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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4:00am

Mon April 2, 2012
The Salt

What's Inside The 26-Ingredient School Lunch Burger?

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 11:23 pm

Maggie Starbard NPR

Thiamine mononitrate, disodium inosinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride.

Why are these hard-to-pronounce ingredients added to everything from a burger served in schools to veggie burgers in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store? We try to answer that on this edition of Tiny Desk Kitchen.

It turns out the answers are as varied as the ingredients. But as we yearn to know what's in our food and how it's made, these kinds of ingredients with unfamiliar names make people suspicious.

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5:36pm

Mon March 26, 2012
The Salt

Does A Chocolate Habit Help Keep You Lean?

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 2:05 pm

Researchers say some compounds in cocoa may help us fend off fat.
Philippe Huguen AFP/Getty Images

A new study finds that people who eat chocolate several times a week are actually leaner than people who don't eat chocolate regularly.

Really, we asked? Last time we checked chocolate was loaded with fat and sugar. But this new research, along with some prior studies, suggests chocolate may favorably influence metabolism.

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8:12am

Fri March 16, 2012
The Salt

Chances Are Pink Slime Is In Grocery Store Beef Too

If you're trying to determine whether the ground chuck you buy in the grocery store contains so-called pink slime, or lean beef trimmings, you won't find it on the ingredient list. "It's not required to be labeled," explains Don Schaffner, a food scientist at Rutgers University.

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3:37pm

Thu March 15, 2012
The Salt

USDA To Give Schools More Ground Beef Choices After Outcry Over 'Pink Slime'

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 3:16 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will give schools alternatives to ground beef made with what critics have called "pink slime."
mcnsonbrg@yahoo.com iStockphoto.com

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has weighed in on the use of so-called pink slime in beef served in the government's free and reduced-price school lunch program.

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5:15pm

Mon March 12, 2012
The Salt

Death By Bacon? Study Finds Eating Meat Is Risky

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:14 pm

This would be considered a "once in a while" food.
iStockphoto.com

Bacon has been called the gateway meat, luring vegetarians back to meat. And hot dogs are a staple at many a backyard BBQ.

But a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that daily consumption of red meat — particularly processed meat — may be riskier than carnivores realize.

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12:01am

Mon March 12, 2012
The Salt

To Cut The Risk Of A High-Fat Meal, Add Spice

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 1:34 pm

Research from Penn State finds heavily spiced meals — think chicken curry with lots of turmeric, or desserts rich in cinnamon and cloves — may do the heart good.
iStockphoto.com

No need to be stingy with spices. Research from Penn State finds heavily spiced meals — think chicken curry with lots of turmeric, or desserts rich in cinnamon and cloves — may do the heart good.

"Elevated triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease," explains researcher Sheila West.

Her study found that a spicy meal helps cut levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in the blood — even when the meal is rich in oily sauces and high in fat.

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4:35pm

Wed March 7, 2012
The Salt

Inhalable Caffeine Maker Gets Warning Letter From FDA

A woman holds an AeroShot inhalable caffeine device in Boston.
Charles Krupa AP

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to the maker of a caffeine inhaler that's marketed around college campuses. The agency says it's concerned about misleading claims about the product and its safety.

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2:56am

Tue March 6, 2012
The Salt

Most Of Us Just Can't Taste The Nuances In High-Priced Wines

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 3:18 pm

Research suggests that most of us don't or can't taste the subtleties of fine wines.
iStockphoto.com

Have you ever splurged on a highly rated bottle of Burgundy or pinot noir, only to wonder whether a $10 or $15 bottle of red would have been just as good? The answer may depend on your biology.

A new study by researchers at Penn State and Brock University in Canada finds that when it comes to appreciating the subtleties of wine, experts can taste things many of us can't. "What we found is that the fundamental taste ability of an expert is different," says John Hayes of Penn State.

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5:01pm

Wed February 29, 2012
The Salt

Hey Locavores, Are You Creating Jobs?

The Know Your Farmer interactive map shows USDA-supported projects and programs related to local and regional food systems for the years 2009-2011.
USDA

When we think of the farmers we know, we can count a lot of locally-produced food we've reported on, from unusual greens to pawpaws.

And when the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture promotes their Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, what do they count? Jobs.

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8:00am

Mon February 20, 2012
The Salt

George Washington's Ice Cream Recipe: First, Cut Ice From River

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:01 am

Actress portraying Martha Washington
John Rose

This year would not be a good year for ice cream. In fact, there would be none at all if we relied on the technique George Washington used at Mount Vernon, his Virginia estate that's perched on the banks of the Potomac River.

His source of ice was the frozen river. Given the warm winter we've had here in D.C. , there's no chance. Seems the weather is nothing like it was on Jan. 26, 1786, when Washington wrote in his journal:

"Renewed my Ice operation to day, employing as many hands as I conveniently could in getting it from the Maryland shore, carting and pounding it."

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9:04am

Tue February 7, 2012
The Salt

Could Taxes Or Food Stamp Restrictions Tame America's Sweet Tooth?

Sugar may be our favorite pick-me-up. I know I sometimes get the 4 p.m. urge for peanut M&Ms. But how much is too much?

The American Heart Association says women should not have more than 6 teaspoons, or 30 grams, a day, which is about 100 calories of added sugar (excluding fruit). And men should try not to exceed 9 teaspoons, or 45 grams.

But a lot of us are eating way more.

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4:00am

Tue February 7, 2012
Health

States Propose Taxing Sugar To Aid In Nutrition Warning

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 9:16 am

New research indicates excessive consumption of sugar leads to an increase in all kinds of chronic diseases. But how much sugar is too much? Would making sugary foods more expensive help to get consumers to cut back?

12:04pm

Wed January 25, 2012
The Salt

USDA To Require Healthier Meals In Schools With Updated Nutrition Standards

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 5:46 pm

The new nutrition standards will replace school lunch dishes like pizza sticks with salad.
iStockphoto.com

Less salt and fat. More whole grains, fruit, veggies and low-fat dairy. This is what kids can expect in the school lunchroom soon, according to new nutrition standards for school meals announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and first lady Michelle Obama.

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4:00am

Thu January 12, 2012
Business

FDA: Fungicide In Orange Juice Is Not A Health Threat

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene, in for Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

This next report underlines the complexity of keeping the food supply safe. The story affects orange juice, like the juice that may be on your table this morning.

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5:49pm

Wed January 11, 2012
NPR Story

Science Desk Experiments With Twinkies

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 5:49 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You can buy Twinkies on the cheap right now. Safeway, just around the corner from our office here in Washington, has them on sale - two boxes for five bucks. So the NPR Science Desk was inspired to take part in the fine, long-standing tradition of experimenting with Twinkies.

NPR's Allison Aubrey reports on their findings.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: My colleagues, Julie Rovner, our health policy correspondent, and Adam Cole, a new addition to our team, had one idea.

So, what is your experiment, guys?

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12:01am

Mon January 9, 2012
The Salt

For Kids With ADHD, Some Foods May Complement Treatment

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 3:55 pm

Eliminating junk food from a child's diet is usually not enough to effectively treat attention deficit disorders, a paper shows.
Tarah Dawdy via Flickr

You may remember the controversial studies linking food coloring and additives to hyperactivity in kids. Or you may know parents who have pinned their hopes on an elimination diet to improve their kids' rowdy behavior.

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11:19am

Mon December 19, 2011
The Salt

Why Are We More Hungry In The Winter?

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 11:24 am

Our drive to eat more in the winter may be a product of less sunlight — or more temptation around us.
iStockphoto.com

If you feel hungrier as winter draws near, you're not alone. Even though most of us spend our days in climate-controlled offices and homes, our appetites seem to change when the days grow shorter. Some researchers say it's our primitive impulses promting us to stockpile calories for the winter ahead.

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5:20pm

Fri December 16, 2011
The Salt

With Alternative Giving, A Nudge Out Of Poverty For The Poor

A man with a cow in Dong Thap Province in southern Vietnam. The man received his cow from Heifer - as well as training and resources to care for it.
Courtesy of Juleen Lapporte

Jim Eckhardt says there was a time he'd fill his holiday shopping cart with toys for his 6 grandchildren. But 7 years ago, he had an epiphany: The kids had too much stuff.

"You look at all the things we throw away and that money could be put to better use," Eckhardt says.

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4:00am

Fri December 2, 2011
Health

Businesses Pledge 'Healthier Choices' For Customers

Corporate America is jumping on the opportunities to make people healthier, while keep their bottoms line strong. Leaders of Supermarkets, hotel chains and restaurant groups gathered in Washington this week for a summit aimed at shaping private sector solutions to the obesity epidemic.

6:00am

Sat November 26, 2011
The Salt

With Paula Deen, It's Not Really About The Pie

Originally published on Mon November 28, 2011 10:18 am

For fans of TV chef Paula Deen (seen here in a photo from 2006), her appeal lies not in the recipes, but in that feeling that she's talking just to you.
Courtesy of Food Network AP

When I heard Paula Deen was coming to town, the image that leaped to mind was a fried cheesecake, deep-fried. She actually makes this!

At a time when it's trendy to take things out of food (think: gluten-free, sodium-free, fat-free), Paula Deen unapologetically puts it all back in. She loves all that stuff we're told to eat less of: butter, mayonnaise, sour cream. Did I say butter?

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2:08pm

Wed November 23, 2011
The Salt

Heritage Turkeys: To Save Them, We Must Eat Them

Originally published on Wed November 23, 2011 10:49 pm

Narragansett and Standard Bronze heritage breed turkeys browse at a farm in Westport, Mass.
Stephan Savoia AP

A decade ago there were fewer than 100 Narragansett turkeys being raised on a few hobby farms. The gamy-tasting meat has a flavor that most Americans have never tasted. "They're delicious," says Slow Food USA's Josh Viertel.

"And they're at risk of being gone forever."

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6:49pm

Tue November 15, 2011
The Salt

Pizza As A Vegetable? It Depends On the Sauce

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 1:06 pm

Pizza for sale at a Chicago public school. Under a House spending bill, this would still count as a vegetable serving — without extra sauce.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

When it comes to the politics of school lunch programs, the easy part is agreeing that kids should be eating more fruits and vegetables.

The hard part? Determining what counts as a vegetable. Take, for instance, the tomato sauce on pizza. As part of new nutrition standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, schools would need to use about one-half cup of tomato paste on pizza in order for the sauce to count as a vegetable serving.

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6:04pm

Tue November 15, 2011
NPR Story

Lawmakers Consider Counting Pizza As a Veggie

Lawmakers say pizza and french fries deserve to keep their place in school cafeterias. New nutrition standards aimed at putting more fresh and healthy food in front of kids are being revised in a current House agriculture appropriations bill. The latest version says the tomato sauce on a slice of pizza is the equivalent of a vegetable. Critics are likening it to the "ketchup-as-a-vegetable-controversy" during the Reagan administration.

12:01am

Mon November 7, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Second Thoughts On Pills For Babies Who Spit Up

Babies have been crying and spitting up since time immemorial. But these days many parents ask: Isn't there a drug for that?

"Parents come in often demanding medication," says Eric Hassall, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in San Francisco.

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5:03pm

Thu October 27, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Hormones And Metabolism Conspire Against Dieters

Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 8:24 pm

iStockphoto.com

There are some fresh insights from Australia that help explain why it's so difficult for dieters to keep off the weight they lose.

Willpower will only take you so far, in case you haven't run that experiment yourself. Turns out our bodies have a fuel gauge, not entirely unlike the gas gauge on our cars, that tell us when it's time to tank up on food.

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11:09am

Wed October 26, 2011
The Salt

Men Can Be Binge-Eaters, Too

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 12:20 pm

Male binge eaters were more likely to be depressed and obese than men who didn't binge, a study found.

Getty Images

When we think of eating disorders, the classic image is a waif-thin, anorexic woman.

But here's a question for men: Do you find yourself fasting after eating too much? Or maybe pushing through an insanely long run or workout, trying to compensate for overeating through intense exercise?

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7:59am

Sat October 22, 2011
The Salt

Drinking Whiskey In The Spirit Of George Washington

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 6:31 am

In a cavernous barn, distillers make whiskey with rye, corn and malted barley.

Melissa Forsyth NPR

Virginians have always enjoyed their liquor, and for much of the 18th century, their preferred drink was rum. But when war and tariffs made imported rum hard to come by, George Washington saw an opportunity. Why not make liquor out of grains he was growing on his farms?

"He was a businessman and he was a very, very successful one," says Dennis Pogue, the director of preservation programs at Mount Vernon.

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2:29pm

Wed October 19, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

IQ Isn't Set In Stone, Suggests Study That Finds Big Jumps, Dips In Teens

Originally published on Thu October 20, 2011 11:50 am

Brain researchers say the big fluctuations in IQ performance they found in teens were not random — or a fluke.

iStockphoto.com

For as long as there's been an IQ test, there's been controversy over what it measures. Do IQ scores capture a person's intellectual capacity, which supposedly remains stable over time? Or is the Intelligent Quotient exam really an achievement test — similar to the S.A.T. — that's subject to fluctuations in scores?

The findings of a new study add evidence to the latter theory: IQ seems to be a gauge of acquired knowledge that progresses in fits and starts.

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5:05pm

Thu September 22, 2011
The Salt

Farmers And Ranchers Reach Out To Talk To Consumers

It seems that all the big farm groups - from beef and pork producers to sugar and soybean growers — have been paying attention to those "Know Your Farmer" bumper stickers.

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3:30pm

Wed September 21, 2011
The Salt

'Biggest Loser' Nudges Many Viewers To Think Thin

Originally published on Wed September 21, 2011 3:33 pm

Contestants from NBC's "The Biggest Loser" do yoga in Auckland, New Zealand.
TRAE PATTON PR NEWSWIRE

Contestants on the Season 12 Premiere of TV's The Biggest Loser last night may not be the only people motivated to lose weight. Viewers are influenced by weight-loss reality shows, too.

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