Allison Aubrey

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News. She contributes to The Salt, NPR's James Beard award-winning food blog. And her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's host of the NPR video series Tiny Desk Kitchen and has contributed to Shots, NPR's health blog.

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
5:57 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 7:40 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
4:04 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 10:43 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
4:38 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

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

Diet soda
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:06 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
3:26 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 4:50 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
4:45 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
7:38 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 3:08 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
2:22 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 3:13 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
2:29 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 8:01 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
4:41 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 10:03 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
7:52 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 9:19 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
5:08 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 6:12 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
1:37 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 9:01 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
2:07 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 6:47 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
3:00 am
Mon April 2, 2012

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

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon April 2, 2012 10:23 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
4:36 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 1:05 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
7:12 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
2:37 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 2:16 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
4:15 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 10:14 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
11:01 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 12:34 pm

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
3:35 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
1:56 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 2:18 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
4:01 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
7:00 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 10:01 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
8:04 am
Tue February 7, 2012

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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The Salt
4:09 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Billboards Slather On The Guilt With Anti-Cheese Campaign

Americans eat about 31 pounds of cheese per person each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
iStockphoto.com

Yes, we're a nation of cheese-eaters. We load it onto pizza, layer it in burritos, sprinkle it on salads, and slap it on sandwiches.

In fact, we eat about 31 pounds of it per person each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's estimates. That's nearly triple the amount Americans were eating in 1970.

But is cheese the true culprit behind flabby thighs and paunchy bellies?

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The Salt
11:04 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 4:46 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
4:49 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Science Desk Experiments With Twinkies

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 4:49 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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The Salt
11:01 pm
Sun January 8, 2012

For Kids With ADHD, Some Foods May Complement Treatment

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

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 2:55 pm

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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The Salt
10:19 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Why Are We More Hungry In The Winter?

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

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 10:24 am

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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The Salt
4:20 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

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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