others.
Ellen Webber/NPR

If bees in France buzz around the lavender fields, foraging for nectar, what does the honey they produce smell or taste like?

Yes, a bit like lavender.

But not all the floral, spicy or woody aromas detectable in the roughly 300 varieties of honeys being produced today are so easy to name.

That's where the new Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel, developed by a sensory panel at the Honey and Pollination Center at the University of California, Davis, comes in.

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3:48pm

Wed September 10, 2014
Shots - Health News

Women Who Eat Fish Twice Weekly Cut Their Risk Of Hearing Loss

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 3:59 pm

Researchers speculate that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish may help maintain good blood flow to the inner ear.
iStockphoto

Are you finding it tougher to follow conversations in a noisy restaurant? Or does it seem like people are mumbling when you speak with them?

These are two questions commonly used to screen for hearing loss, which affects more than one-third of people over age 65, according to the National Institutes of Health.

So, what to do to cut the risk?

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7:50am

Sat September 6, 2014
The Salt

Better With Butter? Here's Why Americans Are Consuming More

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 2:24 pm

iStockphoto

A growing number of Americans seem to believe that everything is better with butter.

"I love butter," says Ashleigh Armstrong, 29, as she sips coffee at a cafe in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station. Among her favorites: "Anything from Julia Child's cookbooks."

There's no margarine in Ashleigh's refrigerator. "I'm not going to have the fake stuff," she says, adding that she'd rather indulge a little in rich foods and burn it off at a spinning class.

And no, she's not worried about cholesterol. That's her grandmother's generation's concern, she says.

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3:29am

Mon August 25, 2014
The Salt

Grocers Lead Kids To Produce Aisle With Junk Food-Style Marketing

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 4:09 pm

A kids healthy snacks display at Giant Eagle.
Courtesy of Giant Eagle

Despite all the cheerleading for healthy eating, Americans still eat only about 1 serving of fruit per day, on average. And our veggie consumption, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls short, too.

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7:02pm

Wed August 13, 2014
Goats and Soda

Death By Salt? New Study Finds Too Much Sodium Is A Global Killer

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 2:15 pm

Around the world, people consume too much salt. A new study estimates 1.65 million deaths a year are attributable to sodium intake.
Jung K Oh iStockphoto

Americans are accustomed to being nagged about salt. We're told we consume too much — particularly from processed foods. And that all this salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

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1:21pm

Fri July 11, 2014
The Salt

If Exercise Feels Like Work, Mindless Snacking May Follow

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 2:41 pm

In a recent study, participants who focused on the exercise of walking ate more M&M's 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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