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
3:04 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Women With A Berry-Snacking Habit May Have Healthier Hearts

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

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 8:08 am

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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Shots - Health News
2:35 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Research: A Little Extra Fat May Help You Live Longer

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

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:09 am

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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The Salt
1:23 am
Fri December 21, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:00 am

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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The Salt
4:57 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 6:40 am

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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The Salt
3:04 am
Fri November 2, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 9:43 am

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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The Salt
3:49 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Aspartame And Cancer Risk: New Study Is Too Weak To Defend, Hospital Says

Diet soda
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:06 pm

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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The Salt
8:30 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Too Busy To Peel Garlic? Try The 20-Second Microwave Tip

Garlic's papery skin slips off quick after a little turn in the microwave. Yes, the microwave is back.
khrawlings Flickr.com

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 9:03 am

If I were rich, I might hire a sous chef. But for now, I'm learning to cheat time. And here's a new way I've stumbled upon to save a minute or two every time I use garlic.

Toss it in the microwave. I put the whole bulb in — 15 to 20 seconds will do the trick. It makes peeling much easier. The cloves practically slide -– or pop — out of their skins, though I won't make any promises about stickiness.

But, since I'm on the science desk, I have to ask, how does it work?

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The Salt
2:26 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Health Benefits Of Tea: Milking It Or Not

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

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 3:50 pm

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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Food
3:45 am
Thu September 13, 2012

McDonald's To Post Calories On Menu Boards

Beginning next week, McDonald's plans to add calorie counts to its menu boards — both at drive-thrus and restaurant counters. Studies suggest that calorie boards alone don't change consumers' purchasing patterns. But consumers do seem to take note, and public health experts say it's one tangible step to helping consumers make healthier choices.

The Salt
6:29 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Heavy Teens Eat Less But Weigh More Than Their Thinner Peers

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

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:08 pm

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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The Salt
1:22 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Why Organic Food May Not Be Healthier For You

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

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:13 pm

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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Shots - Health Blog
1:29 am
Tue August 21, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:01 am

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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The Salt
3:45 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:03 am

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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Shots - Health Blog
6:52 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

Thriving Gut Bacteria Linked To Good Health

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

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 8:19 am

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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The Salt
2:11 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Afraid Of Pie Crust? You Shouldn't Be. It's As Easy As 3-2-1

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

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 6:54 am

Yes, it's been meat all week. So are you ready for dessert? As a preview of Pie Week on Morning Edition and The Salt next week, we bring you this sneak peek of what we learned at the Culinary Institute of America.

Now, lots of people are afraid of making pie crust, but we've got a foolproof formula for you.

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The Salt
4:08 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Antibiotic-Free Meat Business Is Booming, Thanks To Chipotle

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

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 5:12 pm

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

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Shots - Health Blog
12:37 am
Mon May 7, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 8:01 am

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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The Salt
1:07 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Advice For Diet Soda Lovers: Skip The Chips

It's not clear if diet soft drinks are the healthiest choice.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 5:47 am

Got a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi habit? Lots of Americans do. Consumption of all types of diet soft drinks has been on the rise. And as a nation, we drink an estimated 20 percent more of diet drinks now than we did 15 years ago.

So, is it good for us? A new study finds the answer to that question may depend a lot on, well, what you eat.

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The Salt
2:00 am
Mon April 2, 2012

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

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 9:23 pm

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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The Salt
3:36 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Does A Chocolate Habit Help Keep You Lean?

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

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 12:05 pm

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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The Salt
6:12 am
Fri March 16, 2012

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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The Salt
1:37 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 1:16 pm

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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The Salt
3:15 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Death By Bacon? Study Finds Eating Meat Is Risky

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

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 9:14 pm

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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The Salt
10:01 pm
Sun March 11, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:34 am

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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The Salt
2:35 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

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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The Salt
12:56 am
Tue March 6, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 1:18 pm

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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The Salt
3:01 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

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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The Salt
6:00 am
Mon February 20, 2012

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

Actress portraying Martha Washington
John Rose

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:01 am

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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The Salt
10:04 am
Wed January 25, 2012

USDA To Require Healthier Meals In Schools With Updated Nutrition Standards

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

Originally published on Mon January 30, 2012 3:46 pm

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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NPR Story
3:49 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Science Desk Experiments With Twinkies

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:49 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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