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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The Salt
1:50 am
Fri May 22, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 5:32 am

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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The Salt
4:08 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

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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The Salt
1:30 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Pollinator Politics: Environmentalists Criticize Obama Plan To Save Bees

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

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 10:09 am

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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The Salt
3:35 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

USDA To Certify Non-GMO Foods With New Label

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

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 4:40 pm

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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The Salt
4:58 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 4:31 pm

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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The Salt
3:04 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Brain Boost: Mediterranean Diet May Fend Off Memory Loss

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

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 4:44 pm

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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The Salt
11:58 am
Fri May 8, 2015

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

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 12:21 pm

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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Food
4:35 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Panera Is The Latest To Drop Artificial Ingredients From Its Food

A pedestrian walks by a Panera Bread restaurant on June 3 in San Francisco. Panera Bread is set to remove artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives from items on its menu by the end of 2016.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 12:53 pm

This news may feel like day-old bread, but here goes: Panera Bread is shaking up the fast-casual eatery world with its announcement to ditch more than 150 food additives by the end of 2016.

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The Salt
5:08 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

PepsiCo Swaps Diet Drink's Aspartame For Other Artificial Sweeteners

Beginning in August, a newly formulated aspartame-free Diet Pepsi will hit the shelves, the company says.
PepsiCo

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 10:16 pm

If you like the idea of zero or low-calorie sodas, but you're turned off by the artificial sweetener aspartame, you're not alone.

Sales of diet soda have fallen off significantly in the U.S. And when PepsiCo started asking consumers what they didn't like, aspartame was at the top of the list.

"It's literally the number-one complaint we've heard from diet-cola consumers as to why they're drinking less and less diet cola, " Seth Kaufman, a senior vice president for PepsiCo, tells The Salt.

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The Salt
4:47 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Buzz Over Bee Health: New Pesticide Studies Rev Up Controversy

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

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 9:58 am

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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The Salt
2:58 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

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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Shots - Health News
1:49 am
Thu April 16, 2015

Tylenol Might Dull Emotional Pain, Too

Paul Taylor Getty Images

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 10:17 pm

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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The Salt
2:00 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 3:02 pm

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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The Salt
2:44 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Arsenic In California Wines: Should Drinkers Be Concerned?

"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

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 10:58 am

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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Shots - Health News
1:33 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Rethinking Alcohol: Can Heavy Drinkers Learn To Cut Back?

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 6:34 am

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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The Salt
1:12 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Do TV Cooking Shows Make Us Fat?

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

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 11:37 am

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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Goats and Soda
6:03 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

If You're One Of The World's 382 Million Diabetics, Your Wages May Dip

The blue circle is the symbol of diabetes β€” carried here by students marching in a World Diabetes Day rally in Kolkata, India.
Bikas Das AP

Whenever I hear statistics that diabetes costs the U.S. $245 billion a year β€” and billions more globally β€” these numbers feel too big to get my head around.

So a new analysis β€” which attempts to break down the cost-per-person toll of diabetes in countries around the globe β€” caught my attention.

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The Salt
9:12 am
Wed March 11, 2015

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

Garry Gay Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 1:18 pm

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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The Salt
2:18 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Circadian Surprise: How Our Body Clocks Help Shape Our Waistlines

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 3:18 pm

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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The Salt
3:01 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

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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The Salt
4:14 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Dump The Lumps: The World Health Organization Says Eat Less Sugar

Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Sugar is sweet.

But too much of it can expand our waistlines, rot our teeth and increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Will The Dietary Guidelines Consider The Planet? The Fight Is On

A government-appointed panel concluded in a recent report that Americans should eat less red meat and processed meat. A more plant-focused diet is better for health and the environment, it found.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 5:40 pm

When it comes to eating well, we should consider the health of our bodies and the planet. This was the recommendation coming from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on Feb. 19.

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The Salt
4:07 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Nutrition Panel: Egg With Coffee Is A-OK, But Skip The Side Of Bacon

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee says in a new report that Americans should shift to a pattern of eating that includes more plant-based foods.
Jennifer/Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:13 pm

If you like a cup of coffee and an egg in the morning, you've got the green light.

A panel of top nutrition experts appointed by the federal government has weighed in with its long-awaited diet advice.

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The Salt
1:26 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Chocolate Makeover: Nestle Dumps Artificial Colorings

Nestle announced that it is removing artificial flavors and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products β€” including the dyes used to give the inside of a Butterfinger, like this one, that orange hue.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 1:14 pm

Some of America's most popular chocolate bars β€” including the Baby Ruth and the Butterfinger β€” are about to get an ingredient makeover. Nestle USA announced it is removing artificial flavors and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products by the end of 2015.

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Fitness & Nutrition
2:35 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

New Dietary Guidelines May Lighten Caution Against Cholesterol

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 4:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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The Salt
10:07 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Outrage Over Government's Animal Experiments Leads To USDA Review

Cattle raised at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb. A New York Times investigation of animal suffering at the federal research center has prompted a USDA review.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 12:43 pm

Revelations about animal suffering at a federal animal research facility have sure gotten the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

They've also prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the facility through its Agricultural Research Service, to name its first ever animal welfare ombudsman β€” as well as review and update its animal welfare strategy.

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The Salt
4:22 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

White Potato Redux: Experts Say Spuds Are Not Nutritional Duds

The reputation of the humble spud may be on the mend.
jamonation/Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 4:45 pm

White potatoes have gotten a bad rap.

All the starch contained in spuds can raise blood sugar. And potatoes β€” which are often consumed with loads of fat (think french fries and chips) β€” may not do our waistlines any favor.

But the reputation of the humble spud may be on the mend.

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The Salt
1:29 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Love Hot Sauce? Your Personality May Be A Good Predictor

Ready to feel the burn? Check out our tips for tiptoeing into hot sauce.
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 9:05 am

A Myers-Briggs personality test can help you determine whether you're an extrovert. But could your love of hot sauce reveal something about your temperament, too?

As we have reported, back in the 1980s, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania named Paul Rozin documented a connection between liking roller coasters and liking spicy food.

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The Salt
12:21 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

From Detox To Elimination Diets, Skipping Sugar May Be The Best Bet

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 5:32 pm

When it comes to detox diets, we totally get the appeal.

Who's not drawn to the idea of flushing all the toxins out of our bodies β€” a sort of spring cleaning of our insides?

And yes, several years back, I even remember trying β€” if only for a day β€” the trendy cayenne-pepper liquid cleanse (as seen in this Mindy Kaling clip from The Office) as part of a cleansing/detox diet.

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The Salt
4:20 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Minifasting: How Occasionally Skipping Meals May Boost Health

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 3:20 pm

If you've ever gone to sleep hungry and then dreamed of chocolate croissants, the idea of fasting may seem completely unappealing.

But what if the payoff for a 16-hour fast β€” which might involve skipping dinner, save a bowl of broth β€” is a boost in energy and a decreased appetite?

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